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Indian companies against Microsoft’s anti-piracy drive

Software PiracyGujarat (INDIA) is the land of Mahatma Gandhi who took to Satyagraha, the non-violence movement, as a weapon against the British to demand India’s freedom. This land saw another movement on the 16th May, 2007, however a weird one at that – Anti-Piracy Antagonism Movement! The reseller community of Gujarat declared a one-day General Strike (notoriously known as Bandh in India) to protest against Microsoft for serving an anti-piracy notice to them.

Ok, here is the story. A Sleuth-Customer goes and asked the resellers for installation of Microsoft Windows. And when the pirated version of the OS was installed, a notice was served where the reseller had to pay a fine of Rs. 2 Lakh (~ $5,000). The notice also states that if the reseller continues to sell/install pirated softwares, they would have to pay a fine of over Rs. 16 Lakh (~ $40,000).

The resellers under the umbrella of South Gujarat Information Technologists Association (SITA) are furious that “Microsoft is targeting only resellers and not undertaking any activity to educate the end-user about the advantages of buying genuine copies of the software. People here are hardly aware about the usefulness of buying licensed copies of software. They assume that the PCs come bundled with the software.”

SITA believe it is just a service that they are rendering to the customer. “The customer assumes that the dealer would install the OS when s/he comes to install the machine. Since we are not charging anything extra for installing the software, it means that we are actually not trading in pirated software, for us this is just a Good-Will that we are offering to our customers. Besides the pricing of their operating systems is way too high for the Indian markets,” remarks a reseller.

SITA have boycotted some Microsoft training program. They’re planning to stop all purchase of Microsoft products for this quarter. The protests in the Gujarat market are expected to have repercussions in the Mumbai market as well. Partners dealing in Microsoft products believe that sales are likely to be hit if the boycott continues especially in this quarter.

Disclaimer:
I personally use an Apple Mac, am totally against Piracy. I buy music CDs, Movie DVDs and I don’t pirate them. On the Microsoft/Windows front, me, my team and our company use only IBM hardwares (they have the best support in India specially Mumbai) which comes with OEM version of Microsoft Windows Operating System. Everything else like Development Tools, IDEs are mostly Open Source or Free.


UPDATES

2007 20th May: This article got dugg to the front page of Digg around 10:00 am Indian Standard Time.

2007 22nd May: Ravi Venkatesan, Chairman of Microsoft India, says Piracy is very bad in India. Listen to the podcast interview by Kamla Bhatt to find out what Ravi has to say about Microsoft in India.

2007 22nd May: Jerry Kirkpatrick details The Market Function of Piracy. Knock-offs are pirated products. Because they are usually cheaper than the original, knock-offs tend to appeal to a more price-conscious segment of the market; that is, the buyers of pirated products are probably not legitimate prospects for the innovative new product, either because they cannot afford, or do not want to pay, the higher price. Message to the innovative marketer? Either drop the price of the new product or produce a cheaper version or be the first to exploit a new technology, something the movie and recording industries chose not to do.

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