News Column

Cloud computing forecast to curb unlicensed software use

June 24, 2014



The rising use of cloud computing will help to curtail unlicensed software use, anti-software piracy watchdog said in its latest report released Tuesday.

"It seems clear that the growth of cloud services will lower unlicensed software use by giving vendors greater control of the distribution of software and continual views of usage, and by lowering the upfront costs for customers and providing continual services and enhancements," industry lobby group Business Software Alliance said in a report.

Aside from cloud computing, a slowdown in shipments of new personal computers and the rapid growth in smart cell phones are also positive factors in combating software piracy, it said in its BSA Global Software Survey, which is conducted every other year.

"In a sense, it makes the software prices more affordable," said Roland Chan, a senior director at BSA. "So as cloud computing, as the use of tablets and smartphones as computing devices takes over more from PC, we expect that the unlicensing rate will decline."

"PC sales are still growing but the growth in tablets and smart phones is much faster," said Victor Lim, vice president at IDC Asia-Pacific, which was involved in producing the report. "In the future, yes, we believe that this will be one of the factors that will curb piracy rates."

However, the impact is still minimal as present as cloud computing accounts for only 9 percent of the US$398 billion global software market. Also, it is more widespread in developed economies rather than emerging economies, where software piracy is more pervasive.

"Unlicensed software use continued to be a major problem in 2013," the report said, with the global rate of unlicensed software use at 43 percent last year, amounting to a total commercial value of US$62 billion.

The Asia-Pacific region still has the highest rate of unlicensed software use at 62 percent last year. China has one of the world's highest rates at 74 percent.

A worrying sign cited by the report is that only one third of companies globally have written policies in place to ensure that they use only licensed software, even though IT managers are aware of the threat of using such software such as vulnerability to hackers' attacks and loss of data.

Japan remains one of the countries with the lowest rate of unlicensed software use, at 19 percent last year, which is the same figure for North America, excluding Mexico, which has the lowest regional rate.



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Source: Japan Economic Newswire


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