Windows 7 Launch Marred by Software Pirates

Windows 7 piratedFresh copies of Windows 7 will be landing in people’s mailboxes and reaching high street stores this week. Unfortunately for Microsoft, pirated versions of their latest operating system have been available in China for several weeks longer. At just $3, it is also significantly less expensive than the standard retail price.

China is the world’s second largest PC market, but an estimated 80% of all software is pirated. The primary driving force behind the piracy is price: even Windows 7 Home Basic costs about one month’s income for a Chinese student. Microsoft have addressed software prices to some extent and slashed Office 2007 by over 70% last year. Nevertheless, it still compares unfavorably against the cost and widespread availability of pirated software.

There are signs that law enforcement is improving — IT research company Gartner estimates that piracy rates will fall to 50% by 2012. That would put China on the same level as most Asian markets, but experts still recognize that piracy throughout the region is a long-term problem.

For web evangelists, there is an obvious solution. Web applications and cloud computing can eradicate software piracy. A distribution model using micro-payments or advert-supported revenue could have more success at beating the pirates. Unfortunately, the internet is not available to the vast majority of Chinese residents, especially those in rural areas. Until fast broadband links are widely available, software piracy is likely to remain problem for Microsoft and many other companies.

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  • Michele

    Piracy has never been a problem for Microsoft in emerging markets. In many instances (and for many years), it was their main selling point!

  • NetNerd85

    For web evangelists, there is an obvious solution. Web applications and cloud computing can eradicate software piracy.

    Not going to happen if I have anything to do with it.

  • http://www.optimalworks.net/ Craig Buckler

    @NetNerd85
    So what do you have against web applications and how will you stop them? Your attempts don’t appear to be working!

  • steve

    So Windows 7 doesn’t need to be authenticated online like XP did? Then I’ll just get a privated version, if there is nothing to stop me…

  • nathany

    As everybody knows, “they’re not going to buy it anyways”, especially not when it represents a month’s wages. Yah, there is piracy, yah it’s not good. But what’s costing more? The loss in potential sales, or the costs of trying to fight it (implementing “genuine advantage”) and supporting legit users when the anti-piracy measures show false-positives (upgrading computers, etc.).

  • lostinmusic

    Web applications are great so long as you do not rely on them 100% and make them critical to the success of your business. Until we have an Internet infrastructure in place that is an absolute guarantee of reliability & uptime, local solutions will always prevail.

    If something goes wrong in my office with applications on the computer, I can have it easily & quickly fixed (usually). If my web application is down, or there’s a problem with my ISP, or something somewhere else is down and affecting access, well, then what?

    The recent outages of Google Mail & Calendar should serve as a reminder of this issue.

  • brian

    The problem with web applications is you no longer OWN anything, and suddenly you’re paying recurring monthly fees on a constant basis. If I buy my copy of Office and 4 months down the road, lose my job, I can still use my software. Try that on a web application. I’ve accepted the fact that software I’ve developed, if I choose to put it out there, that I’m taking on the risks of potential piracy – that’s precisely why I charge what I do for my work. You can’t have it both ways.

  • TheBuzzSaw

    HAHAHA! Dream on. Businesses still have this mentality that if piracy goes down, sales must go up. For every 1,000 pirates stopped, maybe one of them will turn around and by the product. The issue is always price. Businesses insist that “they worked hard and deserve $X for product Y”. Fair enough… but most people can only afford $Z. So, they’d rather have $0? Ha! … Did anyone see the recent World of Goo experiment? It was revealed that one’s ability to pay was a more significant factor in choosing a price than that of “the value of the product” or anything else.

  • NetNerd85

    Haha, As a web app developer I have no intention of putting myself out of a job but desktop apps will always have their place outside of the internet. The internet is on the fast track to becoming controlled.

  • fproof

    Web applications are great so long as you do not rely on them 100% and make them critical to the success of your business. Until we have an Internet infrastructure in place that is an absolute guarantee of reliability & uptime, local solutions will always prevail.

    And why would web applications not be able to work offline? That’s actually one of the things html 5 is trying to deal with.

  • Roy

    Funny how this is indicated towards China when lots of people in the US use pirated copies as well through bit-torrent…

  • Jonathan

    Right — if we can run web applications offline, then all we need is our offline browser and we’re set!

  • Icespadez

    I’m sure Microsoft doesn’t like losing sales to piracy, but I can see how they might not put as much effort into stopping it as they can. It could be a good thing to have consumers using your product in an emerging market, pirated or not. Later on, when they need to buy a product, they’ll turn to the product they know. Just one way of looking at it.

