A third of global PC software is pirated, claims BSA

But less than a quarter of software is stolen in saintly New Zealand

More than a third of the software installed on PCs worldwide during 2004 was pirated, with losses from unauthorised software increasing by US$4 billion (NZ$5.6 billion) from 2003, according to a study released on Wednesday by the software trade group Business Software Alliance (BSA).

Thirty-five percent of all software installed on PCs was pirated, down from 36% in 2003, according to the study, conducted by research firm IDC.

Estimated losses from software piracy climbed, however, from US$29 billion to US$33 billion, as both the legal and unauthorised software markets grew from 2003 to 2004. IDC estimated that US$90 billion worth of software was installed in 2004, compared to US$80 billion in 2003, with sales of legal software growing 6%.

Countries using the most pirated software, according to IDC, are Vietnam, Ukraine, China and Zimbabwe. Ninety percent or more of the software used in those countries was pirated during 2004, according to the BSA report. In more than half the 87 countries studied, software piracy exceeded 60%.

IDC estimates that 21% of software in the U.S. was pirated, compared to 23% in New Zealand, and 27% in the UK. Austria and Sweden were also among the countries with the lowest software piracy rates.

For the study, IDC used proprietary statistics for software and hardware shipments, and it conducted more than 7,000 interviews in 23 countries, and enlisted IDC analysts in more than 50 countries to review market conditions.

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