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Taiwan Group Responsible For 90% of MSFT Piracy

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the so-this-means-the-bsa-can-disband-right dept.

The Courts 229

Stony Stevenson writes "Microsoft claims that a small group led by a recently jailed Taiwanese man was the source of almost all high-quality pirated copies of its software up until his arrest in 2004. The claim suggests that Microsoft practically wiped out commercial piracy of its products with the arrest of Huang Jer-sheng, the owner of Taiwan-based software distributor Maximus Technology. Microsoft announced today that Huang and his associates. who were all recently sentenced to jail time, had been responsible for the 'production and distribution of more than 90 percent of the high-quality counterfeit Microsoft software products either seized by law enforcement or test-purchased around the world.'"

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229 comments

High quality? (5, Funny)

Electrode (255874) | more than 6 years ago | (#22303912)

I didn't think there was such a thing as high-quality Microsoft software, pirated or otherwise...

Re:High quality? (5, Insightful)

arivanov (12034) | more than 6 years ago | (#22303938)

Compared to a stripped and vandalised "recovery disk" it is high quality. You could actually install from it.

Re:High quality? (5, Funny)

flyingsquid (813711) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304584)

I didn't think there was such a thing as high-quality Microsoft software, pirated or otherwise...

Obviously, he modified the software extensively before selling it. The fact that it was high-quality is, of course, what tipped people off that it wasn't an authentic Microsoft product.

Re:High quality? (1)

Peter Nikolic (1093513) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304816)

Well at leats the Pirated stuff got classed as High quality as said by M$ Corp them selfs but note that nothing was said about the dire crap they produce (oh hang on if i say too much fact the the idiots at slapshot will black me out plonkers)

By what standard? (4, Insightful)

jdickey (1035778) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304846)

Of course it's high quality; it just doesn't meet your needs.

Vista is the first Windows infestation to officially, publicly acknowledge what serious MSFT-watchers have known for some time: the population of usees and customers are two entirely separate, non-overlapping groups.

The usees, of course, are the poor sheeple who bought a PC and naively expect Windows to "work" because it's the "market" "leader".

The customers are abviously the MPAA, RIAA and other "content" industry groups (collectively known as the MAFIAA (Media Authoritarian Fanatic Ass-farking of America) to friend and foe alike). Of course, "everyone" knows that all major media content these days is made using Macs or *nix boxen.

Their customers are happy as the proverbial clams with Vista. Especially since they never have to actually touch it!

High quality? (5, Funny)

DuncanE (35734) | more than 6 years ago | (#22303920)

Come on... using "High quality" and "Microsoft products" in the same sentence?

So they were responsible for 9 out the 10 pirate copies of Microsoft Flight simulator then? ;-)

Re:High quality? (5, Insightful)

Torodung (31985) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304376)

LOL.

Slashdot needs a +1 "obligatory" modifier, so these sorts of jokes can be tagged as "obligatory" instead of "funny." ;^)

--
Toro

Re:High quality? (0, Offtopic)

ScottKin (34718) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304732)

Either that, or at least have a chance to mark a Trollpost or to mark the user as a Troll-generator.

Of course, that would go against the grain of /.'s long-standing practice of being "fair and balanced".

--ScottKin

high quality? (5, Funny)

boguslinks (1117203) | more than 6 years ago | (#22303924)

had been responsible for the 'production and distribution of more than 90 percent of the high-quality counterfeit Microsoft software products

Why doesn't MSFT sell these "high-quality" products instead of the crap they've been selling us for years.

Re:high quality? (0, Offtopic)

Drinking Bleach (975757) | more than 6 years ago | (#22303974)

Why don't you refuse to buy the crap?

It never seemed to me that you were *forced* to walk into a store and buy Microsoft products.s

Re:high quality? (1)

dintech (998802) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304190)

You obviously haven't seen Balmer's new marketing strategy for Vista, have you?

Re:high quality? (3, Insightful)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304224)

Ah yes, Hobson's Choice...

If the theater only has one movie, it's true that you have a choice of watching it or not, but it's not true that you have a choice of movies to watch.

I think the OP was complaining about the lack of choices for software to buy, not about the ability to choose to refrain from buying computers. Assuming you've decided to give up on the old abacus and join the 21st century, if you walk into most stores, yes, you are forced to buy Microsoft products. You only "choice" here is Hobson's Choice.

Although this is true of most stores, it's getting better. I'm seeing "Apple Stores" springing up inside more and more these days. Still not a lot of choice but better than none.

Re:high quality? (3, Informative)

Drinking Bleach (975757) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304424)

I can still buy hardware without being tied to any software, I don't know where you shop...

While it may seem grim with the lack of software choices at stores, are you aware there's plenty of quality operating systems available for free (legally)? Operating systems such as Ubuntu, OpenBSD, Solaris, just to name a few.

