[PLUG-TALK] MS anti-piracy war tactics

Rich Shepard rshepard at appl-ecosys.com
Sat Nov 20 10:11:02 PST 2010

On Wed, 17 Nov 2010, John Jason Jordan wrote:

> For the rest of a very interesting in-depth article about software piracy,
> go to:
> http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/07/technology/07piracy.html?_r=1

   As usual with these types of popular press stories, they raise more
questions than they provide answers. The most important unanswered question
is the amount of the net monetary benefit (if any) Microsoft sees from these

   I didn't read the entire article, so I don't know if it reports how much
money Microsoft spends each year on microscopes, people, and computer
systems for their 'anti-piracy' efforts. Nor would we ever know how much
this piracy actually costs them. I'm sure they publicize costs as the full
retail prices of the software, but that's not how much revenue they would
have received if all those copies had been un-pirated. And, there's no way
to determine how many people would have forgone purchasing the non-pirated
software if pirated copies were not available. They might have gone with
Apple, linux, or nothing. We don't know.

   In the days of CP/M and DOS 1.x and 2.x, Ashton-Tate's dBase II and III
were among the few non-copy protected business applications available. They
knew copies were made illegally and didn't care. Their reasoning, which
their sales proved to be valid, is that developers might work with an
illegal copy, but the business for whom they developed the application would
buy a retail copy to run that application. While I spent a large sum of
money for my copies, so did all the users of the applications I developed.
It wasn't piracy that put Ashton-Tate out of business, but other factors.


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