[PLUG-TALK] MS anti-piracy war tactics

John Jason Jordan johnxj at comcast.net
Sat Nov 20 11:48:11 PST 2010

On Sat, 20 Nov 2010 10:11:02 -0800 (PST)
Rich Shepard <rshepard at appl-ecosys.com> dijo:

>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 efforts.

The article did raise the same question, and concluded that it is
unknowable, for the same reasons that you pointed out.

The article also spent quite a bit of print on whether MS would make
more money by lowering their prices in order to encourage legitimate
purchases. I really doubt that lowering prices would reduce piracy
enough to make up for the losses from reduced prices. Microsoft does a
of of things wrong, but they're masters at marketing. I'm sure they've
done the market research to determine exactly what prices produce the
maximum revenue. But I also understand that Microsoft sells its
software in China for a fraction of the price they charge in the U.S.

>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.

The article said Microsoft spends about $10 million a year on its
forensics work, and $200 million a year on improving anti-piracy
technology. It also said that "an industry trade group" estimated the
total cost of pirated copies for all software companies at $51.4
billion a year. 

>It wasn't piracy that put Ashton-Tate out of business, but other

The same can be said for just about every software company that has
gone out of business. I used Corel products for a long time, and they
were wonderful, albeit buggy. Their genius was in the user interface,
which was a joy. They couldn't code worth a damn, but that isn't what
hurt them fatally. Nor was piracy a factor. They were finally bought out
by a private holding company for a song after several years of making
one bad business decision after another. Remember Corel Linux?
CorelDRAW for Linux? WordPerfect for Linux? (I still have those in the
back of a closet somewhere.) Michael Cowpland spent millions developing
those products and made a negligible amount in sales before pulling the
plug on them.

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