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Cost of Global Piracy Reaches $53 Billion In 2008

Figures published by the Business Software Alliance show that 41 percent of all PC software applications installed in 2008 were pirated copies.

This represents a rise of 3 percent over data published back in 2007. Losses to software company reached an astounding $53 billion while although global software sales outgrew the rate of piracy by posting a healthy 14 percent growth to $88 billion.

Piracy is the costliest in the United States where around a fifth of the software park is pirated. Although this is the lowest worldwide, the fact that a significant proportion of the software revenues is generated there means that it is still a sore issue with $9.1 billion lost.

Asia as well is a particularly tricky situation, with more than 60 percent of installed software unlicensed and therefore pirated. Asia, according to BSA and IDC, accounted for more than $15 billion in terms of lost revenues.

The research also pointed out that another $150 billion to $200 billion in terms of value-added technology services have been wiped out as well as consultants and small firms are wiped out by piracy.

110 countries worldwide were included in the report with China having the highest piracy rate at 80 percent; piracy dropped in 57 countries but rose or stayed the same in 53 others.

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Our Comments

It is incredibly difficult to give a rough approximation of how much revenue has been lost to piracy as in the case of content piracy, there is a significant amount of guesstimate and exaggeration. The gradual move from installed applications to online software as a service as well as the fact that open source is becoming more prominent will also have an impact on the figures.

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Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.