Journal: News & Comment

Monday, September 30, 2002
# 11:04:00 PM:

Microsoft, pirate's friend

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Six months ago I published an essay here about companies that make enemies of their customers, in which I wrote:

Some theorize, for instance, that Microsoft gained from all the unlicensed copies of Office that floated around and helped it become the standard at the expense of WordPerfect and others. Only once those competitors had been effectively eliminated did Microsoft start trying to prevent copying more actively.

Now it appears that, in markets where they do not yet dominate, Microsoft may again let unlicensed copying go on for the same reason, because, according to one researcher: developing markets, companies stand to make more money if they view each new illegal user as one more mouthpiece for the software and one less customer for the competition.

Or, as The Register put it: "'Steal all the software you want, so long as it's ours."


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