You went out shopping and you’re the proud owner of a shiny new laptop that comes with all the bells and whistles – built-in web camera, fingerprint reader, 320 gigabytes of hard disk space and the guy who sold it to you was so nice he even threw in a Microsoft Office suite free of charge! And to sweeten the deal he loaded it onto the machine so now it’s ready to use – what a fabulous deal!
Just a few quick questions:
– Did the nice guy give you the original media (i.e. the CD, DVD or recovery disc) associated with the software?
– Did you receive all the original supporting documentation for the software, including user manuals and an invoice?
– Does the laptop have the original Certificate of Authenticity label placed on the bottom of the machine for the Microsoft® Windows software pre-loaded on the hard drive?
– If you purchased Microsoft Office did you receive a complete software package, which also includes a hologram CD and a Certificate of Authenticity label?
– Is the nice man prepared to offer after-sales service and support for your software?
If your answer to any of these questions is ‘NO’ then you have cause to be concerned that your software is illegal or pirated.
What does this mean?
In all seriousness, it means that the software that you currently have on your machine is full-function software not licensed for use on your laptop and could expose YOU to certain legal and security risks.
Software piracy is a big problem on the continent. Over 80% of the software being used in Kenya is pirated, which is why software companies such as Microsoft work closely with the relevant authorities to help bring these software pirates to book.
Resellers that sell pirated software are using crime to gain a competitive advantage over their rivals based purely on price. Pirated software has no benefits in the long-term because of a lack of legitimate support and backup and by using this software, you open yourself up to the potential of viruses being loaded onto your machine – viruses that could wipe out the data on your entire laptop, give hackers remote access to all your personal and sensitive information amongst other costly risks.
If you suspect a computer reseller of dealing in pirated software, please contact Microsoft at [email protected] with the full details of the reseller.
Microsoft will use this information to investigate and take action against the reseller.
Should you be unsure whether the software you have purchased is pirated or not, please go to http://www.microsoft.com/howtotell/ for further information.
(Andrew Waititu is the License & Compliance Manager for Microsoft in East & Southern Africa.)