foobar on computers, software and the rest of the world


Microsoft on piracy: Still getting it wrong

, posted: 10-Jul-2008 08:55

Microsoft sponsored a study about the effects of software pirace and released the results today. Not surprisingly, the study claims that software piracy is bad not only for Microsoft, but also for its partner companies:
...every dollar Microsoft loses to software piracy translates to $5.50 in lost opportunity for other companies in the partner ecosystem...
The study further points out that this negative effect is caused on several levels, some of which are not immediately obvious:
Even in a healthy ecosystem, illegal software causes hidden costs and friction in the sales and deployment processes ... The velocity of sales, the life cycle of a project and the ability to fulfill contracts as negotiated can all be affected. During the course of a deployment project, for instance, consultants and solution providers may have to stop work when illegal software is discovered, or may be unable to sell their product at all upon learning that the customer’s underlying architecture is illegitimate...
Of course, what the study neglects to mention is that this problem would be entirely non-existent if the software on which the service is based is open source. In that case, there are no "illegitimate architectures". The partner/consulting company can progress without having to worry about licenses and the like.

The business using the software can get started without the huge outlay for license costs, business can progress faster, consulting companies don't have to incorporate the license cost in their proposals, making their offerings more competitives and saving their customers money.

To top things off, Microsoft wants to lure their partners into becoming copyright-cops for them:
The flip side of this is that within those hidden costs may lie hidden opportunities in helping these customers turn their licensing situation around ... A savvy vendor can realize an opportunity by helping customers to ‘true up’ their licensing, realizing that every dollar saved from software pirates can translate to over five times that amount for the channel.
So, by partners looking out for Microsoft's interests, rather than the interests of their customers, the partner can make more money? Yes, I guess so, since they will get a cut of the license fees.

Just keep in mind, if this would be based on open source software, the customer has more money to spend on the partners consulting services, thus improving the partner company's bottom line even more.

Other related posts:
Half of Australians think it's OK to pirate Microsoft software
Windows 7 Starter: The anti-feature edition
Vista: Microsoft's biggest failure yet?








Comment by paradoxsm, on 10-Jul-2008 09:57

It's the prices Microsoft charge for overhyped propietry products, look for alternatives, most are usually much better, better still,  migrate to cross platform open-source products so you can also just migrate your OS to the native linux as well!

and lol... the "captcha" was XPUX, it just needs an added "S" in the middle.


Author's note by foobar, on 10-Jul-2008 11:27

@paradoxsm: "cross platform open source projects". Yes, exactly. This is how I first made the jump away from Microsoft: Once you use a cross platform browser, and a cross platform office suite, and a cross platform e-mail client, with all your data stored in open formats, you suddenly realise that you don't need the Windows OS underneath anymore, since all the same apps are available on an alternative platform. I had written about that here and here.

And that is exactly why Microsoft is so afraid of open data formats: It gives people the freedom to move wherever they want to. The MS Office / MS Windows combination was such a sure-fire cash cow for them: You have one, you will want the other, and all you data is stored in proprietary formats, so you can't go away easily. Open formats came along, which have the potential to free people from vendor lock-in, and so Microsoft had to fight it with all its might for as long as possible.


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New Zealand


  • Who I am: Software developer and consultant.
  • What I do: System level programming, Linux/Unix. C, C++, Java, Python, and a long time ago even Assembler.
  • What I like: I'm a big fan of free and open source software. I'm Windows-free, running Ubuntu on my laptop. To a somewhat lesser degree, I also follow the SaaS industry.
  • Where I have been: Here and there, all over the place.




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