Re:high quality? (1)

NoobixCube (1133473) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304608)

Then for the weirder sort, there's Haiku, Syllable and AROS. We're spoiled for choice in the free-software world, it's a shame so few people see it. I genuinely salute Microsoft's marketing staff, they're the only thing keeping Microsoft afloat (though that's not a good thing).

quantifying the unquantifable! (4, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#22303928)

Does anyone really believe they have any clue how much of their software gets pirated?

90% sounds like a nice marketing department developed figure.

Re:quantifying the unquantifable! (1, Redundant)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 6 years ago | (#22303948)

Of course it's quantifiable. If they send people out all across Asia, buying up pirated Microsoft software everywhere they go, tracing the origins of each one, it is entirely likely that they can say how much supply they were able to take off the market via an arrest.

And to EVERYONE posting the tired "MS and high-quality? HAH!" joke, ugh, it's not that funny. High quality clearly refers to pirated copies that were sold as genuine, bearing holographic marks and whatnot.

Re:quantifying the unquantifable! (4, Insightful)

darkonc (47285) | more than 6 years ago | (#22303982)

Methinks that they have no problem with 'poor' people pirating their software on the sly and for free, because it keeps the monopoly alive. It's really unlikely that they're going to willingly kill 90% of that piracy market. ( If everybody who wanted an office suite or OS but couldn't (or refused to) afford MS's prices was 'forced' to go with OpenOffice and/or Linux, MS's death--grip on the market would very quickly be pried open. )
These guys, on the other hand, seem to have been selling 'legitimate' copies of Microsoft products for real cheap -- That really does cut into Microsoft's market, which is people who are willing to pay for their products in return for either a clean conscience or to keep the MS police at bay.

Microsoft has no problems killing those pirates.

Re:quantifying the unquantifable! (1, Redundant)

kamapuaa (555446) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304126)

Wow, imagine that. Microsoft most vigorously pursues the piracy which hurts them the most financially.

And furthermore, if more people used OpenOffice, Microsoft Office would be less popular.

Any opinions on whether the pope is Catholic, or if bears shit in the woods?

Re:quantifying the unquantifable! (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22304210)

Any opinions on whether the pope is Catholic, or if bears shit in the woods?
At least a bear can be entertaining. The pope just mumbles about the evils of human progress... never mind.

Re:quantifying the unquantifable! (5, Insightful)

Skrynesaver (994435) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304634)

Perhaps the title is misleading, the linked article claims that this group was responsible for 90% of counterfeit MS products. That's not piracy, it's forgery - individuals downloading and burning copies for their own use is piracy random definition according to my personal dictionary. This however was organised crime (insert "and MS isn't?" joke here) a very different proposition.

While I loathe and detest MS and their general operating methods, (particularly the whole BSA garbage), they are entirely justified in prosecuting this crew for fraud/forgery etc... though they may get bit by the "boy who cried wolf" syndrome as they, among others, have been claiming that every kid with a torrent client is a threat to the stability of the economic system itself. </rant>

Re:quantifying the unquantifable! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22304904)

individuals downloading and burning copies for their own use is piracy random definition according to my personal dictionary

piracy /parsi/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[pahy-ruh-see] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation -noun, plural -cies.
1. practice of a pirate; robbery or illegal violence at sea.
2. the unauthorized reproduction or use of a copyrighted book, recording, television program, patented invention, trademarked product, etc.: The record industry is beset with piracy.

Every single fluent English speaker knows this. Why are you trying to claim common knowledge isn't actually true, just because it furthers your own agenda?

Re:quantifying the unquantifable! (5, Informative)

treke (62626) | more than 6 years ago | (#22303992)

The quote in the summary is more specific. It's the "production and distribution of more than 90 percent of the high-quality counterfeit Microsoft software products either seized by law enforcement or test-purchased around the world."

So they're only talking about the stuff they've confiscated and not claiming it's 90% of everything that exists.

Re:quantifying the unquantifable! (5, Insightful)

kripkenstein (913150) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304150)

The quote in the summary is more specific. It's the "production and distribution of more than 90 percent of the high-quality counterfeit Microsoft software products either seized by law enforcement or test-purchased around the world."

So they're only talking about the stuff they've confiscated and not claiming it's 90% of everything that exists.
That's pretty much it. They're talking about 'high-quality piracy', not casual piracy as in downloading from the Pirate Bay or burning your friend a copy. High quality piracy in this context means that CDs are pressed, covers forged, everything in order for the product to look like it is authentic. It is then sold as if it were in fact authentic (as opposed to casual piracy, where no money trades hands).

It is very hard to know how much casual piracy there is. However, it is far easier to know how much high-quality piracy exists, because we are talking about actual physical products here, tangible evidence. They are also manufactured somewhere. Then, assuming that law enforcement captures such high-quality piracy in a random sampling manner (that is, all such forged products have the same chance to be caught - a working hypothesis, debatable of course), then this Taiwanese group was the source of 90% of that. So, presumably (by statistical inference) this group is responsible for 90% of high-quality piracy.

