The importance of piracy
Having recently purchased an old, secondhand, PC, I was shocked to discover that the copy of Windows that came with it, was in fact not genuine!
This is Asia and frankly we are generally more surprised when something is genuine than when it is fake. I read on James Seng's blog that in China it's all about relationship, logic and law. I think that applies in most asian countries, and in Thailand, if you have the right relationships, the law doesn't really come into play at all.
But MS need to be careful here. They have good relationships here in Asia. People like their software, generally, and hundreds of millions of people use it. I seriously doubt that MS got hundreds of millions of license fees, but the licences they do get are because of the ability of people to get their hands on cheap, pirated software.
If it becomes impossible, or even unpleasant, to use Windows in Asia at an affordable price (hint: current licensing cost equates to about 1 months wages for most people in Asia), unless the law is observed, then MS will lose a lot of relationships. That will damage them far more than a few pirated copies of their software.
What's the best way to improve Linux uptake in Asia? Help MS by reporting all vendors selling counterfeit Windows products...
It would be interesting to see what Microsoft did if there were a whole lot of prosecutions - "Microsoft isn't free, pay your dues...or switch to something cheaper!".
Or slightly less ethical, what if someone wrote a virus that shut down all unlicensed versions of Windows?
I think piracy is what the supermarkets term a loss-leader (though what is the cost of Windows?).
MS has not been stupid enough to shut down all counterfeit Windows installations (which would not be hard to do), so I'm presuming they are aware of the irony.