Microsoft Aims to Eliminate Piracy - Effect on the Consumer
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Microsoft obviously has a lot to lose when it comes to pirated software. Aside from losing millions of dollars each year, it also tarnishes its once trustworthy name. The technology giant is constantly being bombarded by complaints from unsuspecting customers after purchasing counterfeit Windows XP software and "illicit software components" burned onto a CD.
That being said, purchasing pirated software is also very detrimental to consumers. Counterfeit software can leave buyers vulnerable to data loss, identity theft and viruses, which is why using a computer operating with counterfeit software has been likened to operating a car with defective brakes; you're taking a risk each time you get in the vehicle.
Microsoft has urged consumers to be wary of software deals that seem too good to be true, and surely there have been many unsuspecting consumers who sincerely thought they were purchasing legitimate software from an auction site, only to find upon installation that it was bogus. Chances are, however, that there have been just as many who were aware that they were purchasing counterfeit Microsoft software.
Many consumers are struggling financially in what can only be described as a recession. The idea of cheaply purchasing software that can perform similar, if not identical tasks, to that of legitimate Windows XP software is surely enticing, but consumers may be purchasing more than they bargained for.
When consumers and businesses are looking for new software, it is important to buy from reputable resellers. Often customers don't realize that the deals they get online are from non-reputable vendors whose products don't come equipped with the proper licensing or the services provided by the legitimate channel, such as Microsoft. Counterfeit software often includes code that can severely damage a computer's environment.
The loss of substantial sums of money aside, Microsoft claims that their lawsuits are actually in defense of something less tangible. Intellectual property is characterized as any product of the human intellect that is unique, novel or unobvious and has some value in the marketplace; it includes ideas, inventions, business methods and manufacturing processes. Intellectual property is a key driver of the U.S. economy. Microsoft claims that the lawsuits filed illustrate the company's commitment to protecting intellectual property, jobs, honest sellers and partners from alleged dishonest dealers who victimize consumers and businesses by exposing them to the risks of counterfeit software, which includes viruses, loss of data and identity theft.
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