While previously Microsoft was quite aggressive in its anti-piracy campaigns, it seems that the tech giant has taken a soft approach towards piracy. Microsoft can still go after corporate users who use pirated software, but actions against individual users are largely unknown. Many users think that their pirated Windows or Office software is cleverly disguised as real. But the truth is that Microsoft may be well aware of this. It’s just that he may intentionally not take action against such pirated software.
With the value of pirated software running into the billions of dollars, we wonder why Microsoft doesn’t seem serious about fighting piracy. Well, there are several reasons for this, some of which are discussed below.
Threat of Linux Distributions and Open Source Desktop Software – Due to the high cost of Microsoft Windows and Office software, many users and organizations have switched to using the Linux operating system. Most of these Linux distros are completely free. The quality and functionality of open source desktop software has also improved dramatically over the years. The interface may not be as good as Windows Office, but the open source is quite close in terms of functionality. Microsoft believes that if it takes strong action against piracy, more users will start switching to Linux and open source software.
Growing Popularity of Chrome OS – There is a growing percentage of people who use computers for things like web browsing, accessing email, using word processing, etc. For those basic jobs that don’t require high computing power, Chromebooks are preferred. The main advantage is that Chromebooks are much cheaper than computers with the Windows operating system. This is because Chrome OS is open source and free. 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 a computing device, users can access and work on a wide variety of documents online. By doing so, users also have the ability to collaborate with other team members in real time. With free cloud-based online programs like Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides, reliance on expensive Microsoft Office has diminished.
Switch to account-based SaaS – Microsoft is moving its popular software suites such as Office to the SaaS licensing and delivery model. This will automatically reduce piracy for years to come. With SaaS, Microsoft doesn’t have to worry about distributing pirated copies on CDs, USB drives, etc., as it did before. As SaaS-based products will be tied to emails/phone numbers, it will become difficult to hack them.
Create a dependency on Windows – Microsoft decision makers are probably of the opinion that users of Windows and Office software, even pirated ones, will make them dependent on this software. When these people get jobs, organizations will need to provide them with licensed copies of Windows and Office. Thus, what was initially piracy will eventually become a source of revenue for Microsoft. This is another reason why Microsoft takes no action against individual users of pirated software.