Deconstructing Microsoft's Software Piracy Claims

from the doesn't-stand-up-to-reality dept

For years, we've mocked the BSA for their bogus yearly stats on unauthorized software copying. The BSA (and plenty of big software companies), love to go on and on claiming how much is "lost" to unauthorized copying. However, they calculate the number by assuming that every copy would actually be paid for -- an assumption that is obviously untrue. However, it looks like some companies go even further in putting up a charade. Jeremy Wagstaff does a great job deconstructing a Microsoft press conference in Indonesia about unauthorized copies. Either Microsoft believes that most people are too dumb too recognize that the company is clearly being disingenuous, or it simply doesn't understand the real issues. Among the problems with the Microsoft statement is that it claims that unauthorized copying is costing the Indonesian economy -- ignoring the other side of the coin. With so many companies and individuals using Microsoft software obtained for free, it's quite likely that much of it has boosted the economy. If not... why would they ever want to buy it? Wagstaff also takes issue with Microsoft bemoaning that all of these copies are hurting the local software industry, suggesting that it can't develop. As Wagstaff notes, Microsoft has absolutely no interest in the local software industry, and pretending it does is silly. The actual post goes into a few other questionable statements from the company -- but it really does raise the question: who do they think they're fooling?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    elaine, Apr 3rd, 2006 @ 5:08am

    It's true. These companies often release reports and survey results stating that with software piracy, their software empire is going down bit by bit. I believe that this is not the real state of the software industry because I can't see any sign showing thay they are becoming desolate because of piracy.I'm guessing that it is just a cover up.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Chucky, Apr 3rd, 2006 @ 5:36am

    Let's see now...Bill Gates is worth 50 BILLION dollars...hmmmm...I wonder how he became the richest man in the world selling MS products?
    With SO much piracy going on I venture to guess he would be worth 100 Billion if people would actually pay for all copies of his buggy software.
    How much money do these program writers need?!
    Totally ridiculous and assinine for someone in his position to complain about piracy.
    Here's a tip Bill...lower your prices to reasonable cost for anyone to buy it and you may see more profits from people buying it instead of "borrowing" it!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Al Bundy, Apr 3rd, 2006 @ 5:45am

    I didn't know the Boy Scouts were doing software...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    AnarChaos, Apr 3rd, 2006 @ 6:07am

    MicroShaft losing money due to piracy??

    Whatever. I don't see Apple losing money. Maybe becuase the MAC O/S is somewhat hard-coded into the machine ?? And they don't sell retail copies of the O/S at BestBuy?? Has anyone EVEN seen OS 10 posted on a torrent site???

    Besisdes, who actually wants to pay for buggy software?? Does anyone have the full count for how many updates WinXP has had since its release???

    I'm not a total proponent for software piracy, but I haven't paid for a MS Operating System or software since WinME. Do I get full Windows updates? Yes. Does Microsoft care if I'm one of serveral hundred thousand people with pirated copies of XP? No.

    Will I get Vista? Definately not. Well, not until 95% of the bugs are fixed. Will I pay for my copy? Look how many beta releases they've had. Plus, they're gonna have how many DIFFERNET releases of Vista?? Six??

    Are they just losing money in Indonesia? What about the rest of the world??

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 3rd, 2006 @ 6:09am

    make better software for less

    they wanna make more profits?

    first thing they'll have to do, make it cost less - does anybody wanna pay 200 to 300 USD for software, even in the US, when you go for a dirt cheap PC, it *COULD* come out around 200 to 300 USD - add in M$ Windows, and the price instantly doubles

    second, OS X and Linux distros seem to be gaining at least some ground. why would people turn away from your product for another? a lot of the time people dont have any problem whatsoever pirating software, especially something as expensive as Windows - so why would they turn away from something they can get for free (albeit illegally)? number one probabiliity is because the quality of it sucks (as far as they are concerned anyway). the solution to keeping people from turning away for this reason is to make the product not suck

    when you get down to it, M$ needs to make their software (namely windows) of a higher quality, and then to sell it for less

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Truss, Apr 3rd, 2006 @ 6:10am

    Grammar

    most people are too dumb too recognize Don't criticize others' intelligence when you cannot use "too" and "to" properly. It ruins the point of your story.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    AnarChaos, Apr 3rd, 2006 @ 6:18am

    Re: make better software for less

    YOU don't have ANY pirated software on your PC??

