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Microsoft Sets Value Of Pirated Windows: $1 581

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the same-as-a-frosty dept.
nick_davison writes "The BBC is reporting that Microsoft has reached a deal with the Indonesian government on pirated software - which is believed to affect around 50,000 government PCs. Under the deal, Indonesia will pay $1 per copy and agree to buy legally in the future. Indonesia's information minister, Sofyan Djalil, said, "Microsoft is being realistic. They can't force developing countries like us to solely use legal software since we can't afford it. They want us to gradually reduce our use of it." Somehow it seems unlikely the same rules will be applied to developing companies and poorer individuals in the United States."
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Microsoft Sets Value Of Pirated Windows: $1

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    but they want to keep their customers.
  • How about (Score:5, Funny)

    by Doctrinal Enforcer (886607) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @06:26PM (#12775157)
    An exchange for Schappelle Corby?
  • Let me get this straight... a copy of windows is worth 1$ illegally pirated, but a CD is worth what was that again? $20,000? Someone PLEASE explain that one to me.
    • Yeah, well, Britney is easier on the eyes than Bill...or Steve, and she dances better. I'd say she's worth more...to me...for now.
    • by Sponge Bath (413667) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @06:48PM (#12775349)
      Someone PLEASE explain that one to me.

      * Some corporations are corrupt
      * Some governments are corrupt
      * Individuals are often powerless when the two get together
      * Resistance is futile
      * You will be assimilated

      Hope that helps.

    • Essentially 50,000 pirated copies of windows are worth $50,000 more than 50,000 real copies of windows.

      This makes the punitive side of the damages pretty low, but the scale of this settlement means very little for casual pirates.
    • The RIAA does not claim the CD is worth $20,000, they claim the penalties for infringing copyrights is up to $250,000. If you get caught swiping clothes from a deparment store you do not pay the value of the clothes and get sent on your way, you pay a penalty for breaking the law. Why are slashbots so obtuse?
    • Basically the $1/copy is to rectify the fact that they are using pirated software. A "penalty" if you will. It's kind of a "play it straight and we'll give you a break" type of thing. Think about it. The Indonesian government 50K of pirated copies. If MS can and said they had to pay full price, One the Indonesian president our shart a brick and second not encourage the government to play it straight and lastly they wouldn't be able to pay the cost upfront.

      Going forward, MS will charge the proper licensi
    • "Let me get this straight... a copy of windows is worth 1$ illegally pirated, but a CD is worth what was that again? $20,000? Someone PLEASE explain that one to me."

      1) Fines paid to RIAA members were by people distributing music illegally, whereas the Indonesian govt. was just using illegal software.

      2) A dollar goes a lot farther in Indonesia, so $1 for them means a lot more than it does for a US citizen.

      3) MS sees the Indonesian govt. as someone they can work with, so they're compromising, whereas RIAA
  • $1... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 09, 2005 @06:26PM (#12775163)
    That's still more than the average /. user values it at.
    • That's still more than the average /. user values it at.

      You mean "my 2 cents"?
    • Re:$1... (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 09, 2005 @06:55PM (#12775408)
      Windows - the 8-bit operating system.
    • Re:$1... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I am sure there are going to be many Microsoft bashers about this article, but the fact is the software is not FREE. If you don't like it use Linux, BSD, or some other FREE software. Microsoft does have a right to collect on their software, and yes Mr. Inormation minister they can and should enoforce their copyrights. If they don't then they could forfeit them.

      Windows is popular because Apple blew it, and Linux was just recent and not very user friendly at the time. I am a Linux fan, but whether or not
  • by moz25 (262020) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @06:26PM (#12775165) Homepage
    Okay, so they are more or less going for people officially being their customers (in a sense), rather that unofficially pirating the same software? It's interesting how piracy does seem to encourage such companies to drastically lower their prices...
  • by team99parody (880782) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @06:26PM (#12775166) Homepage
    they'll reduce the price to $1 for us too?

    Not worth it - that's still more than twice what Debian charges.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 09, 2005 @06:26PM (#12775168)
    ...include tech support?
  • by saboola (655522) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @06:28PM (#12775174)
    That's at least a dollar more than I paid for it
    • Please let me know if you find a way to pay less than a dollar for it.
    • You may laugh, but to me it's absolutely incredible that a foreign Government has been forced to pay a private company for alleged copyright violation and promise to be a good consumer in the future. How the hell did they prove that 50,000 figure? What were they going to do if Indonesia decided to give Microsoft the finger for each alleged copy violation? Someone got bribed and this is a mindless PR stunt by a country that should be using free software in the first place.

