If You're Going To Steal Software, Steal From Us: Microsoft Exec

From The article:

If you’re going to be a software counterfeiter, then please copy and illegally use Microsoft products.

The above plea isn’t from a posting on a hacker forum. Rather, it’s how Microsoft business group president Jeff Raikes feels about software counterfeiters. “If they’re going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else,” Raikes said.

But Raikes, speaking last week at the Morgan Stanley Technology conference in San Francisco, said a certain amount of software piracy actually helps Microsoft because it can lead to purchases by individuals who otherwise might never have been exposed to the company’s products.

“We understand that in the long run the fundamental asset is the installed base of people who are using our products,” Raikes said. “What you hope to do over time is convert them to licensing the software.”

That sounds suspiciously like the business model of many Open Source companies, doesn’t it? It’s just that we don’t call it piracy. Companies like MySQL thrive on having absolutely massive install bases. They have these millions of installs precisely because of the gratis and libre nature of their product. It’s then their responsibility to offer enough value to incent some amount of those downloaders to purchase products or services from the company. For some companies it’s support, for others it’s certification and official binaries. It could also be the ability to use the product in a commercial environment, extra features or myriad other things. The point is, there’s additional value for the consumer. The funny thing is, in its early days (say <= Windows 3.1) Microsoft seemed to almost embrace this. Seems things may have come full circle.


One Response to If You're Going To Steal Software, Steal From Us: Microsoft Exec

  1. justcallmejim says:

    “What you hope to do over time is convert them to licensing the software.”

    But even if Microsoft doesn’t convert them to licensed customers, Microsoft still benefits from the piracy. If I go out and steal a copy of MS Office, chances are I won’t be using another office suite such as OpenOffice. The result is that OpenOffice has a smaller user base, which to a large extent discredits OpenOffice which is definitely something Microsoft would be interested in doing.

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