Tag Archives: piracy

Mar 28
2012 

Do software vendors intentionally allow ways to bypass their enforcement mechanism?

This is a juicy question was posed on Quora (http://b.qr.ae/HmF392). I was intrigued by a couple of the responses and added my own.  Here is my view…

The answer is yes but mostly no. Confused?

Here’s how it usually works…

First, software vendors separate compliance strategy from piracy prevention because they are inherently different beasts. This can be done by placing their customers along a compliance continuum.  On the left you have customers who go to lengths to be compliant and will gladly pay for software they use regardless of whether the software has license enforcement or not. On the right you have users who intentionally use pirated software and wouldn’t pay for it if they couldn’t steal it. The vendor’s focus is clearly on the left end of the scale since this offers the largest revenue opportunity.  The right is often nothing more than noise.

When vendors introduce license enforcement, the most common philosophy (by far) is to consider the enforcement a tool that will help keep their honest customers doing the right thing and to facilitate creative licensing models. All software license enforcement tools have some level of vulnerability. However, the software market usually considers the higher-end commercial enforcement products more than adequate to cover ~90%+ of their continuum, working from left to right.

That 10% is essentially the topic of the original question posed in this post. The software vendor asks itself if it really cares about investing additional time and resources making the enforcement more air-tight to further prevent piracy by users who would never pay them.

All said, there is always a point of diminishing return and vendors choose to not care a whole lot about usage where they’d never see any revenue.

I agree with the premise that many companies would rather see users stealing their software than paying a competitor. However, applying the notion of the compliance continuum, the real money is typically on the left end of the scale with companies that wouldn’t use pirated software in the first place so the revenue in question is likely a fudge factor at best.

What do you think?

Jul 27
2011 

When Does Software Monetization End for SaaS?

Great companies consider and plan for the whole user experience – the product, its price, how its purchased, updates through its life and the service and support provided.

In the days when products were purchased up front – and the monetary relationship came to a close – all the burden was on the buyer to research, plan and hope that, after parting with their money (monetization ends), the product will have met and continued to meet or exceed their expectations.  Because the customer experience often falls below this mark – and yes, sometimes with enterprise software – the dynamics of the buyer/vendor relationship are changing.

Jul 5
2011 

Can Piracy be Good for Business?

Two recent events caused me to stop and consider whether piracy could be considered good for business.

The first example involves a children’s book.  You may have heard of this particular book as it’s causing something of a stir. “Go the XXXX to Sleep” is written as a humorous book (a “Children’s book for Adults” per the author) that focuses on the difficulties some parents face when it comes to getting their children to sleep.

What’s remarkable is that it managed to grab the number 1 slot on Amazon’s bestseller list – a month before release.  However, what makes it even more remarkable is

Jan 24
2011 

The New York Time on Software Piracy in China

In the past we have discussed how many of our customers are interested in fighting piracy in developing nations. Hard data is always a challenge. The New York Times posted a great article yesterday that looked at through a rather unique and powerful view. Hardware is much harder to “pirate” than software. In general, the two are also often sold together. While virtual machines may over time change the ratios in general it’s a safe bet to assume predictable ratios between a countries hardware and software purchases. An increase in one should result in an increase in the other.

Click here to read the article on their site as it delves deeper into this area.

Apr 27
2010 

The Three P’s of Licensing

I don’t know if they teach this in every MBA program, but I am sure you have heard that every business case can be boiled down to a certain number of “P”s. It is just a question of how many…some have 4 P’s, some have 5; but in this world of Twitter and brevity, I am going to go with the three that matter most when you think about creating licensing approaches for software: Piracy, Portability, and Profitability.