It's a little surprising that a single group is so dominant in this area, actually, I wouldn't have expected it. However, the more interesting question is what will happen now: if suddenly 90% of these forgeries vanish off the market, what will the people buying them do? Will other suppliers fill the gap, or will the buyers turn to casual piracy, or to alternate OSes?

re: as opposed to casual piracy, where no money tr (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22304302)

refer: as opposed to casual piracy, where no money trades hands).

this is invalid. piracy takes money out of the hands of those who deserve it. imagine if your employer, tax office, or ex-wives, were to consider your paycheck casual and freely remove it from you and do whatever it or they pleased, including shoving it where the sun dont shine. i think you would do something, no? or are you a pussy and shrug your puny shoulders, yes? then we are in agreement.

Re: as opposed to casual piracy, where no money tr (4, Interesting)

daveb (4522) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304328)

this is invalid.

piracy takes money out of the hands of those who deserve it. imagine if your employer, tax office, or ex-wives, were to consider your paycheck casual and freely remove it from you and do whatever it or they pleased, including shoving it where the sun dont shine. i think you would do something, no? or are you a pussy and shrug your puny shoulders, yes? then we are in agreement.
your argument is invalid

In the cases you give I am deprived of the product which is "pirated". Copying does not deprive the source of the product. You are making a very very strange comparison between copying and theft.

Let me put it this way ... if someone can take my paycheck, and leave me with exactly every cent in that paycheck, then they are welcome to it and I invite everyone to do the same.

not that I've ever encountered pirated software mind you

Re: as opposed to casual piracy, where no money tr (2, Insightful)

Sinbios (852437) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304482)

A little off topic, but just pointing out that if you can freely make copies of that money, then that money is in infinite supply and thus worthless. I don't think you would appreciate (hah!) your money being devalued. Also, this is generally referred to as counterfeiting, and quite illegal :^)

Re: as opposed to casual piracy, where no money tr (1)

daveb (4522) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304570)

Let me slightly rephrase.

If someone can copy all of my paycheck with the result that my paycheck remains unchanged in any way - then I am very very happy for everyone to do so.

Is software less valuable when more people use it or more so? Does counterfieting software, and increasing the market share of the software, make it less vauable? Or, are you (in a very cunning way) just trying to prove that copying software is an extremly different thing to property theft.

Re: as opposed to casual piracy, where no money tr (2, Insightful)

GaratNW (978516) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304718)

Copying software results in: - Legitimate copies going up in price, as companies argue that piracy has taken away profits that should have gone to them. - More and increasingly draconian copy protection that only hurts legitimate users.

Your argument is only valid in for software that was never intended for profit. Yes, copying retail software does do real harm and IS real theft by any rational standard of law. If you prefer to think there are no laws and software is exempt from property protections, than yes, I guess your argument is unbeatable. Not through any inherent validity, but in your self-imposed view that stealing software is somehow "ok" because it doesn't change the bits in question.

Maybe I'm misunderstanding, and that's not what you're arguing, but it's how it comes across. Of course, I'm looking at this from the companies perspective. From a consumer's perspective, if you allow someone to copy your software, then your argument is perfectly valid. You're still breaking the law and causing real harm to real people, but I could see your point in this light.

Re: as opposed to casual piracy, where no money tr (4, Insightful)

DECS (891519) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304524)

you have trouble seeing the difference between copied bits and the effort required to arrange those bits. The value of software isn't in the commercial packaging or plastic media, it's obviously in the efforts required to create something people will pay for. While you can argue a fallacy of "duplicating doesn't deprive you of the original copy," you're simply ignorantly wrong.

Copying software doesn't deprive somebody of the version you copied, it deprives the creator/owner of their ability to legitimately sell copies of their work. That's what you are stealing when you copy.

Your same silly argument could be applied to counterfeiting currency: copying real money doesn't deprive anyone of their legitimate currency. The problem is, it devalues money by depriving the government of its ability to regulate the supply and value of money. That's why the Secret Service exists.

Re: as opposed to casual piracy, where no money tr (1)

daveb (4522) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304602)

I never said it wasn't wrong. I do insist that calling it theft is inaccurate.

As I say in another reply - counterfieting does indeed devalue money. But (perhaps perversly) counterfieting software actually enhances the value of the software.

Yes it's wrong. Any business caught using pirated software deserves to get slammed. But don't underestimate amount of value added to software when it is heavily pirated. It increases the market share of the software - and when the pirating people need to use it legitimatly they WILL pay because the risks are too high. These days the big players (MS, Oracle, etc) usually go out of their way to give small versions away for this very reason.

Re: as opposed to casual piracy, where no money tr (2, Insightful)

asc99c (938635) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304774)

Your argument is aimed at the wrong post here. This is a decent argument when talking about the filesharing type of piracy - people downloading stuff they weren't going to buy anyway. There's no realistic loss from this.

