Software piracy costs $92bn – survey

9 July 2004 More than one third of software installed on PCs worldwide in 2003 was pirated – representing a loss of $29 billion to companies, according to a survey.


Conducted by IDC on behalf of the Business Software Alliance (BSA), the computer industry’s anti-piracy organisation, the survey suggested that of the $80 billion installed on PCs last year, only $51 billion was legally purchased – about 64%.

The study comprised 5,600 interviews across 15 countries, and represents the most comprehensive research of its kind to date. The survey investigated areas such as operating systems, office desktop software local market software and the acceleration of Internet based-piracy.

Eastern Europe was found to have the highest piracy rate, totalling 71%, or $7.5 billion. This was followed by Latin America (63%), the Middle East and Africa (56%), Asia-Pacific (53%), Western Europe (36%) and North America (22%).

Although North America showed the lowest piracy levels, it was hit the hardest financially, with suppliers losing an estimated $6.5 billion in revenues.

Among individual countries, emerging markets were shown to have the highest piracy rates. China and Vietnam topped the list with 92% each, followed by Ukraine (91%), Indonesia (88%), Russia (87%) and Zimbabwe (87%).

John Gantz, chief research officer at IDC, said: “If the piracy rate in emerging markets – where people are rapidly integrating computers into their lives – does not drop, the worldwide piracy rate will continue to increase.”

A similar survey conducted by BSA in 2002 suggested that 40% of software was pirated.

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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