Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Behind Microsoft's 'Stop Piracy' Curtain

No one reading this blog needs to be acquainted with the rampant software piracy which has gripped the entire globe and moreover the developing countries. Hardly you will come across any person who has never ever used a pirated software anytime. And you will agree with me that the most common pirated software; rather Operating System (OS) used by many users is Windows.

Coming to Microsoft (MS), let me share with you something that
would leave you thinking over one of the most successful dual-policy adopted by this company. MS Windows needs no introduction, being the most popular OS. On one hand, MS calls for a 'Stop Piracy' campaign, and on the other hand.... believe it or not.... they do not want the piracy to stop!!! MS has a long term gain (obviously monetary) in letting the pirated copies of Windows run free on our PCs. Let me explain the crystal clear business tactics behind this.

On an average, say a child starts his primary interaction with Windows when he is only a first grader, ie 5-6 years of age. And since the Windows installed is pirated version (mostly), the cost of using Windows is almost negligible. Now this child uses Windows throughout his school, high school and college life. For almost 2 decades, he has used Windows OS.

Now, when he enters into a corporate world of which IT and computerized processes are inseperable elements, he is already habituated to Windows. So if he is given a new OS to work on, say Linux, he would require say 15 minutes to complete a certain task compared to only 10 minutes on a Windows platform. Now, since the employees and their work time are a part of resources of a company, the company wants to utilize them at an optimum level. Taking this into consideration, the company installs Windows on its system. And when it comes to an organization or an institute installing Windows, they 'have to' buy genuine Windows because they have to be legally safe and avoid being dragged to the court.

For each of the computers in that firm, a genuine Windows has to be bought, and we very well know that genuine Windows costs a bomb (approx. $150-$199). Now, we are the consumers and are directly related with the products or services of these companies. Hence it goes without saying that directly or indirectly the cost of these genuine Windows is recovered from us. So Microsoft recovers the entire cost of the loss they suffered when we used pirated Windows on our home PCs. Think of the millions using pirated Windows. We get habituated to Windows and thats where the crux of profit-making lies.... You make someone habituated to your product, even if it means incurring loss in initial stages. But over a long period of time, its sure to set your cash registers rolling !!


nehudfriend said...


Anu Maheshwari said...

Yes , it's a way by which Microsoft reaches the emerging markets like Latin American, Asia, Africa etc where the buyers dont have the capacity to get the original system.
The developed nations in comparisons have lower rates of piracy.
Microsoft would rather see the pirated versions of its software than letting the users resort to free and open source software such as Linux :)
As they say 'No Pain No Gain !

Mukul Chaudhari said...

MS is one hell o' a shrewd company! Never thought of this loop which you have pointed out. Well its one of those many things that made Bill Gates the richest man and kept him there. They say he is a genius and now we know why too!
Waiting for exams to wind up. Then I'll write. Sigh! The 19th of June cometh.

The Transparent Mind said...

Well, Microsoft is certainly aware of its software being pirated. But even within the organization I dont think they can officially make a statement like that. Whoever makes that statement can become vulnerable/liable.

Theres also the other factor of the expense involved in sueing individuals and small parties outweighing the gain, and further as you say also result in loosing prospective users over time. So, they target large corporations that are worthwhile sueing.

I'd say the reason is that it is more of an unattractive and unviable prospect than it being looked upon as an investment.

What you say is true though that in the end more users are acclimatized to Windows based products.