Microsoft: Consumers Are Worried About Pirated Software


5 Aug 2011
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Pirated software may be cheaper than legal alternatives, but it's also chock-full of potential problems, and so people are realizing that it's in their best interest to avoid it.

That’s the central conclusion of a recent Microsoft survey of nearly 40,000 consumers in 20 countries that gauged perceptions about pirated software. According to the survey, 80 percent of consumers are worried about the risks of using counterfeit software, while 70 percent see genuine software as a more secure and stable alternative to pirated wares.
People in general are worried about the security implications of running pirated software, particularly data loss and identity theft from malware that's surreptitiously loaded onto their PCs during the installation process. However, many folks discover the hard way that they've bought illegal software when they load it on their PCs and find it won't activate.
"The most common complaint is simply that counterfeit doesn’t always work or protect them the way genuine software does," said David Finn, Associate General Counsel, Worldwide Anti-counterfeiting, Microsoft, in a blog post. "It may not install, or validate, or it might behave strangely because of viruses or malware."
There's a slight difference of opinion on how best to tackle the issue of counterfeit software and protect consumers: 65 percent of survey respondents believe the government should get involved, while 72 percent want to see software vendors take a more aggressive stance in tracing down pirates.
Interestingly, the survey makes no mention of the legal liabilities that consumers take on by running pirated software. The Business Software Alliance, an industry group that wields quasi-governmental powers when it comes to getting companies to submit to software audits, has been an aggressive enforcer for Microsoft and many other tech companies. The BSA doesn't generally go after consumers, but people that run pirated software still risk severe penalties if caught.
Microsoft estimates that up to one third of its customers worldwide may be running counterfeit copies of Windows, but antipiracy technologies such as Windows Genuine Advantage have previously flagged genuine users as pirates on several occasions.
In January 2007, Microsoft acknowledged that WGA had mistakenly identified more than half a million Windows users as software pirates. In August of that year, the validation scheme for Windows XP and Vista angered thousands of users by flagging legitimate versions of the OS as pirated, and causing some Vista users' copies to enter reduced functionality mode.

source : crn
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