However, the article and comment are both talking about professional piracy - burning discs and printing manuals and shrinkwrapping in boxes that purport to be the real things. When someone honest goes and buys one of those, $60 that was heading to MS is snatched away. The fact the money never got as far as their bank account doesn't make a lot of difference - it would have got there if not for the piracy.

Even the slashdot crowd mostly condemn this sort of piracy.

Re: as opposed to casual piracy, where no money tr (1)

supervillainsf (820395) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304558)

You appear to have missed the point (as well as have a stick up your ass). The parent was differentiating between giving a friend a copy of a windows cd or downloading an image and walking into one's favorite SE Asian tech mall and buying Windows XP Pro for $25 US. He made no assertions regarding the financial harm or moral ambiguities involved in using pirated software.

Re:quantifying the unquantifable! (2, Insightful)

cp.tar (871488) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304356)

However, the more interesting question is what will happen now: if suddenly 90% of these forgeries vanish off the market, what will the people buying them do? Will other suppliers fill the gap, or will the buyers turn to casual piracy, or to alternate OSes?

It's not that interesting a question, methinks.

As these pirated copies were sold off as genuine, I'd guess that most of the users actually believed they were buying legitimate copies.
Therefore, most of those people will be off buying legitimate copies, directly increasing Microsoft's revenue (as opposed to casual pirates, who indirectly increase Microsoft's revenue by giving them free mindshare).

People will turn to alternate OSes when two conditions are met:

  1. Equivalent apps become available on the alternate platforms.
  2. Enough other people convert to a different platform.

Yeah, it's a bit of a Catch-22. People use Windows because everybody else uses Windows, just as people still use Internet Explorer because web designers do not wish to lose page views by not catering to IE's broken CSS implementation.
However, contrary to the geek's instinct, some of the killer apps are already on alternate platforms — e.g. Compiz Fusion and AisleRiot on Linux, capturing the attention of two distinct groups of users.
Now, if we could hope for better-educated users, the hop would be swifter. Alas, we have to operate in the world where a casual user is a moron. C'est la vie...

Re:quantifying the unquantifable! (2, Insightful)

kripkenstein (913150) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304458)

However, the more interesting question is what will happen now: if suddenly 90% of these forgeries vanish off the market, what will the people buying them do? Will other suppliers fill the gap, or will the buyers turn to casual piracy, or to alternate OSes?

It's not that interesting a question, methinks.

As these pirated copies were sold off as genuine, I'd guess that most of the users actually believed they were buying legitimate copies. Therefore, most of those people will be off buying legitimate copies

I'm not sure. If Windows cost them $10 before and now costs the full $150 or so, they won't just run to buy legitimate copies. I'm not saying they'll go off and run Linux - they might look until they find another pirated version, or get someone to help them download and burn one. Perhaps only a small minority might be motivated to seek alternate OSes, that is why I left this at the end of the list of options. But I seriously doubt the majority will just happily start paying full price.

Nature Abhors A Vacuum (3, Interesting)

GomezAdams (679726) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304406)

It won't be long given the pricing structure of Microsoft products that someone will step in to fill the orders for cheap knock offs. High quality or otherwise. I've been in the high tech shopping district in Taiwan and the prices for these pirated items are (usually) far below the price of legitimate copies.

Also been in Mexico City where street vendors sell about any software title on the planet - some slick copies, some shoddy.

And I doubt the 90% figure. Looks and smells like some marketing drone pulled it out of his @ss.

Re:quantifying the unquantifable! (3, Funny)

houghi (78078) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304498)

I for one am glad that they stopped the monopoly position that specific company/person had on that market share.

Re:quantifying the unquantifable! (2, Interesting)

Asic Eng (193332) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304636)

It's a little surprising that a single group is so dominant in this area, actually, I wouldn't have expected it.

Well Taiwan accounts e.g. for over 80% of the world's laptop production (at least that's what they claim here [taiwanembassy.org] - table in German only, but should be easy to read). So it would make sense that a lot of the industrial copying of software would be there, too.

Re:quantifying the unquantifable! (1)

Richard W.M. Jones (591125) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304666)

That's pretty much it. They're talking about 'high-quality piracy', not casual piracy as in downloading from the Pirate Bay or burning your friend a copy. High quality piracy in this context means that CDs are pressed, covers forged, everything in order for the product to look like it is authentic. It is then sold as if it were in fact authentic (as opposed to casual piracy, where no money trades hands).

In fact it's more like trademark fraud (or fraud in general) than piracy.

If there is such a thing as "bad" piracy then this is it. Let's suppose there was no copyright at all, as some people wish, and you could go into a market and choose which copy of MS Windows (say) you wanted to buy. They'd all be cheap, but a purchaser might still want to buy the trademark Microsoft(R) Windows(R) from Microsoft because for instance it would be a kind of guarantee that it didn't have malicious viruses or spyware added [hah!]. Or they might want to buy Rich's EZ-Install(R) Windows(R) where I have added a way to make it really easy to reinstall Windows when it goes wrong. But they wouldn't want to buy something fraudulently claiming to be either of these which is in fact a rip containing viruses and spyware.

