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Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Amnesty for pirates?

Software piracy is considered a major problem by the Business Software Alliance and most U.S. software producers. So, what to do with those who have stolen software but might also be vulnerable to internet (I am on board with the "movement" to 'de-capitalize' the word) worms and viruses? Microsoft and other companies face a dilemma one that is perhaps mixed between morals and profits. In the end, it seems that MS has decided to let pirates get access to the next round of security updates for Windows XP.

Barry Goffe, an MS executive, had the following to say:
"It was a tough choice, but we finally decided that even if someone has pirated copy of Windows, it is more important to keep him safe than it is to be concerned about the revenue issue," he added.

He admitted, however, that it is more than altruism that helped Microsoft come to this decision.

"Having these unsecured users means bigger worm and virus outbreaks - which also impacts the Internet and consequently, our legitimate users as well."
So, positive network externalities are a reason for pirating software but negative network externalities are a reason for helping the pirates. Interesting...

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