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Piracy rates are the highest in developing nations

Piracy in the digital goods market runs rampant. Music piracy is what typically comes to mind when many consumers think piracy, but software is one of the categories that is targeted by pirates the most. The reason is that software like Windows operating systems and Office productivity suites are desired by many, but the high price puts them out of the reach of users particularly in developing nations.

A new joint report from the Business Software Alliance (BSA) and research firm IDC has found that losses to software companies from pirated products have topped the $50 billion mark for the first time ever.

According to the report, headway against piracy is being made by companies, law enforcement officials and governments, but in some areas -- like the U.S. -- anti-piracy efforts have stalled. The sixth annual BSA-IDC Global Software Piracy Study found that in 2008 the PC software piracy rate dropped in 57% of 110 countries included in the study. Nearly a third of the countries studied found that the software piracy rate remained the same.

The study claims that the worldwide piracy rate rose for the second year in a row moving from 36% to 41%. The rise in global piracy is mainly attributed to PC shipments growing the fastest in countries like China and India where piracy is much more rampant. China has recently cracked down on software pirates and convicted 11 for pirating Microsoft software.

BSA President and CEO Robert Holleyman said, "The bad news is that PC software piracy remains so prevalent in the United States and all over the world. It undermines local IT service firms, gives illegal software users an unfair advantage in business, and spreads security risks. We should not and cannot tolerate a $9 billion hit on the software industry at a time of economic stress."

EWeek reports that the study does note that the global recession has affected the piracy rate to some extent. IDC chief research officer John Gantz said that consumers are keeping old computers longer in the current economy and consumers that hold onto old computers are more likely to install pirated software on the machines.

Gantz said, "Reduced buying power is only one of many factors affecting software piracy. The economic crisis will have an impact – part of it negative, part of it positive – but it may not become fully apparent until the 2009 figures come in."

The positive aspect according to Gantz is that the reduced buying power of the average consumer has them looking at netbooks, which are often bundled with legitimate copies of software. IDC predicts that the piracy rate will only increase with 460 million new internet users coming online in emerging markets over the next five years. These emerging markets are where piracy is most rampant with as much as 90% of software installed on computers being pirated versions.

The countries with the lowest levels of piracy according to the study were the U.S., Japan, New Zealand, and Luxembourg -- all with piracy rates near 20%. The countries with the highest percentage of piracy included Armenia, Bangladesh, Georgia, and Zimbabwe -- all with piracy rates over 90%.



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RE: Not Lost Sales
By RandallMoore on 5/12/2009 1:51:40 PM , Rating: 2
I see what you are saying here, but I can't fully agree. My example for this being college and HS students that are required to have MS Office. Have you seen the price for that software and been on a college budget? If so, then you know why people are pirating.

Other than that point, I agree about business getting a return on their investments. But, they aren't the target here because there is an very low percentage of businesses that pirate software. And those that do are complete idiots and have no place in the market.


RE: Not Lost Sales
By Bender 123 on 5/12/2009 2:04:09 PM , Rating: 5
Get OpenOffice...I ditched Office and use Open exclusively now. Its compatible with Office formats and helps the budget, without needing to say "aaaaaaaargh!".


RE: Not Lost Sales
By VashHT on 5/12/2009 2:08:54 PM , Rating: 3
OpenOffice can not do everything office can, at least when I tried it I couldn't. My last year of college I used it, but when I had to make trendlines for some of my labs I found out that OO spreadsheet didn't have that capability. It is really nice, but it can't replace office for everything.


RE: Not Lost Sales
By Bender 123 on 5/12/2009 2:30:56 PM , Rating: 3
I actually had a similar problem in college (thousands of years ago...). Open Office cant do everything, but it does 98% of it with flying colors. For the few of us suicidal enough to major in statistics or finance, you are better off with true dedicated software for the purpose (minitab, etc...).

My point is, if you are not going to be needing the power of the purchased options, the open source world will address your needs. Just like PS...99% of the people out there can get along fine with the free stuff, but those using the software for a living are going to want to pay for it.


