Piracy of software, and why it helps software companies

bit-torrent.jpgHow many of you guys reading this blog have actually purchased a copy of Photoshop, Illustrator, or Windows XP? Well, I own a legal copy of Windows XP Home Edition because my Toshiba laptop came with it, and the license price is included in my retail purchase. Other than that, honestly, how many people actually buy them?

With the pricing of the software, it’s more or less impossible for most freelance designers/developers (like me) to purchase the software. It’s too much of a burden, especially if you consider that they come up with a new version every 2 years or so, or even less. The Adobe Creative Suite 2 Premium bundle costs $1,199.00 US.

I recall something that Bill Gates said about the issue of piracy of Windows 98 a few years back. The piracy situation was pretty bad in South-East Asia (and the rest of the world) and he did not seem to mind. I can’t remember the exact quote, but it was something to the effect of “I don’t mind them using my software for free as long as they are using it. I understand they cannot afford the price, especially in this part of the world.”

Let me interpret that statement.

As Windows becomes more and more popular, and more wide-spread, it will create a monopoly in the OS world. If the general public all across the world is used to this platform, and file formats/computer instructions/expected skillsets are all accustomed to that of Microsoft Windows, I will be happy, because ultimately the sales will come. Large corporations will have to buy our software because of licensing regulations. We cannot track down all the individual users, but the companies and government agencies will have to buy them. There are other software that work well with Windows that we can make, and the rest of the software industry will code their work to our standards. Computer hardware will be manufactured to our standards. By letting the little ones go, the big one comes in later.

Essentially, the motive is this : if the general public (or in the case of Adobe software, the developers) is adapted well to a certain company’s software, their products are bound to sell eventually. That explains why they put the large price-stickers on. The larger companies will have to buy them because they can be more easily tracked down for abuse. Also for the sake of stability and guaranteed updates/support, the larger corporations with more on the line will purchase these licenses at the high price. Think about it – if the majority of young and upcoming designers/developers all used Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, what else would the big design companies buy?

Now, you are probably asking the following questions :

  1. If that’s the case, why don’t they simply make their software free for the public but make sure business/government agencies purchase?

    The unattainable is more valuable. Nobody takes a 100% free software as serious as they would with a software that is available only through a crack, and takes a day to download through torrent files. Just because it has to be obtained illegally, it appears to be better. It’s simple psychology. If it’s free it’s not that great. If you have to steal it, it’s valuable.

    Also, do keep in mind that if these software companies wanted to make it more difficult to pirate their software, they could. They could have a method where the software has to do a live-query to a database on their server every time it runs, in order to validate an ownership. And they could have additional security measures where upon the automatic update, it screws up your software if the CD Key, activation key, and the owner’s name does not match. They do not go this far – they always make it tough enough to be taken seriously!

  2. Couldn’t they simply drop the prices of the software?

    Whether the Creative Suite is $1,199.00 or $399, the piracy rate will still remain the same. Let’s put it this way. Unless you are loaded with cash, would you turn from Bit Torrent to the Adobe online store if the price dropped to that price? No way. You’d still want to save the $399 and search the torrent database. And by dropping this price, they are reducing their potential revenue to be had from businesses/government agencies etc.

    Now, if they dropped the price to $50 or something ridiculous like that, many people would choose to purchase it for the convenience and security of it – IF they took it seriously. At $50 it is hard to appear to be the “industry standard for vector graphics” as Illustrator boasts to be. High price and a mild difficulty of obtaining it upholds the authority of the software as the standard.

So there it is. If you guys all thought Adobe is a sucker because you’re able to use $1,199 worth of their programs for free, think again. They’re not idiots – it’s carefully plotted out so they can secure the larger revenue!

So there. There’s a one of my many conspiracy theories… more to come!

By |2007-02-23T12:06:50-08:00February 14th, 2007|Categories: Marketing and Media|14 Comments

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