By claiming to be the genuine Microsoft(R) Windows that's exactly what this group was doing, having misleading packaging, and probably logos and holograms and the rest.

As an aside, this is exactly how the "cola beverage" market works. There's no trade secret about how to make a cola drink, so everyone can make one as cheaply as they like. But you're still not allowed to call it Coca Cola(R).

Rich.

quantifying the downloadable.! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22304002)

"Does anyone really believe they have any clue how much of their software gets pirated?"

Apparently the same group that does "but it helps the artist" over at piratebay.

"90% sounds like a nice marketing department developed figure."

Almost as good as "90% saved from the MPAA/RIAA" [piratebay.com] "Won't you download today?"

Re:quantifying the unquantifable! (1)

elmedico27 (931070) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304202)

I like the high figure. It means that the 90% is attributed to a person and can no longer become the basis of more wild accusations used to try to shut down all torrent trackers/sites/whatever.

Re:quantifying the unquantifable! (1)

SerpentMage (13390) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304368)

It's called statistical sampling...

By looking at the pirated stuff that you found, and then applying statistical sample you can get the percentage of the source. Though it comes with a catch. The catch is that the number you found is +- a specific number. That number could be +- 2 percent or +- 20 percent.

Re:quantifying the unquantifable! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22304762)

Well, we all know that 87.39% of quoted statistics is made up. Trust me.

The jail times. (1, Informative)

deft (253558) | more than 6 years ago | (#22303932)

In case you wondered as I did... the penalty for being 90% of the pirating...

"Huang was recently sentenced to four years in jail by a Taiwanese court. Three co-defendants received between 18 months and three years in jail. Six individuals were originally arrested in the case."

I wonder how rich they are off it.

Re:The jail times. (2)

sweet_petunias_full_ (1091547) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304074)

I don't know which is worse, some years of jail time (and getting off for good behavior), or being charged $222,000 for 24 lousy song files. The Thomas case makes being the #1 world pirate look glamorous by comparison.

Of course, due to the huge drop in piracy that this represents (-90%!), I can only wonder about what a +90% upsurge in global warming is going to do to this planet. Yikes.

High quality MS products? (0, Redundant)

Chukcha (787065) | more than 6 years ago | (#22303934)

Where can I get *me* some of those high quality Microsoft products? All I seem to have are the low quality versions purchased directly from Microsoft.

Nightline:Thieves are amoung us. (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22303936)

The more interesting story would be, how did they catch him?

high-quality (1)

don_oles (712034) | more than 6 years ago | (#22303954)

You liars, high-quality. The quality IS THE SAME, don't blame pirates for your quality of development.

Re:high-quality (4, Insightful)

cp.tar (871488) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304220)

You liars, high-quality. The quality IS THE SAME, don't blame pirates for your quality of development.

Actually, no, it is not.

I surmise pirates really do offer better quality, as they conveniently remove the WGA and similar "protection measures", thus ensuring the user's copy of Windows will never ever get blocked by Microsoft. For instance.

Though I suspect that "high-quality copy" means "CD and packaging virtually indistinguishable from the original retail copy", not "a better product". Nevertheless, sometimes pirate copies are of quite higher quality than the original.

Re:high-quality (1)

oloron (1092167) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304400)

reminds me of the win98 release from those PWA dudes of old, worked better on my pc than a legit retail that i tried, and gave up on LOL, even second edition of win98 sucked IMHO. i even remember the rumor that some dude at MS-HQ got busted running the PWA release on his work system 'cause it worked better'

sometimes i would feel more comfortable buying a pirated copy, at least its usable that way :(

Guess I have to give this whole "Linux" thing a go (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22303958)

Huaang was like my main man! Now where will I get best sellers like Starlancer and new copies of Windows ME!?

High quality counterfeits (-1, Redundant)

Rudisaurus (675580) | more than 6 years ago | (#22303968)

Maybe they should have been talking to this guy, Huang Jer-sheng, and his group, instead of busting them. "High quality" and "Microsoft" are not often uttered in the same sentence.

So now... (2, Funny)

Swampash (1131503) | more than 6 years ago | (#22303986)

Microsoft will lower the price of all its retail products right? Since it's no longer competing with pirated software.

New pricing scheme? (2, Insightful)

Library Spoff (582122) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304006)

Does this mean the cost of microsoft software will come down? We are always being told that piracy on this scale makes software companies push up prices. So when is the cost of vista (especially in the uk) coming down?

90%? (1)

sltd (1182933) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304010)

But doesn't a lot of their software show up on P2P networks and stuff? Wouldn't that make up more than 10%?

Does this mean they can start cutting back on things like Windows Genuine Advantage, or their other restriction schemes? The holographic stickers were kind of cool for a while, though - probably the main reason to have any of their stuff.