    Don't forget - you can't make something cheaper when people steal it.

    Hey - new thread... "Pirating oil in the MidEast - gas/oil prices go up. Microsoft uses Vista to control pieplines and refineries."

    Coincidence?? LAMO

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Michael Jozwik, Apr 3rd, 2006 @ 6:35am

    I am always perplexed by software companies claiming that piracy is driving up software prices. Where is the motivation to reduce prices if more copies are sold? Wouldn't increased demand increase the price? The only economic force that is going to drive the prices down is competition.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Jerry Kew, Apr 3rd, 2006 @ 6:43am

    Interesting view

    Considering Word displaced Wordperfect as the de facto simply through the number of students who became skilled by acquiring bootleg copies of Word (they were easier to cop) they seem to be turning their back on a startegy that has actually built Microsoft?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    AnarChaos, Apr 3rd, 2006 @ 6:52am

    Re: Competition

    OK. Let's compare Sony's Playstation 2/3 against the Xbox/360.

    Price.
    Bottom line. Either console is technically a media box. Movies, games, etc. Except I don't remember Sony having issues like Microsoft with the 360.

    Games.
    Sony still has a larger population of games for the PS/2 then MS for the Xbox/360. Prices are comparable.

    Still wanna pay a few hundred bucks for one??

    Quality vs quantity.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    WTF AreYouSaying?, Apr 3rd, 2006 @ 7:05am

    Re: MicroShaft losing money due to piracy??

    >> Whatever. I don't see Apple losing money. Maybe becuase the MAC O/S is somewhat hard-coded into the machine ??

    Uh No. It's installed right there on the Hard Drive. Nothing is HARD CODED.

    >> And they don't sell retail copies of the O/S at BestBuy??

    Hmm. YEs. They Do.

    >Has anyone EVEN seen OS 10 posted on a torrent site???

    Yes. That's where I got the 10.4 Tiger version

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 3rd, 2006 @ 7:28am

    Rationalizing?

    For every article about software or music piracy, I see the same type of comments:


    • the company charges too much for the product, but I want it, so it's okay for me to take a copy


    • the product is poor quality, but I still want it, so it's okay for me to take a copy


    • "sharing" is actually *helping* the company, they just don't understand it, so it's okay for me to take a copy


    • making a copy doesn't cost the company anything, so it's okay for me to just take a copy


    • I wouldn't pay for the product anyway, but I still want it, so it's okay for me to take a copy



    If you don't want to pay for the product -- don't use it. If enough people feel as you do, market forces should correct the situation.

    Not liking the business model/policy of the producer is not a justification for using but not paying.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    David Shealey, Apr 3rd, 2006 @ 7:38am

    Re: Interesting view

    Word became the defacto standard over a MUCH better WordPerfect, only because of Microsoft's "better" (read aggressive) marketing, certainly not because of better software!

    I used WordPerfect for many years, only started using Word because of my company's use of it. I recently just gave up that crap and went back to WordPerfect at home. WP is STILL a far better application, and friendlier to use in several ways.

    WP will open and save Word files very well, but will Word handle WP files well? Hell no!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Shimon, Apr 3rd, 2006 @ 7:45am

    win4free

    I think MS should make its software free or charge (at least Windows), they make enough money with selling (hardware) products.
    For example I have a MS mouse and keyboard, they simply should offer special features if you buy an MS product. That's a bit like Apple already does!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Steve, Apr 3rd, 2006 @ 7:49am

    It IS hurting the Indonesian economy.

