Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Microsoft reduces Office price to combat Kenyan piracy

Microsoft East Africa announced a 40 percent reduction in cost of its home and student office suite amid complaints of rampant software piracy in the Kenya. The price is only applicable to Africa and other emerging markets, according the article. The article also explains that last year, officials from the Kenya Copyright Board and Microsoft raided cyber cafés in Nairobi and other rural areas, demanding payment of license fees to avoid prosecution for using pirated software, which pushed many cafés out of business. The actions of Microsoft are no doubt borne out of frustration, but also the realisation that as Africa's demand for software technology grows they need to adapt to secure long term brand strength for their legitimate goods. Changing a culture of piracy is an uphill struggle. On the other hand the cost of Microsoft's software can be a major barrier to development in African countries as illustrated by the demise of the cyber cafés.

2 comments:

goldenrail said...

While I commend Microsoft for adjusting their prices, I think there might be a better solution to fighting software piracy in places like Kenya. (Though maybe not "better" for Microsoft.)

There are very viable, and free, alternatives to much of Microsoft's software, particularly Office. Open Office and Star Office provide full office suites, compatible with Microsoft files.

Introducing cyber cafe owners, and other heavy users of software to these open source products would give them a legal source of good software without breaking the bank or putting them out of business.

Asiimwe Paul said...

Goldenrail, i couldn't agree more with you in terms of the alternatives. The problem is that people take long to change their business culture and this is more so in Africa. I see no problem in Microsoft nudging users gently in the direction of cheaper software alternatives that may in some cases offer a more stable computing environment.

Paul