The commercial value of unlicensed software in Zimbabwe in 2015 was US$7 million. For the past 7 years, Zimbabwe has had an average rate of unlicensed software at 92%, the highest in the world. These are the statistics given by the BSA Global Software Study of 2016. We decided to take a look at some of the reasons why Zimbabwe tops the list and have a few solutions that could help.
There are a number of reasons why people in Zimbabwe use unlicensed software. Here are some of these reasons;
Genuine software is expensive
To be brutally honest, the price to pay is usually a bit steep for the ordinary Zimbabwean. I remember as a student in college, I basically had zero licensed software in my PC. It was just too expensive. This will always be the case with an economic situation like ours.
There are those few times when you are actually ready to buy the software and you get that message, ‘This material is not available in your country.’ This forms a perfectly good excuse for pirating any software even for the most upright individual.
Most people are just habitual pirates. The world of piracy is magnetic, once one is in too deep its a bit difficult to make it out. It isn’t surprising to find someone looking for free software on torrent sites!
Lack of Knowledge
Some users do not actually know that there should be any licensing of software. Some just don’t get why one should buy something they can get for free. When freebies are given, like what Microsoft did with Windows 10
There just isn’t enough software vendors around. The few that exist are either selling corporate software or are actually selling pirate software. It’s not rare to see a 2016 game disk going for US$3 in Zimbabwe.
A few solutions
Some software companies like Microsoft have volume licensing which allows installations on multiple computers. This is a cost effective licensing method especially for organisations and public institutions. This form of licensing could also benefit individuals in Zimbabwe if organisations like Innovation hubs and Startup incubators could adopt it. A very good example of such an arrangement is the CFO app being offered for free by Steward bank to all of its ZamaZama account holders
There is just tonnes of free proprietary software out there, just take time to find it. Always be on the lookout for free offers like the recently ended free Windows 10 upgrade. Many users dread to move onto new stuff hence lose out on freebies.
Most people usually have the ‘wrong version’ of a software for their particular use. Software packages usually come in different tires or classes and one should always choose what works for them. It’s not necessary to always want the highest level or most features. Understand your needs before purchasing your software, it always saves you money. Some companies like AutoDesk have free student licenses which can even be used in a professional setup for non-extensive purposes.
Why pirating is bad
This is really an old song, but just in case some are not sure here are a few points;
- Quality is not guaranteed
- Free file-sharing sites (where most pirated material resides) often transmit viruses and ad-ware.
- Copyright infringement is a criminal offence
- No tech support. You have to be cautious about which crack/activator you use