    The number of man hours getting Windows to work properly have greatly hampered the growth of this burgeoning economy. ;)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    AnarChaos, Apr 3rd, 2006 @ 7:54am

    Re: Re: MicroShaft losing money due to piracy??

    BTW - did you already have OS 10.x on the MAC - or did you buy an upgrade from 9.x???

    We have BestBuy in Canada - but up here we can only purchase the O/S off the shelf from AUTHORIZED Apple retailers.

    ** Uh No. It's installed right there on the Hard Drive. Nothing is HARD CODED

    - I should edit rephrase: not hard-coded, but FIRMWARE

    try installing XP on your MAC box and vice versa.

    ===== from: http://www.winsupersite.com/reviews/macosx_tiger.asp

    "...though there is no copy protection or activation scheme in the single Mac version that would prevent you from installing a single copy on multiple machines..."

    or HERE:

    http://developer.apple.com/technotes/tn/tn1167.html

    Anyway...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    spaz, Apr 3rd, 2006 @ 8:11am

    Hmm

    It's not firmware either buddy, firmware is still chipset based.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    AnarChaos, Apr 3rd, 2006 @ 8:26am

    Re: It IS hurting the Indonesian economy.

    Isn't it true everywhere else??


    "If you can't make it good, make it look good."

    -BILL GATES, 1995



    Why can't Microsoft solve [technical problems]? Complacency. Microsoft has no competition to speak of. No incentive to hurry. No urgency to its mission. If it misses its target by, oh say ... two years, what are we going to do about it? Put OS/2 on our machines out of protest? Throw our $3,000 computers away and buy Macs instead? Throw our software away and switch to Unix workstations?

    Of course not. We're stuck. We're screwed."

    -JESSE BERST, ZDNet AnchorDesk

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Luci, Apr 3rd, 2006 @ 8:42am

    Re: MicroShaft losing money due to piracy??

    Has anyone EVEN seen OS 10 posted on a torrent site???


    Actually, yes. I have. You can literally find ANYTHING on torrents if you look. In this case, you don't even have to look hard. Torrentspy and Torrent Reactor both list plenty of copies.

    Actually, if you actually look you will find that OS X costs as much as Windows.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 3rd, 2006 @ 8:51am

    Re: MicroShaft losing money due to piracy??

    um..yes i have seen a torrent

    http://isohunt.com/torrents.php?ihq=OS+X&ext=&op=and

    it came up as the second result on my search

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    AnarChaos, Apr 3rd, 2006 @ 9:26am

    Torrents

    True enough. I just don't have Linux/MAC/OTHER saved on preferences on TorrentSpy. My Bad.

    And yes - you can find just about anything. But is really going off topic.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Josh, Apr 3rd, 2006 @ 9:29am

    It's Theft

    It's theft people plain and simple. You justify it however you want but it is still theft.

    With the way that people trash Microsoft and other big industry players I would fully expect to see people filling up their gas tanks and driving off without paying. With the justification “The oil companies made 50 billion dollars”.

    I will never understand why when it comes to software and the internet people feel that there is a moral difference between stealing (gas, food, or anything else) and software.

    Pirating software, music or anything else that is copy written and not in the public domain is stealing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    AnarChaos, Apr 3rd, 2006 @ 9:35am

    Torrents

    True enough. I just don't have Linux/MAC/OTHER saved on preferences on TorrentSpy. My Bad.

    And yes - you can find just about anything. But is really going off topic.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Carol, Apr 3rd, 2006 @ 9:47am

    Win Xp Home

    I purchased a laptop about 2 years ago spent $1000.00 on it. The laptop had Win Xp Home installed on it, the laptop is no longer working and I cannot use the Win Xp Home on my personal PC .....How wrong is that!!! Microsoft told me that it is sold only to work on the laptop it was sold on. So if the laptop is trashed (my fault) and so is the Operating System. They said putting it on a personal PC is piracy????
    I think that is a big rip off! All I was trying todo, upgrade my personal PC, and salvage what I could from my laptop.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    ECJB, Apr 3rd, 2006 @ 9:52am

    Re: It's Theft

    Speaking of "copy written"...

