Revulytics Blog

Microsoft's Plans to Leverage Software Piracy Channels

March 4, 2009


There's interesting news in the blogosphere on Microsoft's plans to leverage software piracy channels to its advantage. Mary Jo Foley has a great post on ZDNet about Microsoft's plans to make part of Office 14 ad-supported. She notes (my emphasis added) that:

During presentations over the past couple of weeks, the idea that pirated Microsoft software is a bigger threat to Microsoft than offerings from its competitors has been a recurrent one.

CEO Steve Ballmer told Wall Street analysts in late February that pirated versions of Office were taking far more of a bite out of Office than Google Apps, Open Office or any of the other Office competitors on the market.

David Worthington is also writing about this on Technologizer (again, my emphasis):

After countless attempts at suffocating software piracy, Microsoft has accepted it as an inevitability–one that it can profit from. The company intends to deliver an ad-supported edition of Office 14 in an attempt to draw illicit users into its revenue steams, Silicon Alley Insider is reporting.

That is not to say that Microsoft has abandoned the fight–it’s just thinking outside of the box.Today, at the Morgan Stanley Technology conference, Microsoft Business Division president Stephen Elop told attendees that an ad-supported version of Office could provide Microsoft with an eventual upsell opportunity with pirate “customers.”

Think about all the resources and effort Microsoft has put into combating software piracy - Windows Genuine Advantage, blacking out desktops of unlicensed users, and lobbying governments around the world for anti-piracy legislation to name just a few. No matter what you think about the wisdom of putting ads in Office, it is interesting to see Microsoft accepting the inevitability of piracy and leveraging the piracy channels to reach these "customers."

This has been our approach with CodeArmor Intelligence - to enable software vendors without Microsoft's resources to leverage software piracy channels to identify the businesses that are actually using their software without paying for it. These businesses are indeed "customers" and represent an untapped market worth pursuing. The piracy channels are a direct pipeline to this market - one that Microsoft has recognized and plans to leverage.

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Michael Goff

Post written by Michael Goff

Marketing Director at Revulytics
Michael is Marketing Director at Revulytics where he is responsible for corporate marketing, content, and social media. He has helped to educate the industry on the benefits of software usage analytics for compliance and product management through the company's blog and contributed articles in trade publications. Michael was previously a marketing programs manager at The MathWorks and principal at Goff Communications. Michael earned a J.D. from Boston University School of Law and a B.A. from Colgate University.