Re:90%? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22304306)

No-one seems to have understood this. 90% OF HIGH QUALITY COUTERFEITS = 90% of the cds that you buy that are nearly indistinguishable from the genuine article. This 90% figure only includes that, it does not include digital copies, cdrs-with-felt-pen-written-labels, or even the non-holographic-but-professional-looking copies. This is probably the reason such a high proportion of copies came from the one source; because there would likely be a lot of expensive machinery used to make high quality counterfeits.

Why copy protection? (1, Insightful)

unbug (1188963) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304018)

So why do they need all this stupid copy protection stuff like license numbers, WGA etc.? If their products practically aren't commercially pirated any longer you'd think they could do without.

Mod parent up (1)

oheso (898435) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304188)

Seriously, if they caught the guy in 2004, why do we need to put up with all the headaches of WGA now?

Re:Why copy protection? (3, Interesting)

Cougem (734635) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304374)

How is this insightful? Just asking a question which damns WGA doesn't mean you're worth modding up.

This is 90% of professional piracy, therefore:
1) There are other vendors (see the other 10%), who really probably can expand to fill the spaces - ESPECIALLY since if these guys were apprehended so long ago there is a fine vista market ready for targetting. If you've already managed to circumvent the protection then you're only going to be limited by distribution and manufacture, which is hardly that big a hurdle
2) 90% of HIGH QUALITY piracy, NOT 90% of torrent downloaders and casual pirates. WGA, supposedly, protects against this, which is also a huge problem

Just getting pissy with copy protection is hardly worthy of mod points.

Re:Why copy protection? (1)

frup (998325) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304646)

Correction, there is a fine XP market ready and waiting now that everything only comes with vista. Why would you bother pirating vista (apart from that it would MS very very very happy). I don't see the typical pirate have 2GB+ of ram so vista is near to impossible to get running well. With more than 2GB of ram it does compare with XP which has 512mb of ram.

Re:Why copy protection? (1)

Cougem (734635) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304810)

Er, no? There is indeed a fine XP market, and yes I am well aware that it is being exploited, but to say there's no vista market is just plain ignorance. We are talking about families etc. buying computers here. Most people, when given the option of the latest operating system and the previous generation, at the near same pirated prices (for the pirates will reduce the vista costs to near XP if that's what it takes to shift the things, since it costs them near the same amount, and definitely try to hype up the more expensive OS), will go for vista, and that will become more and more the case in the coming year(s). You can turn most of vista's criticised bloat off, anyway. If you actually turn off aero/glass and look at the actual resources used you'll be surprised.

"fine XP market ready and waiting" - are you honestly implying that the XP piracy market has INCREASED, since vista's release, because more poeple want to down-grade now than wanted to pay for XP before? That's what 'waiting' implies to me, as if you're saying it's an un-tapped resource. That's just stupid. Many of these high-quality pirates will be selling to small local system builders etc., people who would have been buying XP for the years before vista's release, and these builders will now will be selling vista mainly, or at least offer a choice. Why? Because people want the latest and greatest. Most computer users don't even understand the principle of an operating system.

Re:Why copy protection? (1)

darthflo (1095225) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304868)

So who's this "typical pirate"? The 17-year-old gamer kid next door? Mr Smith who got his comp built by the neighborhood pc guy? Some swedish (allgeded) millionaires with a website? Some japanese gadget-lover? Or only those semi-poor people in emerging countries?

Good show, but hardly enough (3, Insightful)

Torodung (31985) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304038)

Considering that most of the pirating Chinese world is using Sharpie scribbled CD-R's to install non-Genuine Windows, I don't think it matters terribly much if they've stopped "90%" of the flow of high-quality counterfeits.

It's darned good that they caught the bastards, but wake me up when we stop 90% of the actual piracy in Asia.

This strikes me as a fluff piece for nervous investors.

--
Toro

Re:Good show, but hardly enough (4, Informative)

king-manic (409855) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304078)

Considering that most of the pirating Chinese world is using Sharpie scribbled CD-R's to install non-Genuine Windows, I don't think it matters terribly much if they've stopped "90%" of the flow of high-quality counterfeits.

It's darned good that they caught the bastards, but wake me up when we stop 90% of the actual piracy in Asia.

This strikes me as a fluff piece for nervous investors.
Have you been to china/taiwan/HK/S E asia in general. Some of the fakes are very convincing with packaging and so on. If you go out to a bigger local store you'll see a mix of very good fakes with legit software. They'll even translate it and hack it for use with their own servers. When i was there it was harder to find a legit copy of Warcraft 3 then a pirated one and the pirated ones where packaged decently (if nothing like the real package) and they hooked up the remnants of bnetD Asia. This isn't your geek pirating with black sharpies and spools of random software. This is the real piracy that MS ought to fight.