      Free software has these advanta

  • So (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 09, 2005 @06:28PM (#12775176)
    Twice what it's worth, huh?
  • At least we know what the true value of Microsoft Windows is. Although I wouldn't pay more than two bits for it.
    • "At least we know what the true value of Microsoft Windows is."

      Yeah, my biases affect my ability to estimate value, too.
    • Although I wouldn't pay more than two bits for it.

      For those of you who don't realize that this is a joke (*cough* mods *cough*), a US penny once had ten bits (before the 1960s, I think). So if you see the expression... "a two-bit whore"... it meant a whore who cost two bits of a penny. It doesn't mean virtual bits.
      • Uh, for those who don't realize how wrong this post is, quoth the wikipedia [wikipedia.org]:

        The peso had a nominal value of 8 reales ("royals"). The coins were often physically cut into eight "bits", or sometimes four quarters, to make smaller change. This is the origin of the colloquial name "pieces of eight" for the coin, and of "quarter" and "two bits" for twenty five cents in the United States.

  • by Colin Smith (2679) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @06:30PM (#12775202)
    "Somehow it seems unlikely the same rules will be applied to developing companies and poorer individuals in the United States."

    You scream Linux, OpenOffice and not bluff you'll get big discounts. MS is rich because people simply pay up. Start being an *informed* consumer, markets work better that way.

  • TCO (Score:5, Funny)

    by Tribbin (565963) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @06:30PM (#12775203) Homepage
    So this explains the MS sponsored TCO researches saying Windows is cheaper.
  • by justforaday (560408) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @06:30PM (#12775204)
    Cool. I just PayPal'd $1 to billg@microsoft.com. I figure we're square now...
  • by rokzy (687636) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @06:31PM (#12775210)
    fools! MS would rather PAY YOU to maintain its monopoly and mindshare than have you turn to linux.
  • Why is Indonesia submitting to Microsoft like this? Are they afraid Microsoft will no longer do business with them? Well, it seems that that doesn't matter. They'll just pirate any necessary software some way or another. What does Indonesia gain from this?
  • by Eberlin (570874) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @06:31PM (#12775215) Homepage
    ...and about as good for you, too.

    Seriously, though -- why do people still pirate MS products when you can have the free (better?) alternative operating system, office suite, e-mail client, yadda yadda?

    Is this a statement of "joe sixpack" and his relative ignorance of the alternatives or is this more a shot at OSS -- "we'd rather break laws than use your free (no-good) stuff?" The former seems to be a quest for a Linux marketing department. The latter is one for the usability experts to hammer out with the open source coders.

    Either way, there's some truth to be revealed in the answer to why people still pirate Microsoft products.
    • This is the problem with free software, you can't give the stuff away, people align pricetag with quality, especially the non technical end users i know. They all need windows XP professional, not home mind, that's not good enough, they all need the latest and greatest M$ office professional release, and wont be happy unless the DVD playback software is pirated, even if the graphics card in the machine came with a CD containing a more up to date version of the same f***ing software!!?!?!?

      of course, microso
    • by xtal (49134)
      Honestly? That's it. You've never wondered why MS showers game developers with praise, runs cons, and reacts?

      It's games. Why does my mom not want me to get her a mac? Her favorite games will become a PITA to run.

    • Seriously, though -- why do people still pirate MS products when you can have the free (better?) alternative operating system, office suite, e-mail client, yadda yadda?

      This is more of a statement of MS's prevalence than the relative merits of OSS alternatives. People would switch if interoperability weren't such a (purposely obfuscated) bitch.
    • by j1m+5n0w (749199) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @08:44PM (#12776255) Homepage Journal

      I've been to Indonesia briefly. If I remember correctly, one dollar translates to about 10,000 Rupies, which will buy you a pretty good meal just about anywhere, or an unreliable CD containing mp3s of every Bob Marley song ever recorded, or 10 packs of ramen (ramen costs the same everywhere in the world), or about 5 or 10 angkot rides, or more biskuat than you can eat in one sitting. I stayed a few days in a hotel in Batu Karas for about about $4-$5 a night for a room shared with a couple friends. You can buy antibiotics for about a dollar or so I believe.