RE: Not Lost Sales
By joex444 on 5/13/2009 12:10:08 AM , Rating: 2
Oh, dude, this is so simple.

Instead of Excel, use OriginLab. Way the hell better, its what you see in all the professional scientific journals anyways.

As for your actual lab writeups, you'd be a fool to use anything but LaTeX. At the advanced undergraduate level I don't think using Word or a word processing software is appropriate for anything remotely scientific and/or supposed to look professional. Yeah, there's a learning curve with LaTeX, but its so worth it. Sometimes I even use it for simple documents, and there are many resume classes built-in. If you have Linux, it's probably already installed; for Windows try out MikTeX.


RE: Not Lost Sales
By erple2 on 5/14/2009 2:28:39 AM , Rating: 2
I would probably have researched what a trendline was (ie search for "linear regression howto"), written up an equation that makes that data given the known data and your current x-y data, and plotted that curve as a separate set of values. Also, that capability has been with OOo since about 2.4.

I understand that it's a bit tedious to do. But it gives you that wonderful sense of accomplishment!

:)


RE: Not Lost Sales
By Sazar on 5/12/2009 2:09:51 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I see what you are saying here, but I can't fully agree. My example for this being college and HS students that are required to have MS Office. Have you seen the price for that software and been on a college budget? If so, then you know why people are pirating.


Not a sound argument as Microsoft and other companies provide educational licenses for schools and students can purchase products at discounted rates.

If you can't pay $100 for an application your kids will use through their entire school "career" but are willing to spend hundreds on shoes and clothes, you have a priority fail.


RE: Not Lost Sales
By RandallMoore on 5/12/2009 2:23:58 PM , Rating: 3
Not sure how you claim that my argument isn't sound, and then compare software to shoes.

You can buy a pair of $200 Nike's or a pair of $25 off brand shoes. Both have comparative function.

You can not however buy an adequately featured 25 dollar MS Office license.

You are using flawed comparison with software to clothing. I often buy the cheaper alternative to expensive name brand clothing. Same goes for other things that I buy. You can't automatically assume that because people refuse to pay a high price for something that they are driving $100K cars and dressing in Armani.


RE: Not Lost Sales
By OCedHrt on 5/12/2009 2:36:35 PM , Rating: 2
CSU's in California sell an Office student license for $10. It is as full featured as a student will need (and more).


RE: Not Lost Sales
By LRonaldHubbs on 5/12/2009 2:39:22 PM , Rating: 3
You're reading into that too much. His point is that there are MANY ways to cut expenses such that Office is entirely affordable.

- Does the student in question have an mp3 player? Could they have gotten a cheaper model, and did they really need it at all?
- Does the student have a cellphone? Could they have gotten a lesser model, and can they scale back their plan for a lower monthly cost?
The student presumably has a computer if they want Office. - Did they spend extra money on more computing power than they really needed?
- How much does the student spend on beer in a given week?
- How much does the student spend on gasoline in a given week?
- How much does the student spend anually on videogames?

These are but a few examples of costs that can be reduced. It's really not very difficult to save $100.


RE: Not Lost Sales
By GaryJohnson on 5/12/2009 2:52:26 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
How much does the student spend on beer in a given week?...These are but a few examples of costs that can be reduced.

What kind of inhuman monster are you? Return beast, from the depths of hell from whenced thou came!


RE: Not Lost Sales
By LRonaldHubbs on 5/12/2009 3:16:13 PM , Rating: 4
Okay, I'll take that one back. I do not condone drinking less quantity or quality of beer to save money. I apologize for giving such a horrible example.


RE: Not Lost Sales
By MozeeToby on 5/12/2009 2:44:46 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, most colleges have student versions of MS Office available (at my college they were $15) though I'm sure not all colleges do.

