MANILA, PHILIPPINES, 11 FEBRUARY 2010 Even in Singapore where software piracy rate is one of the lowest in the world, Microsoft is vigilant in protecting its intellectual property rights.
The software giant on Wednesday said it has forged a partnership with one of Singapore's largest IT malls, Sim Lim Square, to educate consumers on the benefits of acquiring licensed software and to protect them against unscrupulous retailers.
Microsoft Singapore noted that with a piracy rate of 36 per cent, high-end software piracy is still happening at Sim Lim Square, which is a favourite tourist destination for IT and electronics equipment, devices and supplies.
The game has changed and we're seeing a worldwide increase in the availability of high end' counterfeit software that looks almost like genuine software and the availability of computers pre-installed with unlicensed software. These forms of piracy are less obvious than cheap copies and are harder to spot, explained Joe Poon, OEM director, Microsoft Singapore.
Two local retailers were recently caught selling fake Microsoft software pre-loaded on PCs. This kind of fake software even has activation keys to further fool customers into thinking they have real software. The best way to fight this is by telling customers what to look for when buying and getting retailers to realise the disadvantages of selling fake software.
A recent study by the Business Software Alliance and IDC reported that the 36 per cent piracy rate in Singapore in 2008 has decreased by one point from the year before. However, dollar losses due to piracy have increased, rising to US$163 million in 2008 compared to losses of US$159 million in 2007.
Sim Lim Square management said it has already removed the obvious violators from the mall. However, there are new tactics being employed.
The partnership is a continuation of ongoing programmes of the Microsoft and Sim Lim Square.
Sim Lim Square has a STARetailer programme that identifies trustworthy retailers with a STARetailer seal. In advertising and marketing campaigns, consumers are urged to partronise STARetailer.
Under the partnership with Microsoft, Sim Lim Square retailers who will be found selling pirated Microsoft software will be removed from the STARetailer list, and will also be excluded from advertising and promotional efforts.
Our STARetailer Programme ensures customers get the best shopping experience, so it made a lot of sense to extend this programme to cover software piracy, said Chan Kok Hong, managing director, CKH Strata Management, the managing agents for Sim Lim Square.
Prominent displays and leaflets educating consumers on how to identify genuine Microsoft products will also be found all over the mall.
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