Posted by Keith Beeman
General Manager, Genuine Software Initiative
As part of Microsoft’s on-going commitment to combat the spread of pirated and counterfeit software, and to protect our customers and partners, the Office team today made two important announcements.
First, we expanded the Office Genuine Advantage Notifications program into 13 more countries, upping the total to 41 countries where the voluntary program offers end users enhanced protection against the risks of using non-genuine copies of Office, such as viruses and malfunctioning code.
In addition, we announced that Office 2010 will offer technology managers new tools, built on our Software Protection Platform (SPP), to better control how volume-licensing keys are activated and used as they roll out Office 2010 in their organizations. The introduction of SPP into Office 2010 will also make it harder for counterfeiters to defraud consumers by selling inferior, bogus copies of Office, as the product will have technical features that make the program harder to pirate.
The end-to-end approach taken by the Office team exemplifies Microsoft’s comprehensive approach to protecting customers from pirated and counterfeit software.
Software piracy — the illegal copying and distribution of software — takes a major toll on the global economy. In addition to hurting developers such as Microsoft, piracy harms software resellers and computer users throughout the world. In 2008, 41 percent of software on the world’s PCs was obtained illegally or used without a license, according to a recent study by the Business Software Alliance (BSA) and research firm IDC. That equates to more than $50 billion in losses for the global software ecosystem.
The harm inflicted by software piracy occurs at many levels.
Piracy hurts local economies by taking money away from legitimate businesses that sell or support software.
Purchasers of pirated software often discover they are missing key tools needed to make their software function properly, such as user manuals, product support, certificates of authenticity and sometimes even critical lines of code.
Also, pirated software can be highly vulnerable to malicious code, like viruses and spyware, that damage computers and put personal and proprietary business information at risk.
We have been concerned about the spread of pirated software for some time. Microsoft developed theGenuine Software Initiative (GSI) in 2006 to focus the company’s efforts to combat piracy and counterfeit software through a comprehensive approach of education, engineering and enforcement.
Today’s announcements demonstrate the Microsoft Office team is working hard in each of these areas to advance awareness and protection against non-genuine software.
As the 2008 BSA-IDC study observed, such multi-pronged strategies are crucial to ensure the world’s computer users, and local economies, reap the full benefits of genuine software: “The forces that reduced piracy in many countries included vendor-driven legalization programs, education and enforcement actions by governments and BSA, and technology shifts, such as the increased deployment of digital rights management.”