APAC unlicensed software rate drops, but still highest globally

Rate of unlicensed software in Asia-Pacific dipped to 57 percent last year from 61 percent in 2015, costing software vendors an estimated US$16.4 billion in losses, compared to US$19.1 billion in 2015.
Written by Eileen Yu, Senior Contributing Editor

The rate of unlicensed software in Asia-Pacific has dipped to 57 percent, but the region remains home to the highest percentage of such software worldwide.

That figure from 2017 was a 4 percent drop from 61 percent in 2015, according to Business Software Alliance's 2018 Global Software Survey, which is updated once every two years. The industry group, which represents the interests of members such as Microsoft, Oracle, and Salesforce.com, estimated that the commercial value of unlicensed software in the region totalled US$16.4 billion last year, a drop from US$19.1 billion in 2015.

Asia-Pacific, however, remained the region with the highest rate of unlicensed software, said BSA, pointing to the global average rate of 37 percent and losses of US$46.3 billion.

The group reiterated the security risks of using unlicensed software, which it said exposed businesses to malware and cyberattacks.

BSA's Asia-Pacific senior director for enforcement, Tarun Sawney, said: "It is alarming that 45 percent of consumers surveyed say their organisations do not have a policy on the use of unlicensed software or that they do not know, which is worse than the 2015 survey."

In addition, 25 percent of businesses in the region did not have policies in place to govern the software that employees installed.

Across Asia-Pacific, Bangladesh had the highest rate of unlicensed software, at 84 percent, followed by Indonesia and Pakistan, which each clocked at 83 percent. Japan and New Zealand, at 16 percent each, had the lowest rates. Australia's unlicensed software use registered at 18 percent.

China's rate of unlicensed software also fell to 66 percent in 2017, from 70 percent two years prior, while Vietnam cut its use of such software to 74 percent, from 78 percent.

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