Infrastructure // PC & Servers
News
5/12/2010
10:07 AM
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Software Piracy Dips, Despite Recession

In 2009, the United States recorded the lowest level of software piracy worldwide.

A new report finds that software piracy rates may be in decline. But for every $100 of software legitimately sold globally, another $43 worth of pirated software still makes its way into the market.

Those results come from the seventh-annual “Global PC Software Piracy Study,” conducted by market researcher IDC and sponsored by the Business Software Alliance, a software industry trade group that counts among its customers, Adobe, Apple, IBM and Symantec.

With experts predicting that the recession would drive more people to embrace pirated software, in fact, the opposite appears to have occurred, with piracy declining in many countries. From 2008 to 2009, the global software piracy rate, however, increased from 41% to 43%, largely due to increased PC sales in emerging economies.

But the global value of unlicensed software decreased by 3%, to $54.1 billion, staying about the same in actual dollar amounts, due to exchange-rate fluctuations.

“Given the economy, 2009 piracy rates are better than we expected,” said BSA president and CEO Robert Holleyman in a statement.

Worldwide, PC shipments to businesses, governments and schools dropped by 15% from 2008 to 2009, but increased by 17% to consumers. That’s good news for piracy prevention, said IDC, because “piracy is generally higher in software installed on older computers than on new PCs.”

In 2009, the United States recorded the lowest level of software piracy worldwide, at 20 percent, unchanged from last year. But that still equals about $8.4 billion worth of pirated software. On the other end of the piracy spectrum, Georgia recorded the highest rate, at 95%.

BSA’s Holleyman called on governments to further crack down on software piracy. “Few, if any, industries could withstand the theft of $51 billion worth of their products. To foster innovation and maximize the economic impact of the IT industry, governments must act -- particularly those in fast-growing, high-piracy countries.”

Global theft statistics in hand, what’s the next step for individual software vendors that want to recoup lost revenue?

Many businesses will focus on the $16 billion that IDC estimates was lost to pirated software in the Asia-Pacific region, said Michael Goff, marketing director for V.i. Labs, which provides piracy business intelligence and protection for software vendors. “But more interestingly, when you combine the North American and European markets, they had a combined $21 billion in unlicensed software,” he said. “There’s a significant opportunity for revenue recovery from unlicensed software in these markets where intellectual property protection is really good.”

Furthermore, businesses -- not consumers -- already using a vendor's products have, in effect, chosen that product over the competition, and this creates an opportunity, he said. “If you can identify business infringers who are pirating your software, you’ve basically won the battle. They’re a customer of yours, they just haven’t paid you yet.”

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Server Market Splitsville
Server Market Splitsville
Just because the server market's in the doldrums doesn't mean innovation has ceased. Far from it -- server technology is enjoying the biggest renaissance since the dawn of x86 systems. But the primary driver is now service providers, not enterprises.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Tech Digest Septermber 14, 2014
It doesn't matter whether your e-commerce D-Day is Black Friday, tax day, or some random Thursday when a post goes viral. Your websites need to be ready.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.