Monday, December 10, 2007

Microsoft: Piracy

Recent post by Ina Fried (Microsoft: Vista piracy rate is half that of XP) on how Microsoft has reduced piracy by introducing more security features in Vista.

A post in Fortune a while back (July '07) narrates about Microsoft's strategy of tolerating piracy to increase the popularity and market share (in China ... should be true in Asia-Pac). They have the market share, but their long term strategy to tolerate piracy was to get traction and then translate it to revenue.

Reducing piracy will actually reduce the usage of Microsoft or may be prompt users to switch to Linux flavors. Apart from corporates, I have not seen huge audience for MS products. With rumors about Operating System under works by Google (Check this), it's time Microsoft starts sweating.

In addition to the pricing of MS OS, here is a snippet from CNET News which featured this post about ex-Microsoft employee moving to Linux(here) due to DRM issues.

Johansson said that DRM software is not only ineffective, but a waste of money that is damaging businesses attempting to use it to control the way consumers use copyright material
"How many billions has the industry spent on DRM schemes that the bad guys break in weeks? How many perfectly legitimate users has the industry annoyed and driven away? How many lost DVD sales has it caused? How many lost sales of Microsoft's Media Center software and Windows Vista has it caused because the DRM subsystem randomly decides that you must be a criminal?" Johansson wrote.

DRM protections have done very little to stop bootleggers from hawking counterfeit software, he wrote, after witnessing a bustling trade in pirated material on a recent trip to Asia. Johansson wrote that he is now contemplating using LinuxMCE to avoid further difficulties

Microsoft is popular in India just because of piracy. The moment Microsoft imposes stringent security measures(which they are trying to), they will see a drastic drop in users.

Government organisations in India are switching over to Linux and open source tools, and with various flavors of Linux available and the kind of education people get about Computers, they do not need professional help in resolving technical issues. Additionally, most of the users do not need technical support from the vendor to fix their issues. Thanks to Google again! You have access to vast amount of information.

Recently, ICICI Bank switched to Open Office. (Check here for the latest Open Office deployments here

MS is, of course, user friendly and has revolutionised the industry. With with the increase in number of users, they need to look at their pricing. If Microsoft opens up, the open source community will be able to take the product to higher levels and not rely on developers who are being paid to write software which they might not be even interested in.

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