Only a third of PCs being shipped to Africa include genuine software, which is a reason for the increase in data breaches and malware attacks in the region.
This is according to Deniz Ozen, regional general manager for consumer and device sales at Microsoft Middle East and Africa.
Ozen said that this has resulted in the loss of important data and decreased productivity on the continent.
Benefits of legal software for Africa
“Africa’s emerging market potential is unparalleled and business development and the growth of existing SME’s remains a key focus across the continent,” Microsoft said in a statement.
“To tap into this potential growth, access to affordable genuine software and hardware is necessary if the digital divide is to be closed.”
Microsoft believes that access to genuine software ensures comprehensive security for devices and data, making legitimate software important to the long-term success of businesses.
The same applies to students who rely heavily on access to devices, software and information to complete their required tasks and projects.
Fixing the piracy problem
The Software Alliance said in its June 2018 report that the overall rate of pirated software in the Middle East and Africa region stood at 56%.
“Pirated software is often installed without the end user’s knowledge, and it is those users who suffer the consequences including lost data and unusable PCs,” said Microsoft.
Microsoft EMEA VP of consumer and device sales Bradley Hopkinson told MyBroadband in October that Microsoft has various measures in place to fight piracy in South Africa and in Africa as a whole.
“We have come up with a programme called the Africa Coverage Programme, which is an affordability programme with our multinational partners,” said Hopkinson.
“Effectively, it is a programme that we believe will address affordability, and at the same time we need to drive awareness for the value of genuine software, which we will do as part of that programme.”
Microsoft has also launched its Windows PC Affordability in Africa Initiative, which aims to reduce the prevalence of Microsoft software piracy in the African market.
‘’Through the Windows PC Affordability in Africa Initiative, we aim to educate consumers on the risks of using pirated software, and to work with our PC ecosystem partners including Acer, ASUS, Dell, Intel, Lenovo, Mustek and SMD to make Genuine Windows 10 PCs more affordable across Africa,” said Hopkinson.
“We have high aspirations to bring piracy almost to zero across Africa. We see a world across Africa where we can get genuine Windows in excess of 80% and even higher, and that is also based on the success we’ve seen through similar programmes in other emerging markets.”