Bulgaria and Microsoft have struck an agreement under which the Bulgarian government will legalise all its pirated copies of Microsoft's software, according to a joint statement issued Friday.
The Bulgarian government will pay Microsoft $US586,000 for the pirated software in two installations, which amounts to a 40% discount on the original price, confirmed Carola Shielein, a spokeswoman for Microsoft Eastern Europe.
Asked how many illegal copies the Bulgarian government held, Shielein responded: "Nearly everything the Bulgarian government had was illegal." Bulgaria is one of the biggest, illegal-software users worldwide after China, according to Shielein. The illegal copies included different versions of Microsoft's Windows operating system as well as copies of programs such as Office '97, she said. The government now wants to acquire legal updates of these programs.
The move is also designed to show NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) and the European Union that Bulgaria is serious about complying with international standards, according to the statement.
As part of the deal, Microsoft has agreed to hold technology seminars for IT specialists within the Bulgarian government, the statement said. Microsoft will also work with Bulgarian schools and universities to help them gain access to the newest Microsoft technology.
Microsoft, in Redmond, Washington, can be reached at +1-425-882-8080 or at http://www.microsoft.com/.