According to a recent survey by the Business Software Alliance, 35% of all software installed on computers is pirated software. The theft, they say, amounts to $40 billion in global losses.
It seems that the more expensive software is, the more likely people are to steal it. Although they say only 35% of software is stolen, they also state that for every $2 worth of software purchased, $1 worth of software is stolen.
Do people want to steal software, or are they backed into a corner by the high cost? The exorbitant prices of critical business software like Microsoft office is beyond the budgets of many people in wealthy countries, let alone those in countries where poverty is rampant and business owners are doing whatever they can to stay on top.
This isn’t to say that stealing software is acceptable – it’s not. But is there another way to create quality software without charging people more than they can afford?
Many companies are moving to the SaaS (Software as a Service) model of profiting from software. With SaaS, software isn’t sent via CD or downloaded, it’s accessed online and users pay a monthly subscription. This cuts down on piracy drastically.
It also cuts down on up-front costs for users and can increases profits for vendors. Using software as a service, customers quite often pay more that they would have for software over time in monthly fees than if they would have purchased it up front. But because monthly subscription costs are more manageable, subscribers can easily make the payment.
As we’ve mentioned before, SalesForce.com has been one of the most successful SaaS companies. At first, the idea seemed ridiculous and foreign to many, but now it’s become apparent just how forward-thinking SalesForce was from the get-go.