Besides that, there are free options with 'comparative function' as you put it. Open Office will do 99% of what most people need (with the possible exception of finance majors). Science and engineering majors should arguably grab and get used to LaTeX before they graduate anyway, which is also freely available as that is what is expected if you ever want to publish a paper.

By your own analogy, the 'off brand' options Open Office or Google Docs won't do every as well or the same as the 'branded' MS Office. Just like the $25 shoes aren't going to perform as well as $200 Nike's (coming from a former Cross Country runner; do NOT do long distance running in cheap shoes, you'd be better off barefoot).


RE: Not Lost Sales
By stromgald30 on 5/12/2009 2:49:12 PM , Rating: 2
As other posts have mentioned, you can get Office for usually less than $20 at most universities. In addition, there was the 'ultimate steal' thing sponsored by microsoft where any student with a valid e-mail address from a accredited college could get Office 2007 for $65 or so.

To my knowledge, not many people buy MS Office at full price. With a little digging you can usually find a good deal.


RE: Not Lost Sales
By Lonyo on 5/12/2009 2:53:39 PM , Rating: 2
I've seen the UK price for Office Student and Home.
It's £60 ($90) for a 3 user license. That's £20 ($30) per license. That's nothing.
That's at most the price of 2 games, maybe a couple of pairs of shoes or whatever.
You are saying that is out of the reach of a student? You could have your copy and your parents could have a copy as well.

Unless you need more than Excel, Powerpoint and Word, it's quite a bargain.


RE: Not Lost Sales
By justjc on 5/13/2009 6:42:10 AM , Rating: 2
@Lonyo
A small flaw in your 3 licenses argument. You can't install a copy on your parents computer, without it being an illegal copy, as the license only applies to computers owned by students.

Likewise you're expected to delete your study edition, when you graduate, as it expires the moment you're no longer a student.


RE: Not Lost Sales
By LRonaldHubbs on 5/12/2009 2:25:15 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
I see what you are saying here, but I can't fully agree. My example for this being college and HS students that are required to have MS Office. Have you seen the price for that software and been on a college budget? If so, then you know why people are pirating.

There is a degree of truth to this. However:

1. Office Home & Student costs $100, a drop in the bucket compared to college expenses.
2. Many universities offer free solutions, such as a license that can only be activated once. These options are not always advertised, but if you talk to a professor who requires such software they can't point you to it.
3. Schools have computer labs everywhere. Students don't need their own copy of Office.
4. Alternative software like OpenOffice, StarOffice (basically the same), or Lotus Symphony, while far from perfect, are free and also adequate for the vast majority of users.

I know where you are coming from. I graduated exactly a year ago, and I used bootleg Office 2003 throughout college. But the general reasons for piracy that I witnessed as a student were not cost but convenience and apathy. Let's be honest here, nobody, not a single person anywhere, needs to pirate Office. They do simply because they can.


RE: Not Lost Sales
By RandallMoore on 5/12/2009 2:31:16 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
3. Schools have computer labs everywhere. Students don't need their own copy of Office.


I knew that someone would say this. I think there are others that can agree that time spent working in the comfort of your own home, on your own computer is WAY different than trying to get work done in a public place. Access to the software needed is available (theoretically) for free, but they are not even close to what you need to get the job done in the best manor possible for the best grade.


RE: Not Lost Sales
By peritusONE on 5/12/2009 2:37:37 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
I knew that someone would say this. I think there are others that can agree that time spent working in the comfort of your own home, on your own computer is WAY different than trying to get work done in a public place. Access to the software needed is available (theoretically) for free, but they are not even close to what you need to get the job done in the best manor possible for the best grade.


But the fact of the matter is that it is available. If you are going to college and spending hundreds and thousands of dollars on textbooks and such, but can't shell out $100 for a copy of Office if needed, then you have bigger problems than the cost of an optional purchase.


RE: Not Lost Sales
By StevoLincolnite on 5/13/2009 12:20:37 AM , Rating: 2
I paid nothing to go to college and I paid nothing for the text books, I was actually having a discussion with a friend over in the USA and I was amazed at the costs for trying to farther your education over there, It's great going to college, but I don't believe you should end up in debt for half your life in order to do so.


