Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Ye Maties!

I just read the BSA report on The Second Annual BSA and IDC Global Software Piracy Study and am enthralled with with their methodologies.

Here's how the maths work out:

# Software Units Installed = Hardware Units * Software Load
# Software Units Sold = Software Market Revenue % Average System Value

Work out the difference, and you will find their metric of Software Units PIRATED.

Reading the explanations, Hardware Units and Software Market Revenue figures can be easily and accurately derived from research and their member sales figures. However there is a huge question mark on Software Load and Average System Value. Those figures are fudgy to say the least and may not be representative of what piracy may be.

Software Load they say is:
"... the number of software units installed and/or pre-installed (OEM) on PCs during the year. To obtain the number of software units for each type of hardware platform, in 2003, we surveyed consumers and businesses in 15 countries: Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Kuwait, Malaysia, Mexico, Romania, Spain, Taiwan and the United States. The results of these surveys were used to populate IDC’s input models for the other countries. For 2004, IDC updated its models based on local country research and interviews with users and the channels."

Is it strange that they only had numbers for 15 countries? why not all 65? More importantly, bar USA, why are they all developing (read: "high piracy rate") countries? Is it because where countries where piracy is more rampant, they tend to 'load-up' their computers more, thus inflating the #SW Units Installed?

What may be interesting is that this calculation methodology does not reflect how the BSA would 'value' Free and Open Source Software (FOSS). Yes, they have a little note which says:
"Within the software load, IDC accounted for: - Software obtained for free as shareware or open source"
but what really does that mean? Did they reduce the load of that PC? I wouldnt think so as the usage of FOSS like OpenOffice is so low accounting for it would be too much of a problem.

However as FOSS gains popularity, these reports will reflect the uptake of FOSS as piracy rather than legitimate usage of software, as Loads will remain the same and yet Sales will decline! I guess this will just make the BSA's cause in the World that ever more important then ;-)

Got this link from On the problem of software piracy - brandnewmalaysian blog.

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