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Microsoft commissioned IDC for the pirated software report

The International Data Corporation (IDC) has released a new white paper -- commissioned by Microsoft -- that focuses on counterfeit and pirated software use. 

The paper, titled "The Dangerous World of Counterfeit and Pirated Software: How Pirated Software Can Compromise the Cybersecurity of Consumers, Enterprises, and Nations...and the Resultant Costs in Time and Money," said that about 33 percent of software is counterfeit. 

The paper also said the malware market will reach $114 billion this year thanks to counterfeit software. In addition, consumers will waste about 1.5 billion hours dealing with this malware. 

This paper was made using information from a 10-country survey of 1,104 consumer respondents, 973 business user respondents and 268 CIO/IT manager respondents. 

Some highlights from the report include the fact that 78 percent of pirated software has spyware attached; 45 percent of users had to uninstall their pirated software because of computer performance issues; those who need to visit websites for stolen activation keys suffer a greater risk of getting a Trojan or adware infection by about 36 percent, and the total worldwide amount spent fighting issues related with counterfeit software (identity theft, repair, recovering data, etc.) is $22 billion. 

"Yes, over the next seven years, the installed base of PCs will grow by a factor of less 
than 1.5 — versus a factor of 3 in the past seven years — but software-laden phones
and tablets will take up the slack," said the IDC white paper. "And these mobile devices may be even harder to manage — and keep secure — in enterprise settings than PCs. Nor is it likely that the creators of malware and of counterfeit software will depart a lucrative business that may be one of the safest criminal environments within which to operate.
"It seems logical to infer, then, that the security risks faced by users of counterfeit software can only increase. Which is the reason we conducted this research: to quantify those risks and help end users and enterprises become aware of them.
"But the best prevention is simply to use the genuine item. This means procuring 
computers and software from trusted sources, avoiding software with too-good-to-be-true prices, and following activation and registration protocols."

Microsoft definitely makes strong efforts to combat piracy. In 2006, it sued resellers for selling pirated software. Just last year, it accused UK retailer Comet Group PLC of being a kingpin of the software piracy world -- devoting an entire factory to the sale of illicit goods.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer even blamed piracy for low Windows Vista sales in 2007. 

Source: Microsoft

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How accurate is this estimate....REALLY?
By GotThumbs on 3/26/2013 3:38:00 PM , Rating: 2
This paper was made using information from a 10-country survey of 1,104 consumer respondents, 973 business user respondents and 268 CIO/IT manager respondents.

I just don't buy the 30% estimate based on this very, VERY small sampling.

Even if it is a bad statistic, if someone chooses to use pirated software and gets bitten by Malware bug, then Karma kicks in IMO.

Best wishes,

RE: How accurate is this estimate....REALLY?
By kleinma on 3/26/2013 3:46:06 PM , Rating: 2
If one of the 10 countries is China, then I am surprised the number is so low.

Some estimates are that 80%+ of all "paid" software in china is pirated.

People sell "new" computers there with pirated windows, office, adobe suite, etc.. all preinstalled, all pirated. Literally 10k worth of retail software pirated for free.

By jak3676 on 3/26/2013 5:19:14 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah - China, India and most of the Middle East and south America are the same. It's physically possible to buy legitimate software (or CD's or DVD's). If you go to any PC Store, all of it is pirated - 100%. I suppose you could try to order from a US based website - but trying to get them to ship overseas is tricky at best, it not impossible.

I don't have a hard time believing 33% world wide.

By timothyd97402 on 3/26/2013 7:03:05 PM , Rating: 2
Don't get too "holier than thou". There are a lot of small shops in the U.S. selling custom built PCs with pirate Windows and other software installed. I see it all the time when they are brought in for repairs or virus removal.

By TakinYourPoints on 3/27/2013 4:02:16 AM , Rating: 2
You beat me to it.