RE: Not Lost Sales
By keith524 on 5/12/2009 2:47:30 PM , Rating: 2
Doesn't that kinda prove the point of the OP? If you argue the student would use the lab before buying the software then the company has not lost any money if the student pirates the software.


RE: Not Lost Sales
By BadAcid on 5/12/2009 3:57:59 PM , Rating: 2
If they pirate, they don't use computer labs. Unused computers don't get replaced when they update the labs, and so fewer office licenses get purchased when the school's get new licenses.


RE: Not Lost Sales
By Hvordan on 5/12/2009 4:11:42 PM , Rating: 3
The OP argues that because their estimate of lost revenue is flawed we should not take them seriously. I'm not sure I understand what the point of that argument is. Clearly there is an impact to the developer who created the pirated software, there is an impact to developers in the same field who have reduced opportunity to compete, there is an impact to the customers that have to float costs associated with fewer paying customers.

The monetary estimate itself may be flawed, but the claim that there is piracy has no impact on software developers in general is absurd.


RE: Not Lost Sales
By LRonaldHubbs on 5/12/2009 2:48:57 PM , Rating: 2
I agree, working in my own dorm is very beneficial luxury. It is not, however, a necessity. The point is that there is a free alternative, thus cost is not the motivator for piracy in this case.

quote:
Access to the software needed is available (theoretically) for free, but they are not even close to what you need to get the job done in the best manor possible for the best grade.

This is entirely contrary to my college experience. Can you back that up with at least an example?

At my college, which was pretty small (~3000 kids graduating class), every single computer in every lab had a fully-featured copy of Office. They also had Matlab, SPICE, Pro-Engineer, and various other engineering tools on every computer in the engineering buildings. This was not a rich school by any means, yet everything that was needed for the coursework was provided.


RE: Not Lost Sales
By RandallMoore on 5/12/2009 5:14:28 PM , Rating: 2
The theoretical part was for college and technology fees. The university that I attend has no special discount for any software btw.


RE: Not Lost Sales
By OCedHrt on 5/12/2009 2:35:37 PM , Rating: 2
Office for students is $99.


RE: Not Lost Sales
By rcc on 5/12/2009 2:54:27 PM , Rating: 3
Yes, $79 for the academic/home version on sale at Fry's.


RE: Not Lost Sales
By bblblablah on 5/13/2009 1:04:20 AM , Rating: 2
When I was in university there were educational discounts. There have been pretty much always I think if you knew where to look or who to ask.

Microsoft Office is really not that expensive. Many individual text books cost significantly more.

www.theultimatesteal.com

$60 through Microsoft's legal site for valid EDU e-mail addresses. That's for Office Ultimate 2007 which otherwise would be like $400.

Access 2007
Excel 2007
InfoPath 2007
Groove 2007
OneNote 2007
Outlook 2007 with Business Contact Manager
PowerPoint 2007
Publisher 2007
Word 2007

Direct download or pay like $15 more for the media shipped to you.

Good through December 31st, 2010 (a ways off still so I think this deal is good for a while).

You can also get Visio Pro 2007 for $56

Office 2007 Language pack for $10

Vista Ultimate UPGRADE for $65

It's not that expensive. Microsoft like Apple does offer educational discounts. You just have to look for them.

Another good site is www.journeyed.com if you're looking for more specialized software like Autodesk/Adobe products etc. There are a lot of 3D CAD/Animation/Modeling software packages available with pretty good discounts.

And as others have said. Many Universities have deals with MS particularly in the CS departments where you can get 1 free license of ANY MS software from the lowest version of Windows to the highest end Server editions. Check with the departments to find more info. They're not advertised often but they do exist.


"I'm an Internet expert too. It's all right to wire the industrial zone only, but there are many problems if other regions of the North are wired." -- North Korean Supreme Commander Kim Jong-il

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