Why Microsoft No Longer Serious About Fighting Piracy?

While earlier Microsoft used to be quite aggressive in its anti-piracy campaigns, it seems like the tech giant has adopted a soft approach towards piracy now. Microsoft may still go after enterprise users that use pirated software, but action against individual users is largely unheard of. Many users think that their pirated Windows or Office software is smartly disguised as real. But the truth is that Microsoft may be well aware of it. It’s just that it may be intentionally not taking action against such pirated software.

As the value of pirated software runs into billions of dollars, it makes us wonder why Microsoft doesn’t seem serious about fighting piracy. Well, there are several reasons for that, some of which are described below.

Threat from Linux distros and Open-Source office software – Due to high cost of Microsoft Windows and Office software, many users and organizations have switched to using Linux OS. Most of these Linux distros are completely free to use. Quality and functionality of open sources office software has also improved majorly over the years. The interface may still not be as good as Windows Office, but open source is quite close in terms of functionality. Microsoft feels that if it takes strong action against piracy, more users will start switching to Linux and open-source software.

Increasing popularity of Chrome OS – There’s an increasing percentage of people who use computers for things like web browsing, accessing email, using word processing, etc. For such basis jobs that don’t require high computing power, Chromebooks are being preferred. The primary advantage is that Chromebooks are much cheaper, as compared to computers that have Windows OS. That’s because Chrome OS is open source and free to use. Taking strict action against pirated Windows will force more people to switch to Chrome OS.

Rise of cloud services – To work, people no longer need tons of physical storage. With a basic internet connection and computing device, users can access and work on a wide variety of documents online. When doing so, users also have the option to collaborate with other team members in real time. With free online cloud-based programs such as Google Docs, Sheets and Slides, reliance on costly Microsoft Office has reduced.

Switch to account-based SaaS – Microsoft is moving its popular software suites such as Office to SaaS licensing and delivery model. This will automatically reduce piracy in coming years. With SaaS, Microsoft has little to worry about pirated copies being distributed on CDs, pen drives, etc., as was the case earlier. As SaaS based products will be linked to email / phone numbers, it will become difficult to pirate.

Creating dependency on Windows – Decision makers at Microsoft are probably of the opinion that people using Windows and Office software, even when pirated, will make them dependent on such software. When these people get jobs, organizations will have to provide them with licensed copies of Windows and Office. So, what was piracy initially will eventually become a revenue stream for Microsoft. This is another reason why Microsoft does not take action against individual users with pirated software.

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