Software piracy watch: Bolivia loses US$55mn/y, Puebla among 5 states with highest rates

- Monday, November 28, 2011

Software piracy watch: Bolivia loses US$55mn/y, Puebla among 5 states with highest rates

Bolivia reported at least US$55mn in losses due to illegal software use this year, Alberto Mariaca, head of Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT) local unit, was quoted as saying by press.

"According to our most recent studies, Bolivia loses approximately US$55mn a year to software piracy. These are tax losses for the country," he said.

Bolivia's software piracy rate currently reaches up to 80%, though it seems to be decreasing year-over-year, Mariaca added.

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According to the executive, the fight against software piracy requires joint work by the government, the private sector and citizens.

Bolivia's software industry comprises 200 companies, which move close to US$100mn a year.

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About 80% of software used in Mexico's Puebla state is illegal, which places it among the five states with the highest piracy rates in the country, local paper Milenio reported.

This issue inhibits development of local software companies and directly affects employment, the IT director of Universidad de las Américas Puebla (UDLAP), Fernando Thompson, was quoted as saying.

During the last few years, illegal software sales have grown at "alarming" rates; since 2006, software piracy has increased 9% a year.

"We are talking about 20bn pesos [US$1.42bn] in losses for the software industry [in Mexico] every year," said Thompson, who believes the problem is more cultural than economic.

Lowering software prices has been proposed as a possible solution to the problem, to increase sales of legal software, together with awareness campaigns for consumers.