software piracy as a business strategy

Reminds me of big tobacco giving away free smokes to kids.

Bill Gates on Piracy: “They’ll get addicted, and then we’ll collect.”

The proliferation of pirated copies nevertheless establishes Microsoft products — particularly Windows and Office — as the software standard. As economies mature and flourish and people and companies begin buying legitimate versions, they usually buy Microsoft because most others already use it. It’s called the network effect.

Bill Gates acknowledged in an unguarded moment in 1998. “Although about 3 million computers get sold every year in China, people don’t pay for the software. Someday they will, though.”

“And as long as they’re going to steal it, we want them to steal ours. They’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade.”

How Piracy Opens Doors for Windows – Los Angeles Times

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