Nearly half (45%) of all Australians believe that it's okay, at least in some situations, to use pirated software for personal use, according to a study commissioned by Microsoft Australia(1).
"While the survey found that virtually every Australian (98%) considers it important to keep their computer safe from viruses and online threats, people are putting themselves at risk by using pirated software which has been shown to be 43 percent more vulnerable to viruses and spyware(2) ," says Steve Johns, Consumer Product Manager, Microsoft Office Business, Microsoft Australia.
With security top of mind for Australians, it is a worrying statistic that almost half (47%) of those surveyed wouldn't know how to check if their computer software was a genuine copy, thereby exposing themselves to the risk of security threats.
"Using genuine software and knowing how to check that you have authentic copies of computer programs is a fundamental way of protecting yourself and ensuring that your PC and personal information are secure," Johns continues.
Office Genuine Advantage notifications
From today, Australian Microsoft Office customers have a new tool to help ensure the safety of their computers and protect themselves from counterfeit software through Office Genuine Advantage (OGA) notifications. The voluntary update helps customers verify that they have genuine Office software to better enable them to avoid the pitfalls of non-genuine software.
Customers will be invited to install OGA notifications through Automatic Updates to confirm that they are running genuine Office. By confirming that their copy of Office is genuine customers can take advantage of the support, important updates and complimentary downloads and templates that come with using a genuine copy of Office.
If an Office application is found to be non-genuine, a pop-up dialog box will alert the user and provide options on how to acquire genuine Microsoft Office and secure their PC. OGA notifications will not affect the way Microsoft Office works on individual computers and the user can continue to use Office as before.
People who find they are the victim of counterfeit software can submit a report to Microsoft and may be eligible to receive a complimentary copy of Microsoft Office. For those customers who have failed Office validation and do not qualify for, or choose not to take advantage of, the complimentary offer, Microsoft will provide them with the option to purchase Office online or consumers may choose to purchase through their local Microsoft Office Reseller.
The OGA program has already been piloted in Turkey, Chile, Italy, Spain and China last year where it received a positive response. Most users chose to download OGA in order to avoid the risks associated with pirated software.
Genuine software helps local businesses
"Cracking down on counterfeit software is also about supporting local businesses. Independent research has shown that every dollar spent on genuine Microsoft products in Australia generates $11 for local partners(3)," says Johns.
By promoting the use of genuine Office, Microsoft is helping to create opportunities and level the competitive playing field for partners that distribute genuine Office.
"My business depends on providing customers with the secure and reliable software they expect - that's why we only sell genuine Office. OGA notifications help customers recognise the differences between genuine and non-genuine software, and that helps legitimate partners like me compete against the counterfeit products and grow my business," said Jason Puschmann, Managing Director, Computer Alliance, a Queensland-based reseller.
According to the Business Software Alliance, unlicensed and pirated software costs software vendors and national economies billions of dollars every year. An IDC Piracy Impact study estimated that Australia had a 28 percent software piracy rate in 2007, which cost the software industry $525.4 million(4)
Comments Clare Wharrier, Co-Chair of the Business Software Alliance: "Reducing software piracy in Australia by ten percentage points could generate an additional 3,900 jobs, $2.1 billion in economic growth and $485 million in tax revenues. Protecting Australian jobs and talent, and encouraging investment in the local industry is vital and can be achieved by raising awareness among the public and educating organisations on the importance and value of legal software," Wharrier concludes.
The OGA notifications program is part of Microsoft's larger Genuine Software Initiative aimed at helping protect Microsoft's customers and partners from counterfeiters through education, engineering and enforcement of policies and laws.
Find out more about Office Genuine Advantage
1 Survey conducted by Galaxy Research; January 2009.
2 Source: IDC white paper, "The Risks of Obtaining and Using Pirated Software," October 2006, sponsored by Microsoft.
3 Source: IDC Global Economic Impact Study October 2007, sponsored by Microsoft.
4 Source: Fifth Annual BSA and IDC Global Software Piracy Study 2007.
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