    Now we are in the age of putting "ideas" under copyright, and now have "copyright trolls." This makes the whole process of just *DEVELOPING* something that much more difficult because you now have to deal with the (blood-sucking) lawyers. How did we get into the state of having ideas copyrighted? Now if you use a company's name, you're supposed to put the (tm) or (c) or whatever after it.

    I think IMHO that people have gotten too possessive of their ideas. I'm not opposed to making money, but putting everything under lock and key and having every web site reaching into your pocket isn't going to make for happy campers.

    Maybe it's just because I haven't had the brilliant idea that's made me a million/billionaire, but then again, is my comfort worth the unhappiness of those I would ask to pay for it?

    I suppose it comes down to a question of a loss of morals, standards, absolutes, guidance, and direction as a society and globally. The pirahna at the top of the econimic food pyramid keep getting fatter on the chum at the bottom.

    There is no easy solution because the problem isn't just "theft of software," but a systemic problem that won't ever go away.

    - Eric.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Wind, Apr 3rd, 2006 @ 9:58am

    Like a Monopoly

    One of the reasons people pirate windows is because its is the most popular os. When you think about it, windows works on PC's and Mac works on its own machine. There is no competition for microsoft since there isnt anyting that will run on a PC that IS big enough to compete against them. Yes Yes, Linux Unix and most of the other OS's can use PC architecture but they are not corportate like microsoft. Linux is free and BSD is free. Unix you can get by priating but they dont complain that your doing it. Most free companies find happiness in the thought that your using their OS. Microsoft finds happiness in money.
    Another thing... from what i recall most machines that are used by most local governments are windows. Im not sure how far up the government windows is used but it pushes the microsoft dependency even farther. Just because microsoft has Mac for "competition" doesnt mean they are not monopolizing. The only way that the OS monster can come down is with another OS monster.

    Quick! ... someone invent an alternate OS that will run on PC and can compete with Microsoft! The idea of even competing with microsoft would be foolish since they have their stuff sold almost everywhere, even walmart. I dont see Mac's being sold at walmart.

    Becides even if you were to compete with windows OS what would you call it? Doors? Steps? Call it Shutters! you know... what you put around your windows. They use to use shutters to put over your windows right? There you go!

    WIND

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Patrick Havens, Apr 3rd, 2006 @ 10:00am

    Re: MicroShaft losing money due to piracy??

    Hard Coded? It's installed like any OS. On torrents? Have you ever bothered to look? Every version of MacOS and MacOSX is out there... but since it's run only on Mac Hardware it's a moot point.

    Otherwise nice trolling...
    /me shakes his head.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Joe, Apr 3rd, 2006 @ 10:00am

    Re: It's Theft

    That's very true. I agree with you 100%. But do I still pirate software and music? Hell yes. Why you ask? Because I don't care.

    I completely agree that it is stealing, but it's a different kind of theft. stealing "gas, food, [or] anything else" means there is that much less left for everyone else, and there was no return (money in this society) for the goods. Stealing IP is different because it doesn't take the product away from other people or cost the owner of the IP anything (besides lost sales, which is an arguable point), but it IS still stealing.

    Personally, I have switched over 100% to running Linux. I find it to be a better product and there are plenty of free software solutions that meet and exceed my needs. Using a Windows box now just seems so odd. I'm not saying that this is an option for everyone, but it's one that worked great for me, and I have the added "feel good" bonus of knowing that what I run is "legal". I do, however, still pirate software and music, and I have even installed "illegal" codecs and things on my Linux machine, but again, do I care? No, but that's a whole other issue.

    As for the arguments "it's too expensive" or "they make so much money anyway" or "their software sucks" or anything else, I ask you this; why do you continue to use it? If it sucks so much, use something else. There ARE other choices, and a good number of them, but most people are simply too lazy to find and use them. That's why M$ is still on top, and (as much as I hate to say it) probably always will be......

