Pakistan a friendlier place for software makers

Ranks lower than the developed and the developing world in piracy.

Farooq Baloch May 19, 2013
1% is Pakistan’s share in the global value of unlicensed software in dollar terms.


When it comes to software piracy, Pakistan is far behind many other countries – both in mature and emerging markets – in terms of commercial value of the unlicensed software, however, as a percentage of total pirated software used in the country, it easily beats the regional as well as global piracy rates.

Pakistan’s software piracy rate hovered around 86% in 2011, according to a Business Software Alliance (BSA) Global Software Piracy Study, which was released in May 2012. This is much higher than Asia Pacific’s piracy rate of 60% and more than double of the global software piracy rate of 42%

BSA, a global association of the world’s largest software companies, has yet to compile the data for the year 2012. The aforesaid study, however, estimated the total global value of unlicensed software to be $63.4 billion in 2011 up from $58.8 billion in 2010.

In 2011, the software piracy cost the original software makers in Pakistan $278 million in lost sales, according to the BSA study. This was a 28% increase compared to $217 million, which was the value of unlicensed software Pakistanis installed on their PCs in 2010 – the piracy rate in India fell by one percentage point to 63% but it still cost software vendors $2.9 billion in 2011.

The BSA attributed the rise in software piracy to record shipments of computing devices that went to the emerging markets. Emerging markets took 56% of the world’s new PC shipments in 2011, the report said, now accounting for more than half of all the PCs in use.

Pakistan’s pirated software is not even one per cent of the global value of the unlicensed software in dollar terms. However, it was ranked 115 out of 116 countries in the world in terms of software piracy as percentage of total software in use, The News reported in May, 2011, quoting a 2010 research study by International Data Corporation.

“Pirated software does more damage to the local software industry and the economy than the software vendor,” Haseeb Shaukat, business manager at the Microsoft Innovation Centre said.

Most software companies – Microsoft, SAP, IBM and Oracle for example – work with a network of local partners for software deployment, Shaukat said. These vendors develop software but they do not give their software, with the exception of few, directly to the end users, he said. There is an ecosystem whereby local partners deploy the software at the customer end and have a higher earnings margin than the software provider itself.

Pirated software affects the whole ecosystem, Shaukat said, thus hurts the local software industry – the network partners.

Commercial value of pirated value of PC software in top 20 economies in 2011               

CountriesUnited States








United Kingdom







South Korea






Pirated value ($ in million)                Piracy rate9,773                                                              19%

8,902                                                              77%

3,227                                                              63%

2,930                                                              53%

2,848                                                              37%

2,754                                                              26%

2,265                                                              48%

1,945                                                              26%

1,943                                                              21%

1,875                                                              86%

1,467                                                              57%

1,249                                                              44%

1,216                                                              27%

1,141                                                              27%

852                                                                 72%

815                                                                 40%

763                                                                 23%

668                                                                 88%

657                                                                 55%

657                                                                 69%

278                                                                 86%


Published in The Express Tribune, May 20th, 2013.

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Antebellum | 8 years ago | Reply

In 2011, the software piracy cost the original software makers in Pakistan $278 million in lost sales, according to the BSA study.

Wrong assertion. This figure is the retail value of the softwares pirated, but if the people had to actually purchase these softwares, instead of pirating them, most people would not. Hence, the actual (true) lost-sales figure would be much smaller!

There is a saying in Urdu: Maal-e-muft, dil-e-berehem!

Muhammad | 8 years ago | Reply

The issue is not the price, its the availability of the service in the region.

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