      I didn't see many computers there, so I don't know if Linux is very well established, but no one cares about piracy over there. The percieved cost of windows is about the same as the percieved cost of Linux: whatever it costs to get a burned copy from a street vendor. "Joe sixpack" is unlikely to own a computer (though TVs are very common), but if he does, he'll probably use whatever everyone else is using, which is probably Windows.

  • by jacobcaz (91509) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @06:34PM (#12775237) Homepage
    So will MSFT grant windows amnesty for other orgnizations as well? How about individuals?

    Can this set any precident for the "value" of MSFT software in general? If someone is caught with pirated software, could this overturn the (potential) $150,000 copyright violation because of this precident?

    I assume MSFT knows what it's doing (what with their fleet of lawyers).

  • by dstone (191334) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @06:36PM (#12775249) Homepage
    The Indonesian information minister's statement is ridiculous: "They can't force developing countries like us to solely use legal software since we can't afford it." WTF? Why not? If you can afford Windows, give it a shot. If you can't, try OSS. It'll work. Maybe better, maybe worse. But you sure as hell can be forced to do things legally.

    It's not like they're being forced to pay outrageous prices for their sole source of food or something. They have a choice of software, and they choose an expensive, proprietary, non-free one. The shiny, fancy one. Guess what? It costs money.
    • by SpiffyMarc (590301) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @06:40PM (#12775278)
      But you sure as hell can be forced to do things legally.

      Not by a corporation.
    • But you sure as hell can be forced to do things legally.

      Well I could take the part of the last free man and say, you can't be forced to do anything, but you can be punished if you don't do what the man says. But let's just say, in this case, what Indonesian judge and jury do you think would allow Microsoft to win a judgement?
    • The Indonesian information minister's statement is ridiculous:
      But you sure as hell can be forced to do things legally.


      Seem to have missed the part where it is the information minister aka government official.
      If they don't like how MS uses the law against them, they will just change the law.

      So yeah, you are right, MS can force them to do things legally, they'll just redefine the law to say what they have been doing is legal.
    • It's not like they're being forced to pay outrageous prices for their sole source of food or something.

      No, they're just forced to pay for the software they use at the job where they get their sole source of food.

      You americans are so quick to think every country is like yours, with people affording expensive software. Hellooooo we're talking about DEVELOPING countries here!

      They have a choice of software,
      They didn't a few years ago.
      • You americans are so quick to think every country is like yours, with people affording expensive software. Hellooooo we're talking about DEVELOPING countries here!

        Helloooo, then DEVELOP some software! I think the parent of your post is saying that if they can not afford Windows, then use something cheaper or free. Or maybe get rid of computers all together? 50 years ago I think indonesia was trucking along quite well without computers.

        In fact, why don't you create the software they need to avoid pa

      • by cduffy (652) <charles+slashdot@dyfis.net> on Thursday June 09, 2005 @08:30PM (#12776153)
        No, they're just forced to pay for the software they use at the job where they get their sole source of food.
        But who forced them to use that software, rather than the Free alternative?
        You americans are so quick to think every country is like yours, with people affording expensive software.
        No, I'm thinking people can afford zero-cost software.
        They didn't [have a choice] a few years ago.
        This is now.
    • No, the statement is correct. Microsoft really can't force them to solely use legal software. This doesn't mean they have no rights to do so, or they shouldn't on ethical grounds. It simply means that they can't, short of recruiting a company militia and invading Indonesia. As long as Microsoft doesn't make them a deal they can afford, they'll simply continue pirating, err, circumventing copyrights.
  • Let them charge you a percentage of money you save by switching to Windows from your previous operating system...

    So, if you save a ton of money switching from Windows Server 2003 to Dos 5.0. Then Dos 5.0 costs $1000. But if you can't save a dime by switching from Windows 2000 to Windows XP. Then they don't get a dime.

    Ahhh... now wouldn't that be nice?

    Ted Tschopp
  • by Tharkban (877186) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @06:36PM (#12775251) Homepage Journal
    I always like to use free stuff.

    GPL - Free as in mine
    BSD/X11/MIT - Free as in not closed yet
    CDDL - Free as in slave labor
    Apache - Free as in complicated
    Microsoft - Free as in stolen

    Did I miss any?
  • WTF? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SamMichaels (213605) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @06:37PM (#12775255)
    They can't force developing countries like us to solely use legal software since we can't afford it.

    By "developing countries" he means 3rd world and poorer than dirt.

