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Usage of Unlicensed Software Declines as Cloud Computing Grows: Report

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Cloud computing is reducing unlicensed software use, but 43 percent of PC software installed in 2013 were still unlicensed or not properly licensed. This according to a survey published Tuesday by the Business Software Alliance (BSA). The BSA Global Software Survey 2014 shows illegal software use continuing to decline in North America and Western Europe, where cloud computing is most common.

While the global numbers do not indicate an overall decline in improperly licensed software, emerging economies made up an even larger majority of software installations in 2013 than previously. Those economies have the highest rates of unlicensed software, and the lowest rates of cloud adoption.

The report attributes the effect of cloud on software licenses to the outsourced nature of cloud, and also indirectly to the cloud price wars.

“It seems clear that the growth of cloud services will lower unlicensed software use by giving vendors greater control of the distribution of software and continual views of usage, and by lowering the upfront costs for customers and providing continual services and enhancements. Vendors also are offering special incentives and prices to spur adoption,” according to the report.

Cloud computing is also enabling users to shift workloads to mobile devices, which have lower rates of unlicensed software than PCs.

“In a sense, it makes the software prices more affordable,” said Roland Chan, a senior director at BSA told The Japan Times. “So as cloud computing, as the use of tablets and smartphones as computing devices takes over more from PCs, we expect that the unlicensing rate will decline.”

User credential and password sharing allows cloud users to avoid licensing protections, and credential sharing has risen from 42 percent in 2011 to 52 percent or respondents in 2013.

A recent Forrester report predicts that software sales will lead cloud growth in 2014.

 

 

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