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Windows 8 Promo Price Can Act as Anti-Piracy Tool in India

Sudha Nagaraj Bharadwaj, Journalist | 2/11/2013 | 39 comments

Sudha Nagaraj Bharadwaj
Microsoft might be counting on you to consider a heavily discounted version of Windows 8 to be superior to a free, pirated version of Windows 7. Whether or not people genuinely want an upgrade, the chance to convert has been a temptation among students and techies.

Days after the October 2012 launch of Windows 8 in India, there was excitement online as students and IT professionals chanced upon pirated versions of Windows 8 Pro. To this day, it is possible to download Windows 8 torrents from various sites, but Microsoft seems to be banking on the honest side of people to turn to a legitimate download. So much so that it turned a blind eye to users of pirated versions of Windows XP and Windows 7 who chose to upgrade to Windows 8 online.

At the time of the launch, Microsoft invited consumers running PCs with Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7 to download Windows 8 Pro for an estimated retail price of Rs. 1,999 (opposed to Rs 11,999) -- this offer will expire tomorrow, January 31, 2013. Users with Windows 7 PCs purchased between June 2, 2012 and January 31, 2013 were invited to download Windows 8 Pro for an estimated retail price of Rs. 699 through an official Windows Upgrade Offer. The registration for the upgrade can be done up to the end of February. In contrast, an upgrade DVD is priced at Rs 3,449.

While the process that followed should have weeded out users of pirated Windows OS users, it did not do so initially. Many users were able to get Windows 8 Pro at a discounted price without having to prove they owned a licensed copy of Windows 7. There was no prompt asking for the key. The form that needs to be filled out only asks for the PC brand and model and date of purchase which many users have faked to successfully obtain a promo code.

Just when that glitch was set right, there surfaced reports of another loophole in the limited time offer for a free Windows 8 Media Center Pack product key. Users who were trying out the 180-day free trial of Windows 8 for enterprises through the key management service got a non-trial version of Windows 8 installed for free when they made a request for the free Media Center Pack.

Debate raged over whether the incidents were genuine mistakes or deliberate oversight given that 63 percent of the software in use in India is pirated. While Microsoft has refrained from commenting openly on the issue of piracy, late-comers who missed cashing in on the offers were advised by Microsoft to hold on for more promotions. Could Microsoft be trying to convert pirate users?

The move -- even if unwitting -- will help to target individual users of pirated Windows OS who may have veered towards open-source had the software leader cracked the whip. With the price of software being prohibitive for many, piracy is rampant in India. The Business Software Alliance (BSA) in partnership with software companies conducts raids mostly on enterprises, cracking down on use of pirated software for commercial purposes. According to the 2011 Global Software Piracy Study by BSA, 20 percent of respondents in India admitted to acquiring software illegally "all of the time," "most of the time," or "occasionally," while 23 percent said they do it "rarely." Meaning, more than six out of 10 software installed were unlicensed. Business decision makers in SMBs and enterprises have both admitted to buying pirated software as well as running single licensed software on multiple machines.

Consumers have long been demanding an "India price" (discount) to use licensed software. A softer pricing policy may be the only weapon that the software company can deploy to tap the market potential in the long term.

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PositivelyKeith   Windows 8 Promo Price Can Act as Anti-Piracy Tool in India   3/29/2013 4:45:17 AM
Re: Anti-piracy
@michaelsumastre yes, I guess it is wherever you set your standards and needs.

We are increasingly living in a disposable society, and we tend not to expect things to last too long anyway.  There is always a newer better version coming along soon.

So we don't worry so much if we buy something cheap that does not last long.

I bought some cheap shoes recently. They look good, they are comfortable, and they'll only last 4/6 months.  It would cost me three times what I paid to get them resoled! When I bought them I bought three pairs the same - that was less than I'd have paid for a decent pair and they'll last me about 18 months!!
michaelsumastre   Windows 8 Promo Price Can Act as Anti-Piracy Tool in India   3/27/2013 9:40:35 AM
Re: Anti-piracy
PositivelyKeith, I would have to agree with you to some extent. Lately, I've been seeing really good imitations, and I know of one who's running a pirated version of XP for years now. And I know hundreds are living in pirated goods. You're right, though. You wouldn't mind at all if a software stops running or a bag loses its handle in less than month because you paid very cheaply for these things. 
PositivelyKeith   Windows 8 Promo Price Can Act as Anti-Piracy Tool in India   2/28/2013 8:00:23 PM
Re: Anti-piracy
Surely this has always been the case whether you are talking software, videos, watches, handbags............