    According to my tax returns, I'm poorer than dirt. Is MS going to force me into using software I can't afford? Why do THEY get a break when I probably make something comparable to their salary?
  • by rgoree (317065) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @06:42PM (#12775295)
    A little more research on google news shows that MS is denying [nwsource.com] this report.
  • by typical (886006) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @06:43PM (#12775298) Journal
    Look at just about *any* large software company that sells to businesses. Their goal is to get you locked-in to a software package, and then milk as much money as they possibly can from you. The real money to be made is in hidden costs. Sure, Bob the Purchasing Manager *thinks* that he's bought a copy of the software, but in fact he's signed off on spending money on the software package for the next fifteen years until the company is frusterated enough to ante up enough money to jump ship to another package.

    And the best tool of all in the software world to squeeze those-money engorged corporate udders is incompatibility -- file formats, APIs and protocols that only *you* can provide. (And user expertise in your software.)

    The smart purchaser stays the hell away from any proprietary file formats, APIs and protocols.

    The main reason that the open source world is nice for the corporate world is not the up-front price benefits. It's the fact that open source software inherently has non-proprietary file formats, APIs, and protocols, means that a choice of open source software ensures that you can't be milked (well, *too* much) or else someone else will toddle on in and start providing an alternative.

    Consider an example: People using Subversion for their source control aren't going to pay a cent for anything in the future. Even if Subversion cost $5000 a seat, instead of being gratis, it would still mean only a one-time payment. People using ClearCase have many years of rich milk-giving ahead of them.

    Microsoft lets people use Windows for minimal cost in areas that it wants to enter because it establishes one of the above pillars of lock-in -- it builds user expertise in their software. Any software with a different interface or behavior immediately represents a barrier to change. That retraining has a cost, that cost can have a dollar value assigned to it, and that dollar value is exactly how much Microsoft can milk you for in the future.

    Microsoft's most-used mechanism to help *spread* lock-in is not contracts or dirty legal tactics, but bundling. Get one element of lock-in into play (say, file formats, with Windows binary compatibility), and use it to get Windows deployed, then try to use that to get people to use another element of Windows that can provide its own lock-in benefits. The economic potential, the amount of money that Microsoft can milk users for, increases with every increment of lock-in.

    Microsoft didn't give away Internet Explorer for free because they love you and like petting kitties and giving candy to babies. They did it because (a) it builds user expertise in a feature of their software that then is difficult to move away from, increasing lock-in, (b) enough use of Internet Explorer results in network-spanning lock-in as people start dabbling in things like ActiveX, which are a big milk-producing mechanism for Microsoft, and (c) it provides another, significant, platform to use to introduce file format and protocol incompatibility, and thus further milk-producing lock-in. Internet Explorer is an *investment* in producing economic potential, lock-in, which they can cash in for loads of money over time in the future.
  • Quite unlikely (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Zebbie (706596) * on Thursday June 09, 2005 @06:43PM (#12775299)
    "Somehow it seems unlikely the same rules will be applied to developing companies and poorer individuals in the United States."
    Yeah, almost as unlikely as an article about MS on Slashdot not ending in a derogatory comment, even when they are cutting someone a break. If MS had demanded the full price for each installation, they would be bashed for beating up on a small country. If they cut them some slack, they are bashed for not being fair to everyone. Give it a rest.

    end rant

  • Now WHY??? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 09, 2005 @06:44PM (#12775308)
    WHY does M$ needs $50k from Indonesia? Maybe they could donate the windows copies to the Tsunami Relief efforts...
    • Re:Now WHY??? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bapple03 (854267)
      I don't like Microsoft's products, but I think they have a right to sell them... and not have their intelectual property stolen (all arguments about where they stole it from originally aside :)
  • so... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mr_tommy (619972) * <tgraham@gmai3.1415926l.com minus pi> on Thursday June 09, 2005 @06:44PM (#12775314) Journal
    How stupid are slashdot readers?!

    $1 is for each pirated copy the government declares so far. After that, the government stops pirating, and starts paying money! Thats right - for having an initial amnesty to get the ball rolling, Microsoft gets another lucrative government IT contract.
  • If... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by RoadkillBunny (662203)
    ...I went to Indonesia and bought a legal version of Windows and brought it back here, would it still be legal? That means if I bought several hundred licenses there I could resell them here for a nice profit :D
  • "I'd buy that for a dollar!"
  • by Bifurcati (699683) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @06:54PM (#12775391) Homepage
    A dollar a day keeps the lawyers away!
  • by PornMaster (749461) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @06:59PM (#12775439) Homepage
    The real question is how the government of a country too poor to pay for Windows got 50000 PCs.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      It's not about the money. The vast majority of Indonesians take pirated software for granted, and have no real desire or need to buy original.

