Feeds

If you must pirate, use counterfeit Windows

MS exec gets pragmatic about piracy

Security for virtualized datacentres

A senior Microsoft exec has admitted that some software piracy actually ends up benefiting the technology giant because it leads to purchases of other software packages.

In this way, some software pirates who might otherwise never try Microsoft products become paying customers, according to Microsoft business group president Jeff Raikes.

"If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else," Raikes told delegates at last week's Morgan Stanley Technology conference in San Francisco, Information Week reports.

Raikes' stance seems at odds with the Microsoft's recent aggressive anti-piracy push, via its controversial Windows Genuine Advantage Programme, which resulted in many instances where legitimate users were identified as using "dodgy" software. And that's to say nothing of the millions Microsoft spends every year on other anti-piracy initiatives.

Rather than saying that piracy isn't a problem per-se, Raikes reckons that between 20 and 25 per cent of US software is pirated, he argues pragmatically that it can have benefits over the long-run. "We understand that in the long run the fundamental asset is the installed base of people who are using our products," Raikes said. "What you hope to do over time is convert them to licensing the software," he said.

Although Microsoft has no intentions of scaling down (much less abandoning) its effort to chase software counterfeiters, Raikes argues that it's against its interests to push illegitimate users so hard that they wind up using alternative products. "You want to push towards getting legal licensing, but you don't want to push so hard that you lose the asset that's most fundamental in the business," Raikes said, adding that Microsoft is developing "pay-as-you-go" software pricing models in a bid to encourage low-income people in emerging countries to use its technology.

Raikes' intervention provides a welcome perspective on the software piracy debate which has for a long time been dominated by the simplistic argument, wheeled out ad nauseum by industry groups such as the Business Software Alliance, that a copy of pirated software is equivalent to a lost sale. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
NASTY SSL 3.0 vuln to be revealed soon – sources (Update: It's POODLE)
So nasty no one's even whispering until patch is out
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Forget passwords, let's use SELFIES, says Obama's cyber tsar
Michael Daniel wants to kill passwords dead
FBI boss: We don't want a backdoor, we want the front door to phones
Claims it's what the Founding Fathers would have wanted – catching killers and pedos
Kill off SSL 3.0 NOW: HTTPS savaged by vicious POODLE
Pull it out ASAP, it is SWISS CHEESE
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.