Microsoft’s successes against pirates
The commitment of the big Redmond against the sale and installation of unauthorized copies of its software pays off for the efforts made : The UK’s Microsoft Anti-Piracy Task Force recently announced that it has doubled the amount of money made by discovering more rogue resellers and merchants by blocking their lucrative deals based on selling pirated copies of original software.
According to statements by Michala Alexander, head of the task force, the average percentage of Microsoft software piracy in the country has dropped by 4 percentage points since February 2006, when the Keep IT Real law enforcement program was launched.
Keep IT Real, as known to the readers of Punto Informatico, aims to tackle the piracy problem at different levels , by directly blocking the primary distribution sources of the counterfeit software and at the same time promoting a customer awareness campaign, to provide them with the adequate knowledge to distinguish an original product from a pirated one. Thanks to the efforts made in the last eight months, the initiative is now very close to achieving its primary objective: to reduce, in the space of three years, the percentage of illegal software present in the UK from 16.7% to 11.7 %. Microsoft is missing just 0.7% to be able to declare the target reached .
The Feet on the Street policy, which the company has been running for years, also gives results. A campaign with an approach more direct to the question: the strategy provides for a real investigation action on the territory, with the declared purpose of discovering the unauthorized use of Microsoft products (be it Windows, Office or whatever) and irregular licensing methods by users with business needs, retailers and distributors. The identification of an offender can lead to one informal conversation with the company, to discuss the current methods of use of the software in relation to the licensing conditions.
According to Alexander, thanks to the initiative, Microsoft has so far identified many users of illegal software, with the involvement of ben 5,000 copies of unlicensed software . The number of subjects is shrinking, says Alexander, but the size of the trade and the number of counterfeit copies detected increases exponentially. The statements do not go into specifics by citing names or distribution chains. In many of the cases identified, the company is still busy trying to persuade those responsible to make their software legal. Many refuse to cooperate, while some users are surprised when they are contacted by Microsoft: “In one case we alerted a company that it had unknowingly bought counterfeit software for a price higher than the list price”, declares the manager.
After announcing the successes on the anti-piracy front, Alexander confesses his concerns about the imminent launch of Windows Vista. The marketing of the new operating system from Microsoft poses a lot of problems to the anti-counterfeiting unit under it, as distributors will no longer be able to sell new licensed copies of XP. “We expect a consistent flow of counterfeit XP into the market by then,” he says, “This is the problem we will be facing for the next eight months.”