      Several years ago Microsoft Indonesia sued cmoputer stores who install (pirated) Windows onto newly built systems. They claim damage of several billions rupiah, enough to make any local computer store to go out of business. Last time I was in Jakarta, all those stores sued are still in business. In one news article, the defendant's lawyer asked the judge whether he h
  • "Somehow it seems unlikely the same rules will be applied to developing companies and poorer individuals in the United States."

    Now granted, someone that owns a PC generally seems like they'd be someone that can afford an OS. But thats not the case alot of times. I mean you go into any place that sells software, and you STILL see Windows Xp Home at the $80 mark or more. Often or not it's still $100 in most big chain stores like Best Buy.

    I know plenty of people who have small, self built PC's they've bui

  • by glrotate (300695) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @07:03PM (#12775481) Homepage
    What? MS wants them to reduce their use of legal software?
  • Microsoft Sets Value Of Pirated Windows: $1
    No, their offer (if it's real) sets the value of a pirated copy of Windows to $1 less than the price of a legitimate copy, assuming that you want the latter.

    On the other hand, we could argue as to what is the value of a legitimate copy.

  • by reallocate (142797) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @07:11PM (#12775547)
    Nonsense.

    Thieves in Indonesia remain theives.

    It's ludicrous for an Indonesian government minister to justify theft on the grounds that the government can't afford to buy Windows. How did they pay for the hardware the stuff runs on? Or, did they steal that, too?

    Smacks of a con to me.
  • he seems arrogant (Score:3, Informative)

    by Paralizer (792155) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @07:24PM (#12775645) Homepage
    "Microsoft is being realistic," Indonesia's information minister, Sofyan Djalil, was quoted as saying in the Jakarta Post newspaper. "They can't force developing countries like us to solely use legal software since we can't afford it. They want us to gradually reduce our use of it."
    Whoa now Mr. CantMakeMe, ever heard of people working to make the product you're stealing? Seriously, this is pretty arrogant of him to say on behalf of his country, why not just apologize, pay the 50 grand, and move to some free alternative? There are other operating systems out there you can get for free, various Linux and BSD flavors to be quick. You don't need to use illegal copies of Windows, and when the company who developed it gets angry, act like you are king shit and don't have to pay just because you can't afford it. Simple solution, dump Microsoft, it's too damn expensive anyway.
  • by ultimabaka (864222) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @07:30PM (#12775701)
    And her exact words (after a five minute rant about how the guy was an asshole) were, and I quote:

    "Damnit this is awful. But it sounds about right. After that damned Suharto ran off with $30 billion dollars, there was no way in hell we could ever afford to pay for anything. But still, better for him to steal it than Microsoft."
  • by notthepainter (759494) <oblique@al u m . m i t . edu> on Thursday June 09, 2005 @08:52PM (#12776300) Homepage
    Ah, if only the headline of this article was truncated:

    Microsoft Sets Value Of Pi

    Well I thought it was funny...

  • by sparkz (146432) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @09:19PM (#12776477) Homepage
    "poorer individuals in the United States" ???

    Those so poor they can afford a $500 PC

    Oh, my heart bleeds.

    Do USAians actually understand what poverty means? A huge number (I don't have the figures to hand) earn less than USD10 per month.

    In fact, the Make Poverty History have a poster (which unfortunately does not appear to be online) quoting a statistic that a London (UK) parking meter earns more in an hour than something like 75% of the world's population earns in a month.

    Please, the http://www.makepovertyhistory.org/ [makepovertyhistory.org] campaign, put this stuff up on the web, not just on dead trees!

    We do realise that the G8 summit is upon us, and that huge international protests against international poverty [makepovertyhistory.org] are due to coincide with it? ... Don't we?

    Or is this just some sheltered young white well-to-do middle-class ... oh, just remembered where I am.
    Go, Dubya!

  • Goddam It! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tablizer (95088) on Thursday June 09, 2005 @11:56PM (#12777346) Journal
    Why is it that I have to compete on a global market labor-rate-wise, yet they don't have to pay global rates for software? You can't have it both ways, guys. If you stab my job with your $4/hr labor rates, then we get to stab you with $200 software.

    If you go global, then do it fair.

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