Pirated software is widely reported as a source of revenue loss for businesses. However, a recent study1 commissioned by Microsoft and the Harrison Group showed that intellectual property owners were not the only victims – customers also suffer.
Matt Schmitt was the unfortunate victim of counterfeit software. He purchased a copy of Windows® XP for his Hamilton computer without realizing it was a counterfeit copy. The product key that he typed into the computer failed to work. Within seconds, his PC became infected with viruses and spyware.
”I lost a lot of personal data,” said Mr Schmitt. “I had to have it replaced at an additional cost – I’m hoping my story will mean that others don’t have to go through the same issues I have had.”
Mark Rees, National Technology Officer, Microsoft New Zealand, informed the public that, “The presence of high-quality fakes in the market today makes distinguishing counterfeit software from the genuine article a continuing challenge for consumers.” He also noted, “The best way to avoid pitfalls and ensure you buy genuine software is to follow the Microsoft Buyer’s checklist.”
The repercussions of piracy can be substantive. Mr Rees said that “Pirated software creates a US$1.5 billion disadvantage in local economies around the world – something which in turn hinders job opportunities and stifles innovation.”
At the root of the matter, what consumers really want is to get the most out of their personal computers (PCs). But, using pirated software can actually lead to the opposite outcome. The study sponsored by Microsoft and completed by the Harrison Group showed that laptop battery lives were shortened by 26 minutes on machines with pirated software – at least 60 percent of the time. Another interesting result showed that systems running on genuine Windows and Microsoft® Office software outperformed pirated counterparts 75 percent of the time.
The above statistics, among other key findings, were released by Microsoft as part of Play Fair Day and were aimed at helping businesses, consumers and governments know the dangers of fake software.
“I lost a lot of personal data and the pirated software caused huge frustration, especially when I had to have it replaced at an additional cost – I’m hoping my story will mean that others don’t have to go through the same issues I have had.”
– Matt Schmitt, a Hamilton computer user
1 This was a paper sponsored by Microsoft and completed by the Harrison Group. The paper evaluated the impact of unlicensed software on end-users, especially within a company using Microsoft software. To capture a strong representation of large markets, studies included data from the United States, the United Kingdon, China and Brazil.