Microsoft announces anti-piracy program

According to Michelle Street, Microsoft's local anti-piracy marketing manager, the software giant will reward Australian businesses with five or more registered software licences with discounts on further Microsoft products of up to 25 per cent.

Customers are encouraged to register their licence identification with six of Microsoft's 400 local MCSP (Microsoft Certified Solutions Providers)-accredited resellers, who will provide discounts and anti-piracy education in return, she said.

Street would not speculate on damages caused to Microsoft's revenues by unlicensed software. However, she cited statistics given by the Business Software Association of Australia (BSAA), which revealed that one-third of all software installed in Australia was unlicensed.

In fact, PricewaterhouseCoopers recently estimated software piracy costs the Australian economy $1 billion per year.

Street said the software giant will target Australian businesses of between 40 and 500 PC users for the program. She said that as companies grow larger, IT managers typically "lose track" of their various software licensing arrangements. "As your company grows, the risks of not being compliant increase."

The Compliance for Business program, which launches late next week, was adapted from an existing program that Microsoft already runs in the US, she said.

Microsoft recently squeezed $50,000 out of four Australian resellers for selling unlicensed and fake Windows and Office programs.

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