Microsoft Praises Florida Executive Order To Prevent Software Piracy in State Government

Gov. Bush Begins New Year With Avowed Dedication to Technology Growth in the State

REDMOND, Wash., Jan. 9, 2001 — Microsoft Corp. officials today applauded the state of Florida and Gov. Jeb Bush for beginning the new year with a renewed commitment and strong government policy to prevent software piracy in Florida state government agencies. With the executive order Gov. Bush has signed, Florida becomes the ninth state to issue an executive order or decree requiring state agencies to acquire and use only genuine software products.

Since President Clinton issued a national executive order against software piracy in October 1998, many states have followed suit, recognizing the importance of the software and technology industries to the health of state and regional economies. In Florida, the order will be executed and overseen through the Florida State Technology Office, headed by Florida’s first State Chief Information Officer, Roy Cales.

“Counterfeit and other forms of pirated software expose consumers – including state departments and agencies – to the risk of computer viruses, reduced technical support and other problems that prevent the efficient operation of information systems,” Cales said. “Governor Bush is committed to seeing that Florida’s state workers have the tools they need to comply with copyright laws.”

“Florida has a thriving technology economy built on the importance of intellectual property,” said Mary Jo Schrade, corporate attorney at Microsoft. “We applaud Governor Bush and Mr. Cales, not only for recognizing the seriousness of the problem of software piracy and its threat to the state economy, but for their dedication to leading the state by preventing software piracy among state agencies.”

More than 30 percent of the software used in Florida has been illegally copied, according to a 1999 study by International Planning and Research; therefore, it is not surprising that software piracy presents a significant drain on Florida’s high-tech industry and economy. In 1999, piracy cost the Florida economy more than 4,700 jobs, $182 million in wages and salaries, $87.5 million in retail sales of business software applications, and nearly $76 million in federal and state taxes. In total, software piracy caused losses of nearly $346 million to the Florida economy.

Microsoft works closely with government agencies around the nation to help prevent them from acquiring unauthorized Microsoft software and licenses. It has become increasingly easy for customers, including government agencies, to be tricked into believing that they are acquiring genuine software. Many times counterfeit software manufacturers advertise their products over the Internet, where it is more difficult for consumers to distinguish between genuine and counterfeit software.

“Software piracy hinders innovation and diminishes incentives for further investments to develop better products,” Schrade said. “There is a critical mass of states leading the charge against piracy through executive orders like the one Governor Bush has signed. These governors, many of whom are from states where the technology economy is of increasing importance, recognize the need to protect intellectual property and its contribution to the economic benefits that the industry generates worldwide.”

Consumers are urged to consider the warning signs of counterfeit software and exercise cautious shopping practices to help ensure that the software they acquire is genuine. Warning signs of counterfeit software include the following:

  • Prices that are too good to be true

  • Suspicious methods of delivery and/or payment

  • Retail software distributed in jewel cases only, rather than in full-color retail boxes

  • Software marked with a phrase, such as “For distribution with a new PC only” or “Special CD for licensed customers only,” that does not describe the transaction

Customers or resellers with questions about the legitimacy of Microsoft products should contact the Microsoft anti-piracy hotline at (800) RU-LEGIT (785-3448), or send e-mail to piracy@microsoft.com. Information about software piracy can also be obtained by calling the BSA anti-piracy hotline at (888) NO-PIRACY (667-4722) or via e-mail at software@bsa.org.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software – any time, any place and on any device.

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