Microsoft Aims to Eliminate Piracy - Piracy Worldwide
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Microsoft is attempting to combat piracy worldwide with the lawsuits filed late last year.
The 16 federal lawsuits previously mentioned are just the legal filings located in the United States. Fifty-one similar legal actions spanning 11 countries have also been made. These include 12 in Germany, 12 in France, seven in the U.K. as well as proceedings in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Columbia, the Dominican Republic, Japan, Mexico and New Zealand.
The specifics of certain cases truly highlight the global nature of the piracy problem being tackled head-on by Microsoft. One of the many cases brought to the world's attention spans four continents. Microsoft said that auctioneers in New Zealand were selling high-quality counterfeit Microsoft Windows and Office software to unsuspecting consumers in Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the U.K. and 15 U.S. states. The defendants in this case sold the counterfeit software from their base in New Zealand and shipped it to unknowing customers in the U.S. directly from China, according to the complaints made by Microsoft.
There are some locations that will not be as severely punished as others -- if at all. The American software giant has publicly said that it will not wage war on piracy in Cambodia as it has in other countries thus far; instead, it will focus on cultivating a new generation of computer users loyal to the company and its various products. Microsoft plans to use a business model previously applied to Vietnam, where it opened a small office in 1996 and now sees yearly revenue of $10 million. Pirated versions of Microsoft software are readily available in Phnom Penh, which doubles as both the capital and the largest city in Cambodia. Microsoft estimates that a whopping 98 percent of its products in Cambodia are bootlegs. The pirated software is usually found in street markets and has been known to sell for as little as $5, which is a far cry from its usual several hundred dollar price tag.
In March of this year Microsoft unveiled its market plan for Cambodia, which will allow it to take advantage of what it refers to as a "budding and opportunistic environment." Cambodia is a developing country with great potential for Microsoft, especially when taking into account that half the population is under 20 years of age. The number of computers in Cambodia is also steadily increasing; it is believed to increase by a rate of 25 percent each year. After experiencing such huge success in Vietnam, Cambodia was the next logical step for Microsoft. The company has already teamed up with local retailers in Cambodia to improve technical support for buyers and provide training sessions for local universities and companies in order to improve their understanding of legitimate Microsoft products.
Piracy is obviously a major problem faced by any company who develops software or other products that fall under the category of "intellectual property." Microsoft's lawsuits, though necessary, are highly unlikely to stop the type of schemes and deceit associated with counterfeit products such as the Blue Edition software that became wildly popular on Internet auction sites. If nothing else, Microsoft's legal proceedings will force pirates to shift their tactics and perhaps become even sneakier.
There seems to be no end in sight, so it's up to consumers to do their homework and make sure they are purchasing legitimate products from reputable sellers. The idea of a bargain may seem enticing when times are tough, but the risk of having your computer crash, or worse yet, your identity stolen, isn't worth saving a couple of bucks.
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