Microsoft is banging the drum for its anti-piracy message, claiming the trade in dodgy software is costing the US 32,000 jobs and billions of dollars in income.
The scheme takes a snapshot of what Microsoft is doing every day to counter trade in illegal copies of its software around the world. These range from civil lawsuits in the US against 20 resellers to criminal cases in China which have put two people in prison for selling unlicensed software.
In total Microsoft has taken action in 49 countries in the last month. Chinese police have raided 25 resellers and 25 vendors, while in Egypt action has been taken against street vendors and stores. In India the company has launched a channel education programme, as well as taking criminal and civil legal action against resellers suspected of copying its products.
In Italy Microsoft is asking 1,000 of its staff to become informal anti-piracy advocates to increase awareness amongst their friends, relatives and social networks.
Piracy rates for Windows XP are much higher than for Vista, which Microsoft credits to Vista's anti-piracy technology rather than its popularity. But David Finn, Microsoft's associate general for anti-piracy, said he expected the trade in copies of XP to increase when the company stops selling legit copies of it next year, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
Rob McKenna, Washington State Attorney General, said the trade in counterfeit software was "killing American jobs and suffocating competition".
He claimed a third of all installed software was pirated and that a ten per cent reduction in the trade over four years would "create $41bn in economic growth and 32,000 US jobs". McKenna said buying fake software was not like buying a fake scarf or handbag because you could not know what damage it could do to your computer.
The software giant claims that in 2007 "the global economic loss was estimated at nearly $50bn". This figure comes from the BSA.
The press release is available here. ®