Redmond (WA) – Microsoft and many customers and partners have assisted law enforcement agencies in stopping a global software piracy syndicate. Worth an estimated $2 billion dollars, these high quality, illegal software programs have found their way into 27 countries on five continents. The FBI and China’s Public Security Bureau (PSB) worked jointly to conduct the raids. They’ve made several arrests over the past two weeks.
The software involved was Windows XP, Server and Vista, as well as Office 2003 and 2007. The illegal software has been found in at least eight languages : Croation, Dutch, English, German, Italian, Korean, Simplified Chinese and Spanish. More than 55,000 “sophisticated-quality” copies of counterfeit software were traced back to a southern China crime syndicate. This represents only an estimated 1% of the total number of illegal copies the syndicate manufactured.
Software piracy costs the software industry an estimated $40 billion per year. The piracy rate was an estimated 35% in 2006. Nearly one million units of counterfeit Microsoft software were seized worldwide in the past 18 months alone. Microsoft began a long-term anti-piracy webpage at http://www.microsoft.com/piracy/. In 2005 Microsoft also began requiring copies Windows XP to be validated before allowing certain security fixes and timely updates. Microsoft indicated that over four years at least 2.4 million new jobs could be created if only 10% of the global piracy was stopped.