Bonum Certa Men Certa

Cablegate: Microsoft Uses BSA Numbers to Call Algerians 'Pirates', Pressure for Law Changes



Cablegate



Summary: Algeria is being pressured by US diplomats at the behest of Microsoft Corporation

MICROSOFT AND its own bully, the BSA, are taking on large nations behind the scenes, using bogus data and weak claims (that usage is a lost sale) to portray itself as a victim and then pressure governments to: 1) pay Microsoft for shoddy software they do not need and 2) indoctrinate the population and government employees so that they become dependent on Microsoft in the long run.



The following Cablegate cable shows Microsoft's modus operadi:








VZCZCXRO1615 PP RUEHTRO DE RUEHAS #0190 0501757 ZNR UUUUU ZZH P 191757Z FEB 08 FM AMEMBASSY ALGIERS TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5286 INFO RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 2555 RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO 0997 RUEHMD/AMEMBASSY MADRID 8809 RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT 2173 RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS 7025 RUEHTRO/AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI RUEHNK/AMEMBASSY NOUAKCHOTT 6228 RUEHNM/AMEMBASSY NIAMEY 1474 RUEHBP/AMEMBASSY BAMAKO 0423 RUEHCL/AMCONSUL CASABLANCA 3261 RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE UNCLAS ALGIERS 000190

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE PASS TO USTR - PBURKHEAD COMMERCE FOR NMASON

E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: ECON, BEXP, KIPR, ETRD, AG SUBJECT: MICROSOFT'S IPR WOES

REF: 07 ALGIERS 1581

THIS CABLE CONTAINS COMPANY PROPRIETARY INFORMATION NOT TO BE SHARED OUTSIDE USG.

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: During a February 19 meeting, Microsoft Algeria Director General Samir Said outlined Microsoft's priorities for Algeria and underscored the negative impact weak intellectual property rights (IPR) protection is having on Microsoft's financial bottom line and growth potential. Said estimated that Microsoft is losings tens of millions of dollars each year to software piracy in Algeria and argued that the Algerian government has not demonstrated the political will to enforce IPR. Said stated that, in addition to antipiracy efforts, Microsoft's main priorites are to continue working with the Algerian government (its largest customer in Algeria), to recruit qualified employees, and to revive partnerships with Algerian ICT companies. END SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) Microsoft Algeria DG Samir Said lamented that the Algerian government is not taking stronger action to prevent software piracy and argued that the situation had worsened during 2007. According to a Business Software Alliance Survey, the rate of software piracy increased slightly from 2006 to 2007, from 84 percent to 85 percent. Said stated that "losses are huge" and asserted that Microsoft is losings tens of millions of dollars each year. Said estimated that a 10 percent reduction in software piracy -- from the current estimate of 85 percent to 75 percent -- would yield an additional 25 million USD in annual profits.

3. (SBU) Said emphasized that Algeria is an important market for Microsoft and that there is clear potential here if the Algerian government provides greater support for IPR protection. While he noted that there is a trend towards purchasing licensed software in government ministries, licenses have only been purchased as part of new system purchases and many ministries continue to use unlicensed software on previously purchased computers. Said stated that he is not seeing any will to enforce IPR protection in terms of software licensing. He told us that none of the estimated 50 to 60 thousand home personal computers sold as part of the Algerian government's "Ousratic" initiative to expand home PC-ownership were sold with Microsoft-licensed software. Although Microsoft informed the Minister of Communications Technology of this breach, Said said that the government has not taken any action to enforce compliance. During the October visit of Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer (reftel), the Algerian government promised to address enforcement, but Said stated he had seen no change since then. He added that he often hears the argument that Microsoft must give a "good price," but in the end licensed software will always be more expensive than the pirated version.

4. (SBU) Said stated that, in addition to antipiracy efforts, Microsoft Algeria's main priorities are to continue working with the Algerian government, recruit qualified employees, and revive partnerships with Algerian ICT companies. Between ministries and state-owned enterprises, the government remains Microsoft's largest customer in Algeria and Microsoft will continue to work with it despite IPR concerns. Said echoed an oft-heard complaint in saying that he is unable to find qualified employees among recent graduates. Although there are nearly 2500 graduates with degrees in ICT, according to Said, there are few who have the skills required to be competitive in the job market. Microsoft Algeria is also interested in partnering with Algerian ICT companies to help promote local software development; however, Said noted that this goal is dependent upon improved IPR protection.

5. (SBU) COMMENT: Serious antipiracy efforts in Algeria are critical not only for Microsoft but for Algeria's economy writ large. Although the Algerian government has stated its intent to develop the local ICT sector, rising rates of software piracy will do little to encourage the necessary investment or technology transfer. The Embassy's Special 301 Review (septel) will address the Algerian government's overall IPR protection efforts. FORD







That last part is very typical and it is seen in many cables. Microsoft is trying to say that if the government pays Microsoft a lot of money, then opportunities will open up for the nation. That's a just load of propaganda, injected by public officials at the behest of Microsoft.

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