| Zee Yusri |
MICROSOFT Brunei launched an anti-piracy campaign yesterday at the Radisson Hotel, which intends to reduce illicit distributions of Microsoft® Office software and Microsoft Windows®.
The event also saw awareness briefings for local resellers and retailers on the threats of malware and cybersecurity due to pirated software.
The programme is part of the constant effort to train both retailers and consumers about the risks associated with pirated software as well as the use of mature technology.
Microsoft shared that in 2013, a survey conducted by Global Software Survey piloted by International Data Corporation (IDC) dated May 2014 showed that the piracy rate in Brunei was at 66 per cent. Microsoft has recognised that there has been one point drop since the last survey, and applauded the countless agencies who made efforts to boost public awareness.
Nevertheless, it was mentioned that the piracy rate in Brunei is still very high, influencing potential ICT businesses, and the economy on the whole.
The key goal of the anti-piracy drive is to restrict illicit hard disk packing of software and illegal Microsoft Office suites in Brunei’s retailers through training and one-on-one consultations with retailers.
“This form of piracy competes directly with legitimate software retailers,” said Haniza Zakariya, Country Manager at Microsoft Brunei. She further said their goal is to level the playing field by reducing piracy and supporting the efforts of honest retailers who distribute genuine Microsoft products.
Microsoft is also requesting the Brunei government to plan more disciplinary copyright laws to upkeep the future knowledge market, aligned with the nation’s target for more local IP formation.
“Software piracy is unfair, and ultimately hurts us all. Economic growth in Brunei is thwarted by piracy – pirated software doesn’t create jobs for students, developers, or Information Technology professionals,” said Haniza.
Microsoft’s inspection of computer resellers suspected of software piracy in Brunei was based on tips attained from diverse sources, which involved a local survey through a ‘mystery shopper’ in September this year.
The survey revealed that 27 local ICT retail vendors, including their branches, are still proffering components of piracy, either directly or when driven, by selling and installing pirated software.
Microsoft APAC Corporate Attorney, Jonathan Selvasegaram, who presented on cyber security, said what is more critical is that the US Federal Bureau of Investigation warns of the threat of malware-induced cyber-attacks.
“Criminal syndicates that are often behind the sale of pirated software, use infected computers to launch attacks against entire networks. These spread through shared connections to homes, business, or even government networks – crippling economies and endangering intellectual property,” he said.
During the event, Microsoft also rewarded two local vendors who have proved ‘Best Genuine Behaviour and Practice’ by exhibiting, promoting and selling genuine copies of the Microsoft operating system and Microsoft Office at their shops.
Concepts Commercial Suppliers (Concepts Computer) and Elite Computer Systems Sdn Bhd was named as the two retailers and were appointed as 2014/2015 Genuine Microsoft Resellers.
The next phase of the anti-piracy campaign is via real buys of several units of computers and software from vendors that botched the primary inspections, followed by police reports if evidence is found of pirated software being offered publicly.