Software privacy concerns as Windows 8 goes live in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwean government officials have addressed the growing issue of pirated software as Microsoft launched Windows 8 in the country.

“From the rankings that were done by the Business Software Alliance in terms of software piracy, our country is not faring well and it’s a source of concern for us policy makers,” said Nelson Chamisa, Communication Technology Minister.

The problem, according to Chamisa, lies in the cost of software as pirated versions are cheaper to obtain that the original products.

Chamisa suggested that software developers should work on a pricing model to fit the needs of emerging countries like Zimbabwe.

Eric Odipo, General Manager at Microsoft East and Southern Africa, is of the opinion customers should be more aware of the different Microsoft products despite access challenges.

“If you take Office for example, many people tend to buy the most expensive Office product, when in reality they might not use a number of programs that come with it,” Odipo told TechZim.

“Office Professional comes with Publisher, Access and Outlook which many people will never use,” he added.

The latest version of Windows will be sold at an estimated price of US$300, and Windows 8 Pro at US$375 countrywide.

“We are putting our heads together as government, the ICT Suppliers Association of Zimbabwe, the Computer Society of Zimbabwe and Microsoft to sensitize and create awareness of the bad effects of piracy,” Sam Kundishora, Permanent Secretary in the ICT Ministry, said at the Windows 8 launch.

Odipo said that Microsoft is also developing anti-piracy plans.

“The first point of contact when we deal with piracy is our own channel. So we look in-house. We know that much of the pirating is done through our own channel,” he told TechZim.

While Chamisa admitted Zimbabwe has gained a reputation for piracy, Kundishora commented that the government is not concerned about the global ranking of the country’s piracy figures.

As well as Windows 8, already available in other African countries such as South Africa since October last year, Microsoft also promoted the Windows Server 2012, Office 13 and Microsoft 4Afrika initiative at the launch in Harare.

Microsoft Surface tablets will also be sold in Zimbabwe.

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