You know full well that the pirated / fake version of whatever you have got for free or peanuts is just not going to be quite as good as the 'real' thing.  But you paid so little for it that it does not matter.

The old pirated videos were always a bit rough around the edges - but hey, you were getting to watch something before it was available on the high street!!
Trek   Windows 8 Promo Price Can Act as Anti-Piracy Tool in India   2/28/2013 5:18:13 PM
Re: Anti-piracy
In a recent article "Microsoft girds for Windows 8 piracy in China - The Business Journals "

"In recent months the company (Microsoft)  bought up 169 branded personal computers loaded with pirated versions of Windows in China to study the varieties of pernicious software on the machines and publicize the results.

Unsurprisingly, the company found 91% of the computers contained malware or other security vulnerabilities and 72% had altered browser settings that would guide users to fraudulent sites that extract personal and financial information from users"

And we thought we had problems here in the U.S.   I wonder if India has similiar numbers. 
Toby   Windows 8 Promo Price Can Act as Anti-Piracy Tool in India   2/28/2013 4:55:38 AM
Re: Anti-piracy
@trek: Well don't get me started on Disney and their dastardly deeds in trying to copyright the collective cultural heirtage of the western world. We had Peter Pan, Alice and Tarzan long before Disney got their hands on them. Now they are copyrighted..? Give me a break.
michaelsumastre   Windows 8 Promo Price Can Act as Anti-Piracy Tool in India   2/27/2013 10:58:07 AM
Re: Anti-piracy
Sohaibmasood, I think the piracy idea is already ingrained in our culture, and it doesn't matter whether you're living in a first-world or a third-world country. There will always be people looking for the pirated versions for a number of reasons, such as the price (pirated versions will always be sold cheap), and even for the thrill of getting one. You know, the "catch me if you can" thing. We've also heard a couple of stories about regular people about getting arrested or even sentenced for piracy, but no one has served as the poster boy for the cause. 
michaelsumastre   Windows 8 Promo Price Can Act as Anti-Piracy Tool in India   2/27/2013 10:54:38 AM
Windows 8 Promo Price Can Act as Anti-Piracy Tool in India Subject of Your Post
I'll be very honest. I had downloaded certain desktop programs before and used some pirated CDs, and I was already making good money from my work. Of course, I suffered the consequences when, for some reason, my OS went berserk, and I could not get any technical support. But that's beside the point. What I'm trying to say is, if a person wants to use pirated CDs or DVDs, nothing will ever stop him, not even a good deal like the one offered by Windows. Even if the price difference is not that large, cheaper will always be a good thing to them. 
SaneIT   Windows 8 Promo Price Can Act as Anti-Piracy Tool in India   2/20/2013 8:10:23 AM
Re: Anti-piracy
I hear that all the time and I even joked with my MS reps about how complex this all gets when you consider different versions of Office, Windows, and back end services comparing it to the IRS.  He laughed, agreed and said at least the audit process is less painful
SaneIT   Windows 8 Promo Price Can Act as Anti-Piracy Tool in India   2/20/2013 7:53:33 AM
Re: Anti-piracy
That's pretty much what I was getting at.  In the end the software company is going to make more money because they are going to get paying customers where the limiting factor was price.  People will still pirate software no matter the price but at least the software company is making something from the copies that it sells. 
Trek   Windows 8 Promo Price Can Act as Anti-Piracy Tool in India   2/19/2013 9:39:58 PM
Re: Anti-piracy
@ Toby,  well it takes a lot of money and time to defend one's copyrights.  And that time and money can put a smaller guy out of business unless a lawyer is willing to do it pro bono or only collect a fee if they win. 

One thing people don't realize about copy right protection is that companies must sue to protect them.  There was a case where Disney threatened to sue a day care center for a having a five foot high Disney characters painted on the outside walls.  Infringements must be fought to keep trademark intact.  If they allow it, then anyone can infringe and they would lose any ability to license out their characters. 

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