More than one in ten of Blighty's small biz owners admit to being shameless software pirates, the Business Software Alliance reckons.
The industry organ arrived at this stat by extrapolating research from Vanson Bourne covering just 250 SMEs, finding that 12 per cent admitted to side-stepping licensing rules.
It found that 18 per cent admitted doing this in the past.
But these stats were not included the "shock and awe" type statement issued by the BSA earlier today, a spokeswoman told us.
The number the software enforcement agency wanted to promote was that 30 per cent confessed to deliberately buying the wrong licence at some point in time to save money. We're not sure how that figure was arrived at (12 + 18, perhaps? -Ed).
The same percentage had knowingly under licensed when handing PCs to new employees, it appears.
The study also found 49 per cent of businesses that merged with another failed to carry out a software audit, and some 37 per cent admitted to inheriting unlicensed software as a result of this.
Michala Wardell, UK committee chair at the BSA - who doubles up as anti-piracy manager at Microsoft - branded the findings "shocking", though it should be noted that software piracy is on a downward trend.
"[It is] simply bewildering that many of these businesses don't change their software management practice until they face a legal challenge," she said in a tinned statement.
"Given the costs involved, you'd think the job of sorting out software licences would be a priority from the word 'go'," she fulminated.
The modus operandi of the BSA has fallen under the spotlight in the past, with its heavy handed approach criticised and processes for identifying alleged pirates questioned. ®