Nigeria losing USD22m to software piracy


Image: By BiztechAfrica
Nigeria losing USD22m to software piracy

Microsoft Corporation estimates that losses due to software piracy have now reached a whopping USD1.5 billion annually, with Nigeria alone losing USD225 million.

According to the findings of new research which examined the financial impact using illegal software has on the competitive landscape in developing economies with manufacturing companies in Brazil, Russia, India and China as case studies, it was discovered that firms that chose to use illegal software steal more than USD1.5 billion from their in-market competitors that choose to play fair by using genuine software. These revelations were made to commemorate Microsoft’s global Play Fair Day which spotlights the impact pirated software causes in local economies.

And in the latest piracy research for Nigeria, the value of PC software theft reached a new peak at USD225 million in 2010. Up to 82% of software deployed on PCs during the year was discovered to be pirated.

“The ability to insert more than USD1.5 billion per year into these economies should be reason enough to play fair, regardless of the other inherent dangers pirated software brings to a business. Pirated and counterfeit software is lining the pockets of dangerous criminals. What’s more, when companies use pirated software, it hinders job opportunities and stifles innovation. It is also just plain wrong,” said Dale Waterman, Microsoft’s Corporate Attorney for Anti-Piracy for the Middle East and Africa region.

Commenting on this findings, Seye Oloruntoba, Anti-Piracy Manager at Microsoft Nigeria, said software piracy is an unfair game that hurts the economy and give nothing in return to people who patronise them.

“Software piracy is unfair play that ultimately hurts us all. Economic growth in Nigeria is thwarted by piracy – pirated software doesn’t create jobs for students, developers, or IT professionals. This is one of the key reasons we take our responsibility to educate consumers about the risks – and support local enforcement efforts by authorities like the NCC – extremely seriously,” Oloruntoba said.

Nigeria is experiencing a rising number of what turns out to be ‘accidental pirates’ – people who unintentionally purchased counterfeit software from resellers they believe to be reliable and only later found out that they have been duped. In doing so, they expose themselves to a plethora of risks, which in the long-run can prove extremely costly for individuals, and often disastrous for businesses.

“I purchased a copy of Windows 7 Ultimate from what I thought was a reputable shop in Abuja, believing that I was buying a genuine version. When I installed the CD on my PC, I received an alert that the copy was in fact not genuine. I spent N45,000 only to receive a copy of software I’ll never be able to use. I was cheated,” explained Ismail Sayi Pella, a victim of software piracy in Abuja.

It is becoming increasingly difficult to differentiate between genuine and non-genuine software, unless consumers are discerning and know what to look out for. Microsoft is advising consumers to educate themselves around how to tell whether their software and hardware are genuine, and to visit Microsoft’s anti-counterfeiting site

“Every day we strive to compete in the global economy but when our competitors do not use legal software, it is very challenging. We take a lot of pride knowing that our decision to use legitimate software is not only helping to strengthen our business, but also helping us help other businesses grow,” said Nnamdi Ezeji of High Performance Distribution.

Last month, the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) raided the premises of Wisdom System Technologies Limited, a computer reseller located in Tinubu, Lagos Island following a consumer tip-off, an undercover test purchase and a subsequent petition to the local law enforcement authorities by Microsoft Corporation. The raid is the latest in a series of enforcement activities by the NCC in recent months, aimed at curbing unfair play in the country, and addressing the harmful impact to individuals as well as the Nigerian economy caused by pirating software.

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