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    AnarChaos, Apr 3rd, 2006 @ 10:12am

    Torrents

    True enough. I just don't have Linux/MAC/OTHER saved on preferences on TorrentSpy. My Bad.

    And yes - you can find just about anything. But is really going off topic.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Grass Burner, Apr 3rd, 2006 @ 10:21am

    Re: It's Theft

    I would have to agree with you. No matter what you call it, it is stealing.

    BUT DAMN IT IS FUN!!!!!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Rupert Murdoch, Apr 3rd, 2006 @ 10:22am

    Re: Torrents

    "True enough. I just don't have Linux/MAC/OTHER saved on preferences on TorrentSpy. My Bad.
    And yes - you can find just about anything. But is really going off topic."


    You have no idea what you are talking about, obviously, as you have been beaten on every point. Back under the bridge with you, troll.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    Knight Templar, Apr 3rd, 2006 @ 10:50am

    Re: Re: MicroShaft losing money due to piracy??

    "Actually, if you actually look you will find that OS X costs as much as Windows."


    Which goes to show how much Microsoft is actually making on this. what you are paying for is the development of the software not the disk itself. Lets say for instance, you have a piece of software that cost $1 million to develop and the CDs and packing ect cost you $2 per copy. if you have 5 customers you can sell your products for $200,002.00 and break even. If you have 100,000 customers you can sell for $12 and break even.

    The Mac OS, I have to admit, is better designed than Windows, probably because they spend mor money to make sure it is done right. But windows has a far larger customer base.
    Taking tose two statements and the example above (you can thank economics for that) you would expect Windows to be far cheaper than Mac OS.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    Rikko, Apr 3rd, 2006 @ 11:02am

    Re: MicroShaft losing money due to piracy??

    AnarChaos, it's glaringly clear that you don't understand software development or operating systems in general.
    Please stop.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    Wizard Prang, Apr 3rd, 2006 @ 2:57pm

    Re: Win Xp Home

    Couldn't you reinstall on your laptop, or did you trash the hardwre?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    Carol, Apr 3rd, 2006 @ 7:21pm

    Re: Re: Win Xp Home

    If you were responding to my post, there was a pop or something spilled into my laptop, it needs a new mother board. That is why I was tryint to install the OS on my desk top PC.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    Grass Burner, Apr 4th, 2006 @ 9:48am

    Re: Re: Re: Win Xp Home

    I have the best thing for someone who wants to put XP on a trashed computer that already had XP on it.
    OK what you need to do is download a version of XP from a torrent site or even get a copy from someone who has it.
    Next thing to do is get your original XP key that came on your trashed laptop.
    When installing XP to your new computer just enter the serial that came with the old one.
    It may seem like stealing to some but how can you steal your own key????

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    identicon
    Dutchy, May 1st, 2006 @ 11:00pm

    Re: Grammar

    I am so SMRT, aren't you to.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    identicon
    Pete, Jul 5th, 2006 @ 5:43pm

    Well now

    Ok, I really don't endorse piracy. But lets see, make a proprietary format that spreads world wide. Now, if you want to communicate with those people you have to use the same product. Now your hands are tied; you have to use that product.

    1) Have you ever applied to a job and the want your resume in *.doc format?
    2) Ever try and issue a spreadsheet that wasn't in *.xls format?
    3) Ever work for a company that has their time sheets in a web based environment? Quite a few of them reqire IE.

    Use Open Standards; and let your products compete on:
    a) Price
    b) Value added by the flexibility of your software.

    Open Standards, are a good thing. Who uses the Open Standards.

    a) Without TCP/IP you wouldn't be connecting to the net.
    b) Without HTTP you wouldn't be connecting to the graphical side of the net.
    c) HTML; your actual web page.
    d) TLS/SSL (via netscape); secure shopping and online transactions.
    d) Email; another Open Standard (mime and s/mime). What would the net be without email.

    The few examples listed above; show what Open Standards have created.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This