Global Software Piracy Rate Still High, Says Microsoft Boss

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Emma Okonji

Microsoft International President, Jean-Phillipe Courtois, has said that the global piracy rate on software, including Microsoft products, has remained high, even though most software companies have successfully devised new means by shifting to Cloud-as-a-Service.

Courtois made the disclosure in Lagos during his recent visit to Nigeria. He said: “There is a big paradigm shift to cloud-as-a-service, and Microsoft had since moved its applications to the cloud, which has made it a more difficult task for anyone to pirate Microsoft apps and other software products. We have grown a lot of our customers in the cloud and we have developed anti-piracy measures to protect them while in the cloud.”
According to Business Software Alliance (BSA), the global software piracy is on the increase. It rose to 42 per cent in 2011, with a commercial value of $63.4, up from $58.8 billion in 2010.

Another study carried out by BSA in 2014, showed an increase in global software piracy to 43 per cent, which valued at $66.7 billion.
Findings from the study showed that software installed on personal computers around the world in 2013 and 2014, was not properly licensed.

The global rate at which PC software was installed without proper licensing rose from 42 per cent in 2011 to 43 per cent in 2013 and 2014.

Surveys of Information Technology (IT) managers indicate that only 35 per cent of companies have written policies requiring them to use properly licensed software.
There is a significant awareness gap between workers and IT managers when it comes to software policies in enterprises, as workers are less likely than IT managers to say there is a formal policy in place, the BSA report said.

The report however blamed increasing piracy rate on poverty and inequality across Africa.
Addressing the issue of security in business transactions, Courtois said Microsoft takes security very seriously and has developed extensive set of solutions that enable customers using Microsoft apps on mobile devices, as well as the Microsoft enterprise mobility service for banking services, to proactively monitor and detect malware threats while carrying out any online banking services.
According to him, the solutions detect malicious attacks before they occur and send signals to the chief security officer of the bank. So we are keen at developing infrastructure that will protect any form of online transaction, Courtois said.

Giving future insight into Microsoft’s strategy for Africa, Courtois said the three key priorities, which Microsoft held for Africa in the last few years, remain the same, which is about Skills, Access and Innovations. Skills, he said, is about training more youths in Africa to enable them become innovative. Microsoft has trained over 1.6 million people in technology skills and we know we can still train more to get more youths to understand technology and use it as enabler for job creation, he said.

Innovation, he explained, is the key to Africa, where the challenges are high.
He said there was need for African entrepreneurs to become innovative, so as to come up with creative solutions in eCommerce models for financial services and other business services that could address the challenges of the general masses, even in remote areas.
Furthermore, he said that access is also key because connectivity is still an issue for many people in Africa. “We need to get them connected to the rest of the world and those that are connected also need connectivity to get connected to others,” Courtois said.
He added that Microsoft has reached $10 billion investment and that it plans doubling it to $20 billion in the next two years.