  • Micro$oft

    As an IT Professional and Web Developer, Windows XP Mode is a huge thing for me. Unfortunately to get a version of Windows 7 that has this will cost me a minimum of CAD$329.99 which is absurdly overpriced. I can go buy a PS3 for less. I do not own a copy of Windows currently so I cannot buy the upgrade version. This is why people pirate. To get a copy of Office 2007 with Access Database I am looking at CAD$689.99. Never will I pay that much for software. Only Government, Businesses and Schools pay these prices, everyone else grabs a copy from their buddy or from some torrent.

    Off topic a little, look at the Adobe suite… Now THAT is overpriced.

  • http://www.dangrossman.info Dan Grossman

    The antipiracy efforts in China are a token effort, to give the appearance of enforcing copyright as required in international negotiations.

    And this is the way Microsoft wants it. They don’t push too hard for antipiracy measures in China. The main driver for the decreasing rate isn’t better enforcement, it’s rising income as the country prospers.

    Microsoft wants as many people in China as possible to be using Windows, even pirated versions. Their population is so large, and their middle class growing so quickly, that in a decade those students that can’t afford Windows now will be able to just as easily as Americans can afford it today.

    When that time comes, Microsoft will still be there, and will be able to reap the profits of that enormous market.

  • ats berry

    I’m really sad to see that Great Company like Microsoft is unable to stop these kind of piracy. We all should strictly stand in front as our techie friends work hard to develop.

    Something has to be done to stop this otherwise directly or indirectly we all are getting affected by this. Sorry to say but there is no reason to laugh at this as this is a serious concern

  • Darko

    If they enforce it, everybody will switch to linux… who then lose?

    Piracy seems less evil… in some cases.

  • TheWix

    Remember this it is Communist china

  • http://www.dangrossman.info Dan Grossman

    @Micro$oft If you were just the average home user, or a student, you could get the versions of Windows and Office you need for a small fraction of those prices.

    It’s because you are an IT professional and Web Developer that you need those extra features, and it is because you are an IT Professional and Web Developer making money from these features that you can afford to pay more for them.

    This isn’t why people pirate, consumers don’t have those needs and don’t have to pay those prices. This is how you cop out and make excuses for your piracy while you profit off of the extra features for business that you won’t pay for.

  • Dave

    I’ve been running Windows 7 on my boxes for over 5 months

    The problem for Micro$oft is that they have gigantic deals with computer manufacturers like Dell. When Dell puts Windows 7 on a computer, you don’t need a cd key or validation, it is validated by the SLIC in the bios

    with the dawn of SLIC emulation, there is no way for them to enforce it without breaking a deal with major PC manufacturer

  • Niubi

    I think DubLi should sell Windows 7 – discount price. Microsoft will still get the full (and ridiculously expensive!) $$$ from sales, whilst consumers get it at a knockdown price. In this kind of economy, that’s what’s needed. Both parties get a fair price, and everyone’s happy. Have to say, I’ve only just upgraded to Vista (it’s a bit hmmm) so I’m probably not going to use Win7 for a good few years. Happily, that means all the bugs will have been ironed out by then. Oh wait, this is M$….. probably not!

  • KiwiJohn

    What makes me laugh is someone who uses pirated software and/or downloads pirated copies of movies/music and then complains when someone copies their web design.

  • http://www.bournias.net peterb

    Didn’t Microsoft receive the email with the decree from the emperor that all software now belongs to the people at low cost.

  • Arthur Lui

    Tossing around numbers like “80% of software is pirated” is not the point, and not the problem. The problem arises when people who would have shelled out the cash for software decide to go for the pirated option. The vast majority of users are not in this category. If the pirated option wasn’t available, they’d simply stick to Windows XP, what they currently have, instead of upgrading. Microsoft loses nothing when another user (who couldn’t afford to buy it at retail) acquires a pirated copy.

    You have to reframe the problem in terms of lost revenue that they would have received if the pirate option was not available.

    Sure, piracy is a problem costing companies money, but not to the degree that it sounds like from these grand stats.

  • Setsuna

    Well, Adobe is working on a product called Adobe AIR…

    “The Adobe® AIR™ runtime lets developers use proven web technologies to build rich Internet applications that run outside the browser on multiple operating systems.” ~ http://www.adobe.com

  • Africanboy

    The Business Software Alliance has just announced plans to “eradicate” piracy in 5 African countries, including my own, which is quite laughable considering the much more more serious crimes which governments have being struggling with since the dawn of civilisation. The only reason most of us use Microsoft’s overpriced, resource-hungry software is because of the arrangement they have with computer manufacturers. In the next few years I think a lot of us in the third world will switch to Linux. That’s good for everyone. How innovative can a company remain when it controls 90% of the market?

  • http://www.dangrossman.info Dan Grossman

    AIR was released nearly two years ago, and is a platform for desktop development (Windows and Mac programs, as opposed to websites like Flash). How is this related to Windows 7?

  • direkfilmizle

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