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Piracy costs software companies in Saudi SR1 billion

IT investment in Saudi continues to rise, but so does the level of software piracy

The volume of PCs in Saudi Arabia is on the rise, but so is the amount of software piracy. Software companies operating in the Kingdom lost an estimated SR1 billion to software pirates during 2000.

Foraged software accounts for approximated 73% of the total software in circulation in the Kingdom, said Abdul Aziz Al Dahshan, manager of a Riyadh-based computer company.

Efforts by Saudi authorities to curb the imports of pirate software recently led to several ‘thousand dollar,’ hauls of fake software being stopped before it entered the Kingdom. Further counter measures hope to reduce the volume of pirated software by 20% during 2001.

The struggle against software piracy is expected to intensify as IT investment rockets throughout 2001. According to Ali Dhamiri, general manager of Compaq’s Saudi operation, some 223,000 PCs, worth approximately $500 million were sold in the Kingdom during 2000. 35% of all PCs sold in the Kingdom during 2000 were locally assembled, added Dhamiri.

Furthermore, Compaq’s local general manager predicts the PC market will grow a further 19% during 2001, as more private sector businesses and government agencies embrace IT.

The volume of hardware, software, networking and services market was worth an estimated $2 billion last year, he added.

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