Re:Good show, but hardly enough (2, Interesting)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304186)

Some of the fakes are very convincing with packaging and so on. If you go out to a bigger local store you'll see a mix of very good fakes with legit software.

Just as a matter of interest, do they pirate things like Linux distros? I can see that people might sell convincing fakes of Redhat boxed distros, but I don't know if they'd sell. Perhaps if someone was getting what they thought was a support contract that turned out to be bogus?

Re:Good show, but hardly enough (1)

Torodung (31985) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304326)

Nope. I haven't been there. I've read about it, and similar problems in Russia.

This is absolutely the kind of thing Microsoft should vigorously pursue and prosecute. I'm not apologizing for the criminal who was counterfeiting. I'm just in doubt of how much of a dent it makes, whether the 90% figure is exaggeration (it certainly sounds it), and whether this is a major bust, or a small one dressed up as a PR stunt.

I can remember the street value estimates applied to cocaine busts of an earlier age. Exaggeration is no stranger to either law enforcement, nor Microsoft.

It does surprise me that there is significant demand for "real looking" software, but I'm also the sort of person who buys a car on its ability to get me places with good mileage, instead of how fashionable it is, so I'm not inclined to think of things in that way.

If there's a significant demand for that sort of thing, packaging and media presentation, then this arrest sounds much better than I had initially thought. At first blush, my instinct tells me that, though the arrest is a good thing and a positive step, it will do nothing about the fact that a large part of Asia does not pay for their software. It can't stop sneakernet distribution.

I hope the counterfeiter enjoys his cell, and I hope they seize his ill-gotten assets in a civil case.

--
Toro

Re:Good show, but hardly enough (4, Insightful)

thona (556334) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304418)

::It does surprise me that there is significant demand for "real looking" software,

There is no demand.

See, it goes like that:
* Counterfeiter fakes software.
* Counterfeiter and in between person pose as distributor, selling the windows copies with a SMALL discount.
* Computer shops, always looking for a small gain (as margins are super slim) take that. Mind you, way talk about omaybe 5% less price, but if your margin is only 5% on the product, that doubles your margin.

The shop may not know the software is fake (it was a little chaper, but it could just have been a sale), and the end user definitly does not DEMAND fake software. The whole reason it is so high quality is that the purchase chain (shop, end user) do NOT REALIZE it is fake.

Criminal like hell. Nothing compared to copy some software where both parties know it.

Re:Good show, but hardly enough (1)

mppm (898502) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304684)

I just came back from a month in Shenzhen. On the street you could buy a copy of XP (in a very official looking package) for about 10 yuan, which is a dollar and some change, I guess. Now, on a good day, a copy of XP might actually be worth a couple of dollars, so this could have been a bargain, but even then no one seemed too interested.

So in other words their war on piracy is bull. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22304042)

They caught the guy doing the most damage, so 90% of their problems are over.

Now they can get rid of the ridiculous, buggy, and now completely pointless Windows Genuine Advantage software as well as all the anti-piracy crap in vista and focus on making great innovative empowering software without locking people into the vendor and forcing them to deal with a monopoly.

Right?

90% + 90% + 90%... Do they actually sell anything? (2, Interesting)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304086)

Every time I read news about "piracy", the "pirates" are "stealing" 90% of the money!

Now I wonder:

A - Is it 90% of the 10% left from the previous "pirate" operation?
So, after three or four captures, it becomes clear they are actually selling legally less than 1/100 of a single copy.

B - Are the "pirates" stealing copies from other "pirates" and repitating them?
So, 10% of the copies would be legally sold and 90% would reach the final clients after being "pirated" about twenty times.

Re:90% + 90% + 90%... Do they actually sell anythi (1)

tomithychen (1020563) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304222)

... Or how about 90% of the pirated copies found? It doesn't say 90% of all legal and illegal copies in existence were made by these guys. It says 90% of the ones seized around the world as pirated material were from this one group.

say what? (1)

begbiezen (1081757) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304262)

you're not really making sense.
This is more like counterfeiting than piracy.
They should really use a different word for it. (with no reference to pirates)

mod doWn (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22304106)

to die. I wiil jam

good/bad pirate (1)

rastoboy29 (807168) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304162)

You know, I gotta say, there's a difference between Good and Bad piracy, in my mind.  It seems to me that as long as you aren't making money off it, even indirectly, it's okay.

And yes, I know the Pirate Bay may well be making bank.  But I still bought one of their t-shirts.  We're in a war, you know!

Re:good/bad pirate (3, Insightful)

Icarus1919 (802533) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304304)

Let's not fool ourselves. I pirate things all the time, but I've never told myself what I was doing was "good" piracy.

Re:good/bad pirate (1)

trezima (1168921) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304544)

Yes, agreed. My torrent client is up 24/7 downloading almost exclusively copyrighted material, but I'm aware I shouldn't be doing it. I do it because it's cheaper, faster, easier, more convenient, etc... I'll never understand people that try to make it sound right with faulty arguments.

