SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp has lodged a complaint with China to stop four state-owned companies from allegedly using pirated and unlicensed versions of its software, Bloomberg News reported on Friday.

Microsoft alleged that China Railway Construction Corp, TravelSky Technology, China Post Group and China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) were using pirated or unlicensed software and filed a complaint last month to a government panel overseen by China's Vice Premier Wang Qishan, Bloomberg reported, quoting three unnamed sources.

Microsoft declined to comment on the article but said the company was having "ongoing discussions" with China about protecting intellectual property.

Wang, in a meeting with Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer in May, promised to crack down on software piracy, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. Wang also told Ballmer that central government organs in China were using authorized software since China's push last year to use and purchase only legitimate software.

According to the Bloomberg report, Microsoft alleged last month that 84 percent of its Office software used at China Railway Construction was unlicensed as was 97 percent of its Windows server client software.

Microsoft also said that more than 40 percent of Office and Windows server client software used by CNPC was unlicensed while almost all of Travelsky's Office software was unlicensed and 93 percent of China Post's come from pirated versions. Bloomberg said Microsoft's allegations were based on its own estimates.

A TravelSky investor relations executive declined to comment when contacted by Reuters as did an official at CNPC who only identified himself as Liu. Officials at China Post and China Railway Construction could not immediately be reached.

Bloomberg reported that a China Post executive told the news service that Microsoft's allegations were "inaccurate" while a China Railway Construction public relations executive said estimated use of unlicensed software was greatly exaggerated.

Rampant software piracy in China has made the market difficult for Microsoft to crack, but over the past few years the company has stepped up assertion of its intellectual property rights.

Earlier this year Microsoft sued Gome Electrical Appliances Holding, one of China's largest homegrown electronics distributors, and a Beijing electronics mall, for allegedly infringing on the copyright of its software.

(Reporting by Melanie Lee and the Shanghai Newsroom; Editing by Ken Wills)

Earlier on HuffPost:

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  • Korea

    South Korea has long boasted some of the world's fastest and most accessible Internet. <a href="http://news.cnet.com/2300-17938_105-10012951-5.html" target="_hplink">More than 94 percent of South Koreans</a> have high-speed connections. In addition, the South Korean government has pledged to give its citizens access to 1 Gigabit per second Internet by the end of this year -- or <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/22/technology/22iht-broadband22.html" target="_hplink">more than 200 times faster than the average household in the United States</a>. "South Korean homes now have greater Internet access than we do," he said during his <a href="http://www.whitehouse.gov/state-of-the-union-2011" target="_hplink">2011 State of the Union address</a>.

  • Finland

    In 2010, Finland became the first country in the world to make broadband access a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/10/14/finland-broadband-access_n_320481.html" target="_hplink">legal right for all citizens</a>. That right: every one of the country's 5.3 million people will have guaranteed access to a high-speed Internet connection. Meanwhile, in the United States, about 19 million people have no access to high-speed Internet where they live. Finland isn't stopping there. It plans to make lightning-fast 100-megabit broadband service a legal right by the end of 2015.

  • Sweden

    Swedish broadband is twice as fast and costs one-third the price of broadband in the U.S., <a href="http://newamerica.net/publications/policy/price_of_the_pipe" target="_hplink">according to a study by the New America Foundation</a>. In 2007, a 75-year-old woman from central Sweden <a href="http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=4&ved=0CDwQFjAD&url=http%3A%2F%2Fslashdot.org%2Fstory%2F07%2F07%2F12%2F1236231%2Fworlds-fastest-broadband-connection-40-gbps&ei=l3RGUOzxDMjn0QGY3YDwCw&usg=AFQjCNEwTvCABgII17xzH-oyvMmMRVf0VQ" target="_hplink">made headlines</a> when she was given the world's fastest internet connection. She could download a full high-definition DVD in just two seconds.

  • Japan

    Japanese has some of the cheapest connections in the world,<a href="http://www.oecd.org/internet/broadbandandtelecom/oecdbroadbandportal.htm" target="_hplink"> according to the OECD</a>. Japan's government has offered companies generous tax incentives to invest in fiber-optic cables. "The Japanese think long-term," a technology consultant told <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/03/business/worldbusiness/03broadband.html?pagewanted=print" target="_hplink">The New York Times in 2007</a>. "If they think they will benefit in 100 years, they will invest for their grandkids. There's a bit of national pride we don't see in the West."

  • France

    "Consumer broadband prices in France are now among the most affordable in the world," <a href="http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/sites/cyber.law.harvard.edu/files/Berkman_Center_Broadband_Final_Report-Country_Overviews_15Feb2010.pdf" target="_hplink">according to a study</a> by Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet & Society. The study attributed the low prices to regulations that allow rival Internet providers to share access to broadband infrastructure. France is also one of several countries that have declared Internet access "<a href="http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,525993,00.html" target="_hplink">a basic human right</a>."