People wonder why Valve, Blizzard, EA, every single game developer out there is going to such lengths for always on DRM or free-to-play models paid for by microtransactions.

Well, there you go. Piracy rates in the US are nothing compared to most of Asia and much of Eastern Europe.

By TakinYourPoints on 3/27/2013 4:04:13 AM , Rating: 2
That said, blaming piracy for low Vista sales is hilarious :)

RE: How accurate is this estimate....REALLY?
By Strunf on 3/27/2013 8:57:10 AM , Rating: 2
Do not mix up things... DRM NEVER stopped people from pirating, you also wrongly assume that when some guy pirates lets say Photoshop Adobe will lose money, that's not the case 90% (if not more) people that pirate Photoshop do it cause they can but wouldn't otherwise buy it, so for Adobe this guy that pirates Photoshop represent nothing.

With games is a bit the same I see people pirating games cause it's definitely cheaper and cause it is very often more convenient (as in no DRM limitations, no 3rd party software need, etc), these pirates would otherwise not buy the game or wait till the price goes down...

In the past everyone was copying Floppy disks back and forth, the same with video and audio tapes, the majors should stop making it look like it's a new thing related to the Internet, the reasons people pirate today is no different than in the past, cheaper (or free) is and will ALWAYS be more appealing, make games cheaper and piracy will go down, if they are cheap enough no one will bother pirating them.

The Free-to-play model exists cause some publishers realized that people just DON'T want to pay $50 for a game, with Free-to-play people will maybe never spend $50 on the game but even if they just spend $10, then it's still $10 they get instead of nothing.

By mcnabney on 3/27/2013 1:36:59 PM , Rating: 2
I would say that closer to 99.999% of people pirating Photoshop would never pay for it at that time. The Creative Suite costs as much as a decent computer. Even budding artists that might pirate it in school will eventually become paying customers when they have paying jobs in the industry.

By TakinYourPoints on 3/27/2013 6:05:53 PM , Rating: 2
I didn't say that DRM stopped piracy, of course it didn't. I said that piracy is why those companies went to DRM in the first place.

The reasons you gave for free-to-play are correct. However, piracy is one more reason for it. The fact that a game is supported by microtransactions does an end-run around piracy and DRM. Let's look at two examples, Starcraft 2 and DOTA 2.

SC2 has no LAN mode and requires a connection to Battlenet's servers in order to use matchmaking. This is because it is a full price retail product. A pirated copy without the BNet restrictions gets everything while paying for nothing.

DOTA 2 is free-to-play and it has a LAN mode. The reason is that there is no need to protect the game from pirates, it is free to play and is paid for by cosmetics and other microtransactions. It does use Steam, but you can play LAN in "offline mode" just like you can with TF2.

So yeah, one of the benefits of F2P is that protecting the game/service from pirates is no longer an issue since everyone gets the game for free already, so restrictive measures like no LAN play are no longer needed.

RE: How accurate is this estimate....REALLY?
By Ramtech on 3/26/2013 3:51:04 PM , Rating: 2
Well gamers who buy DRM-ed games do get kicked quite nastily by karma...

I buy games which i really like but only install and play pirated games am i despicable pirate?

By Totally on 3/26/2013 4:14:56 PM , Rating: 2
Same here. It doesn't make sense to go through 3-4 into vids some which are normally unskipable just to get to the loading screen where the same logos from the intros are plastered all over the title page and then another loading screen. Whatever happened to splash page -> loading -> intro vid(can skip) -> title screen ->loading screen

By Strunf on 3/27/2013 9:08:25 AM , Rating: 2
Exactly, that's the beauty of the thing instead of making life hard on pirates they make it hard on the honest buyer, pirates have and will always exist, once you get that you can either reduce it by putting a cop on every doorstep or by making your games cheaper, and no one really wants a cop on their doorstep...

"Well, there may be a reason why they call them 'Mac' trucks! Windows machines will not be trucks." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

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