Microsoft: Cloud Computing Will Reduce Software Piracy In Africa

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Written by Dana Sanchez

Many businesses across Africa cannot afford the high cost of good software, which helps protect their ideas and the intellectual property behind the success of their businesses, according to Daniel Kamau, Microsoft anti-piracy lead for West, East and Central Africa and the Indian Ocean Islands.

The software piracy rate in Africa is as high as 80 percent, according to the latest Business Software Alliance figures, Kamau said in a report he wrote in HispanicBusiness.

Buying and upgrading properly licensed software can make up 80 percent of a business’s expenditure on information technology, Kamau said. One of the biggest challenges small and medium-sized enterprises face is finding technology that meets their needs without breaking the bank.

Cloud computing is a solution, Kamau said. Broadband availability in Africa has increased, driving data costs down. Cloud computing is starting to shape the way people communicate and conduct business on the continent.

Cloud means that instead of relying on IT infrastructure and hardware, everything can be hosted and managed online, or in the cloud – from storing data, managing servers, and accessing applications and software.

The immediate cost benefits of the cloud are huge,  Kamau said, especially for companies that don’t have the capital for IT infrastructure investment.

Moving to the cloud offers savings that come from different and flexible software pricing models. In one, cloud customers can buy access to software and applications as they need them.

Instead of paying for all software up front, including more capacity than might be necessary right away, software is rented. Users only pay for what they use, as they use it. This can save customers up to 20 percent of their software budget without them having to compromise on quality.

Running software online means access to automatic updates and patches, which is more cost-effective than having to buy and install a whole new program. This also lowers IT costs as the latest version of software is available without the need for IT support.

Cloud computing has the potential to transform the region. It enables global growth for businesses and provides an alternative to piracy in emerging markets where companies lack traditional infrastructure, said Microsoft’s Kamau.