OK, I was talking to some friends about this tonight, and I don’t know if it’s an idea that is widespread or if it’s an original thought. But hey, I’m going to write about it anyway.

So, you know this whole pirating software thing. And you know how Microsoft apparently don’t like it. They “blacklisted the 20 most-copied discs”. (ComputerActive) I’ll bet they have a much longer list of ones they’re sure are being used illegally. Now why would they have such a list and not use it? Because it’s in their interest to both appear to be doing something about piracy, whilst simultaneously not really doing anything about it.

Let me explain. If Microsoft were to become very harsh on piracy, as Valve have with Steam for Half-Life (see their Support forums) then users would be forced to either pay for the software (could be up to £500 for Windows XP and Office 2003 Professional) or consider cheaper alternatives (such as Linux or Linspire). Now Microsoft only get money from the option where people buy their software, and of course this is what they would prefer. However, offered a choice between someone using their software pirated and using someone else’s software, I believe Microsoft would rather someone used their software pirated because this re-inforces their market share (or monopoly).

So this is why I think Microsoft could do a lot more about piracy, but don’t. As long as sufficient people are paying for their software, they don’t care that a lot of individual users are pirating their software. I’d imagine that Microsoft are pretty content with businesses paying for their software and most other people feeling like they’re getting away with it when they pirate stuff.

That’s how I see it working, anyway. Hmm, think that may be my first “not about my life” post. Wow.

Life’s good here, having a chilled weekend. (That makes it more about me)

Author: Alex

I am X3JA

3 thoughts on “Monopolies”

  1. You’re absolutely right, and it’s something they’ve even admitted in the past – though generally in the context of poorer countries. Essentially, the idea is that if people in (say) China steal copies of Windows now, then as the country becomes more prosperous and people can afford to buy Windows, they’ll be sufficiently addicted / tied-in / whatever that they will do. It’s a sort of “the first fix is free” arrangement.

    Only two industries call their customers “users” – the other is hard drugs šŸ˜‰

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