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Microsoft celebrates antipiracy day

The software maker plans coordinated activities in 49 countries as part of effort to draw attention to the impact of piracy.

Microsoft antipiracy map
Microsoft is touting its actions in 49 countries its Global Anti-Piracy Day. (Click on the map to go to a Microsoft site for the interactive aspects of the map.)

Microsoft plans on Tuesday to announce "Global Anti-Piracy Day," an effort to gain attention for the steps the company undertakes in order to thwart those who would profit from illegitimate software.

As part of the event, Microsoft is highlighting recent antipiracy efforts in 49 countries, ranging from the filing of lawsuits in the U.S. to a seminar for journalists in Pakistan.

It's the kind of thing that Microsoft does all the time, although the company is aiming for some added ink by grouping together so many actions at once.

"One of the things we want to illustrate with this announcement is the diverse nature of the work," associate general counsel David Finn said in an interview from Singapore.

The third pillar of Microsoft's efforts is its engineering work, adding programs like Windows Genuine Advantage that are designed to make it harder--and less rewarding--to copy Microsoft's products.

Whether it's a testament to tougher engineering or the lukewarm response to Vista, or some combination, Windows XP continues to be copied far more than its successor.

"We continue to see much more counterfeit Windows XP," said Finn, who actually says the company is predicting a rise in XP pirating as the last legitimate copies of the OS wind their way off retail shelves.

Overall, Finn said Microsoft and the software industry are making progress in some areas. He noted that the piracy rate in Western Europe has dropped to about 34 percent from the 78 percent level in 1991.

At the same time, however, rates still top 90 percent in some emerging markets. And even in the U.S., where rates are a relatively low 20 percent, that still means 1 in 5 software installations are illegitimate.

"It thwarts innovation," he said.