Middle East is winning war on software pirates

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By  Published  September 29, 2006

Software piracy levels are falling in the Middle East even though the number of personal computers being sold and IT penetration is increasing, industry body Business Software Alliance (BSA) said this month.

Software piracy levels in the Middle East dropped one percentage point in 2005 to 57%, according to the third annual BSA global software piracy study, published in collaboration with research firm IDC.

Although this decline is small, it is notable in comparison with global software piracy rates, which were unchanged at 35%.

Meanwhile, PC unit sales across the GCC states alone grew 38.7% in 2005, according to statistics from Madar Research, cited by the BSA.

BSA said that software piracy rates fell in 18 out of 26 countries in the Middle East and Africa region that were covered by the BSA and IDC study.

The UAE’s performance in curbing software piracy was particularly noteworthy with the country registering the lowest piracy rate of 34% in the region, despite registering the GCC region’s highest growth in PC unit sales during 2005.

The level of piracy in the UAE was lower than some European countries and also below that of the global piracy rate, BSA noted, making it the only Arab country among the top 20 countries with the lowest piracy rates in the world.

The BSA attributed the decline in software piracy levels to the success of its own and government initiatives.

“The UAE government has played a commendable role in bringing down software piracy levels, which has resulted in the country’s IT sector growing into a US$1.3 billion industry today,” said co-chairman of BSA Middle East Jawad Al Redha.

The BSA will “continue its initiatives to enable the region’s IT industry to reach its potential by creating a healthy climate for IT investments and entrepreneurial activity and generating new job opportunities,” Al Redha went on to say.

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