Microsoft is aware that the majority of PC users run pirated versions of Windows, so why is it doing nothing?

by | Sep 30, 2023

According to a 2018 research, at least 91% of PC users in India are running a counterfeit version of Windows. In fact, even when purchasing a new computer or laptop that already has Windows installed, 80–85 percent of the time the consumer receives a pirated version of the software. The fascinating part about this is that Microsoft is well aware of both this fact and the statistics supporting it.

One may assume that firms like Microsoft would send such customers stop and desist emails or even have them prosecuted for piracy considering how strict and litigious most IT companies are about their products being used without a legal license. In reality, Microsoft has the power to immediately stop your computer or laptop from being used in a way that prevents it from starting up to the desktop.

But the reality is much different. Microsoft no longer gives a damn whether a PC user is running a cracked copy of Windows. How come, though?

As long as you choose the Windows operating system above any competing options, Microsoft is really counting on the fact that you use a copy of pirated Windows.

  • Though they may not have done it on purpose, Microsoft benefited greatly from OS piracy.
  • Easy Windows piracy stopped Linux or Mac from gaining significant traction (for a while).
  • Microsoft used piracy to acquire market share in a large portion of the developing globe in the 1990s and 2000s.
  • Because they supported more applications, Windows had an early advantage in the platform battles. Because there were more users, they had more software. Early on, piracy grew the user base.
  • Piracy was essentially inescapable in the 1990s because a far larger proportion of computer users were technically adept in the early days.

That is true as long as the user and the PC in issue are using the operating system exclusively for personal purposes. In fact, Bill Gates previously said in an interview that as long as people are stealing software and running pirated operating systems, we want them to steal ours. Bill Gates was the CEO, president, and chief software architect of Microsoft at the time.

The rationale for this assumption is that if Microsoft permits private individuals to use a pirated copy of Windows, it’s likely that both adults and children learning about computers will base their knowledge on a Windows system. A generation of computer users whose preferred operating system is Windows will emerge if they continue to turn a blind eye to educational institutions like schools utilising pirated Windows.

Even though there are a tonne of free, open source operating systems available, employers will now be required to supply their employees with computers that have Windows on them when such a person enters the job and needs to use a computer.

Microsoft actually treats Windows piracy extremely seriously, especially when it comes from a company or enterprise. When they discover that PCs utilised by the company run pirated Windows, they do send out notifications, even to non-profit organisations.

In this situation, the corporation or business is required to purchase a valid Windows licence, which Microsoft is more than willing to customise in terms of the services required as well as the cost for each computer on which their operating system is installed. Microsoft really generates the majority of its revenue from software sales here.