Software piracy in Singapore reaches a new low

Software piracy in Singapore has reached a new low as computers continue to fall out of favour with consumers.

The 12th Global Software Survey, released yesterday, showed that 27 per cent of software newly installed in homes and offices in Singapore last year was pirated - continuing a downward slide from 30 per cent in 2015 and 32 per cent in 2013.

Comparatively, the global piracy rate last year stood at 37 per cent, declining from 39 per cent in 2015 and 43 per cent in 2013.

Market research firm IDC Asia/Pacific compiles the figures from computer and software usage in 110 economies biennially for software piracy watchdog BSA The Software Alliance.

Mr Victor Lim, IDC's vice-president of customer research and consulting, said Singapore's low piracy rate was influenced by declines in computer purchases as tablets and smartphones become the "computer" of choice for consumers.

"The study not only looks at what people are installing in new machines but also take into account what people are installing in their existing computers bought years ago," said Mr Lim.

He added that the unlicensed software installation rate is the highest when people buy new machines but the effect is muted when existing machines are added to the mix.

The availability of cloud-based software subscription services which tend to be cheaper also makes people go legitimate, he added.

Computer shipments to Singapore peaked at 1.5 million in 2011 but have been sliding since, according to IDC. In 2016, computer shipments dipped below one million for the first time to 880,000, and last year they totalled 900,000.

The report includes a global survey of more than 22,500 computer users in 32 countries.

Said Mr Tarun Sawney, BSA's senior director of enforcement in Asia-Pacific: "It is alarming that 45 per cent of consumers surveyed say their organisations do not have a policy on the use of unlicensed software or that they do not know."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 07, 2018, with the headline 'Software piracy in Singapore reaches a new low'. Print Edition | Subscribe