MICROSOFT TO PIRATES: PRETTY PLEASE?
WHEN BILL CLINTON VISITS Brazil next month, his entourage won't be the only Yankees practicing the fine art of diplomacy. During the President's stay, Microsoft is set to announce a deal worth $10 million to supply PC software to 300,000 Brazilian public schools. In return, the government will tell teachers to use only legal software. But more broadly, in a country where an estimated 68% of the software in use last year was pirated, Microsoft hopes this public gesture of paying for software--albeit at rock-bottom prices--will set a trend.
The Brazil deal is part of an international initiative by a software industry weary of losing an estimated $11 billion a year to pirates. No longer are companies relying on threatened trade sanctions. Instead, agreements--similar to the Brazilian sale--have been forged by various software makers with countries as far-flung as Egypt, China, and Mexico. ''In the past, you'd have a bunch of cowboys going around the world threatening people,'' says Orlando Ayala, Microsoft's vice-president of international operations. ''That's not the way to do it.''
The new approach seems to be paying off: Microsoft figures that it booked an extra $100 million in 1997 internationally thanks to its antipiracy efforts.
EDITED BY PAT WECHSLER
Updated Sept. 11, 1997 by bwwebmaster
Copyright 1997, Bloomberg L.P.