Microsoft’s Piracy Fight Takes a New Road

Microsoft has spent enough time going after software counterfeiters in
court, so the company is taking a more proactive stance.

The software giant, whose products are among the most pirated in the world,
created the Genuine Software Initiative (GSI) to protect its consumers and resellers from bogus

Microsoft said in a statement that GSI will include investments in
education, engineering and enforcement, but was not specific about how much
money it will pump into these areas to fight pirates.

The company has a section on its Web
site devoted to helping users identify counterfeit software. The vendor also
pledged to add anti-counterfeiting features to its software.

While the Web is used properly for e-commerce, it has also served as a venue
for perpetrators to sell their illegal software.

But more than stealing from the programmers who wrote the software and the
company selling it, counterfeit software has been known to carry with it risks:
spyware, viruses or incomplete code is common among counterfeit software
sold over the Internet.

Perps have also fleeced customers by bilking their credit cards and failing
to give them software over the Web.

The Business Software Alliance (BSA), which tracks and reports software
piracy settlements, estimates that 35 percent of all software used worldwide
is counterfeit.

Based on research from IDC, the BSA said
that cutting the current global piracy rate by 10 percentage points over
four years could globally create 2.4 million new jobs, $400 billion in
economic growth and $67 billion in new tax revenues.

“By being aware and reporting counterfeit software, consumers can help
protect themselves and other consumers, which is good for them, good for
software resellers and good for the software industry,” said Cori Hartje,
director of License Compliance at Microsoft.

In related Microsoft news today, the company has tabbed Bill Laing general
manager of the Windows Server Division. Laing succeeds Bob Muglia who was
promoted to senior vice president for Microsoft’s server and tools business.

The new appointment is part of the realignment Microsoft kicked off last

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