July 15, 2008, 10:53 AM — A recent study shows that reducing piracy will benefit Microsoft VARs, arguing that the VARs' income will increase as a result. The IDC study, which was sponsored by Microsoft and the International Association of Microsoft Certified Partners, says that VARs, rather than retailers, would be the biggest beneficiary from a reduction in piracy.
However, the article linked to above suggests that many experts disagree with the study, saying that it is based on unproven assumptions. It's obviously true that VARs shouldn't risk providing pirated software, or doing business with a company that has deployed pirated software. But there are also factors that have to be included in the calculation, including how much a VAR will lose by walking away from a deal when it discovers illegal software. Another claim of the study that may be incorrect is that pirated software tends to be buggy--when in fact, a lot of pirated, or noncompliant software, is not counterfeit, but is actually an illegal copy made from legal software.
And emerging countries present a whole other factor. In countries where you can buy illegal copies of just about any software on the market for five bucks, many companies don't even include a budget for software.
So there are two schools of thought at work here--the Microsoft-funded study says that VARs make more money with lower levels of piracy and unlicensed software; but the contrary argument is that when a partner walks away from a deal when it is discovered that the client uses illegal software, there is an obvious loss in revenue.