Re:good/bad pirate (1)

howlingmadhowie (943150) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304728)

my radio is on 24/7 playing almost exclusively copyrighted material, but i'm aware i shouldn't be doing it. i do it because it's cheaper, faster, easier, more convenient, etc... i'll never understand people that try to make it sound right with faulty arguments.

Re:good/bad pirate (1)

trezima (1168921) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304750)

You can't possibly be serious in your reply.

hmmm (1)

begbiezen (1081757) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304840)

It's strange to me that's it's 2008, and you can still find people who think it's wrong to download music, etc. (Oh I'm sorry, I forgot to mention, copyrighted music, etc.) (Sorry forgot that, i mean without that it just wouldn't be wrong)
You people are sheep. Do you realize how many millions of (sleazy) marketing and advertising dollars it took to convince you this?

your are misled (1)

begbiezen (1081757) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304766)

Really?? You mean you guilt trip yourself after downloading a song you heard on the radio??
Generally speaking, piracy (as opposed to counterfeiting) is a good thing. It's sharing.
Cry all you want about lost profits, they don't make sharing wrong.
Interfering with sharing is wrong.

Good for alternative OSs? (1)

that_itch_kid (1155313) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304364)

Catching this guy could prove to be a win for alternative operating system choices like GNU/Linux. It's likely these copies are sold very cheaply to people who can't afford to buy from a real vendor - they may be only seeing the lower price and have no idea that they're getting a non-genuine copy.

If these previous customers can't afford the real copies the stores are selling and don't want to buy bad-quality obvious non-genuine versions, they may decide to switch to a cheaper solution.

Re:Good for alternative OSs? (2, Informative)

thona (556334) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304390)

::It's likely these copies are sold very cheaply to people who can't afford to buy from a real vendor

No, they were not. We talk of high quality - the vendor bought from a distributor, who got it somewhere cheaper than from MS.

SOMEONE up the chain made a hugh profit.

This is the whole crux here - we dont talk about software someone who wants a pirated copy buys. We talk of softwarte that I could buy and sell a customer. Either cheaper (a LITTLE), or for the full price, and not me nor the customer would have to realize it is fake.

Until Genuine Advantage blows one day in a check.

This is criminal as it gets. Counterfeiting goods, including documentation, certificates and all that.

This is not the "ok, i bought a pirated copy" stuff.

Re:Good for alternative OSs? (1)

Calinous (985536) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304500)

If a person can pay $5 for a Windows XP (let's say) copy, he has some ways to get it. In this way, Microsoft is not robbed by any money - after all, Microsoft won't sell XP for $5.
      Yet, those "high quality" copies are sold in place of genuine Microsoft products, with prices close to the original price. Those copies are fighting against the "gray market" originals (original copies brought from another country).
      While "gray market" usually refer to hardware equipment (like let's say ink cartridges) bought from a country with a lower price than from the official/exclusive distributor, this might happen to software also.

Re:Good for alternative OSs? (1)

trezima (1168921) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304676)

Not really.
A lot of the times, a small computer vendor will buy these "quality counterfeit" Windows and Office CDs and add the same price or just a little below the actual MS genuine software to the final computer price to squeeze that little extra profit from people that don't know better.

That's pretty common here in the 3rd world.

High Quality (1)

netpixie (155816) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304432)

Jokes aside, what would be the point of a "low quality" copy?

"Well, its quite a good copy, only 4% of the bits are wrong."

If it's not 100% bit-for-bit accurate, it's a chocolate tea pot.

Re:High Quality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22304454)

Low quality simply is a CD-R and a sharpie.

What's worse? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22304566)

Having a high quality counterfeiter on your ass?
Or not having any high quality counterfeighters to even bother.

Welcome to the Microsoft Vista years.

"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
- Percy Shelley

hmmmm (4, Funny)

muszek (882567) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304578)

90% of the supply for a gigantic market is gone? Seems like a perfect business opportunity :)

Maximus! Maximus! Maximus! (1)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304612)

Wait... so if the evil pirate guy is Maximus, does that make Microsoft Commodus?
Will Huang Jer-sheng and Emprorer Bill duke it out like gladiators?
Will Gates fix the fight by embracing our pirate/gladiator hero and then extending a poison dagger into him?
This sounds like a reality TV show in the making.

Strategic FUD? (2, Insightful)

Bones3D_mac (324952) | more than 6 years ago | (#22304738)

Considering just how adamant Microsoft has been about killing off XP, it makes one wonder if the "high quality" label used here may allow the guy to become a practical scapegoat for Microsoft, should they attempt some underhanded tactic like setting their authentication system to automatically flag all future XP serial numbers it encounters as pirated, regardless of the product's legitimacy. By claiming all currently unsold retail and system builder versions of XP are pirate copies, it wouldn't take much to bury the OS beyond a mass recall of all unsold discs to be used as "evidence".

Of course, this couldn't ever really happen, but it does make you think...
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