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The software industry is one of the most lucrative business ventures that make enormous contributions to the global economy. The process of software development involves several steps. Currently, the industry is growing at a very high rate. However, software piracy, risks slowing down the growth unless preventive measures are taken to stop the vice.
It affects both users and developers. Renting is one of the future prospects of the industry because of its cost effectiveness and high reliability for use by small businesses. In addition, buying and stealing will also determine the future of the software industry. Other factors that affect the industry include hardware theft, which infringes on the privacy of individuals. The software industry has several opportunities for developers. Therefore, it has a bright and promising future.
The software industry has grown tremendously over the past few years. Several corporate and individual developers have emerged, and changed the industry tremendously. People develop software for three main reasons. These include fulfillment of certain business needs, fulfillment of certain user preferences, as well as for personal use (Commander, 2005).
The process of developing software involves aspects such as research, development, prototyping, and maintenance. Software theft is one of the challenges facing software developers. It involves copying and subsequent use of software despite existence of copyright protection measures (Buxmann et al, 2012). Software sale is a lucrative business that has a bright future. Users buy, rent, or steal software.
Current and future status of software
Currently, software development is a very lucrative venture. However, its future is under threat due to piracy. The software industry has become very competitive with the entry of both individual and corporate developers. Currently, many organizations are changing their businesses in order to embrace technology (Whiting, 2004). Technology plays a critical role in helping businesses improve efficiency, and reduce the cost of operation (Commander, 2005).
The information technology industry is providing solutions to businesses and organizations by developing software that caters for their needs. For example, Oracle develops business solutions that help businesses improve excellence, reduce costs, and improve risk compliance. This has created high demand for software and stimulated high competition among software developers (Buxmann et al, 2012).
The industry has many opportunities because of increasing demands among various users (Whiting, 2004). Therefore, it has a very bright future. It is possible to make money from the industry by developing software that fulfills the various individual and business needs. Afterwards, developers can either sell or let their creations to users. For example, Microsoft makes an annual income of about $54,270 million from sale of software licenses, technical support, and maintenance.
There are several advantages of renting software especially for small businesses. It is cost effective compared to buying, and it eliminates the need for in-house technical help form professionals (Pavley, 2013). Finally, software vendors usually provide technical support to individuals and businesses that use them under rental agreements. Software buyers do not enjoy these privileges. They pay for updates and technical support.
Software theft is a common practice that leads to great losses for software developers. Research has revealed that 27% of software used in Britain is pirated. Globally, the rate of software piracy stands at 49% (Fitzgerald, 2012). For example, software companies made loses that amounted to $ 18.7 billion in the Asia-Pacific region in 2010.
The United States has the lowest level of piracy among all nations. In 2009, its piracy level was 20%. Factors that determine levels of piracy include the strength of piracy protection laws, cultural attitudes, and price of software relative to the income of users (Honick, 2005).
Examples of countries with the high levels of piracy include Armenia (93%), Libya (88%), Yemen (89%), Ukraine (83%), Vietnam (85%), Pakistan (84%), Sri Lanka (90%), Zimbabwe (91%), Bangladesh (92%), and China (82%). Examples of countries with low levels include the United States (20%), Germany (27%), the United Kingdom (26%), and Japan (23%). Software theft is both illegal and unethical.
Stealing software and hardware
Stealing software refers to copying, illegal use, distribution, or sale of copyright protected software. People steal software because of poor copyright protection legislation, low income, and high software prices (Honick, 2005). Software theft affects both developers and users.
Developers lose money and reputation. For example, in 2010, software vendors in Pakistan lost $ 217 million in revenues. On the other hand, users do not get access to technical support from developers. In addition, they do not get access to updates and may buy products with malware agents or viruses (Fitzgerald, 2012).
Software theft is preventable by storing license agreements safely and refraining from accessing suspicious websites. Hardware theft involves stealing of computer devices or constituent parts (Honick, 2005). It exposes the privacy of owners because thieves can access private information stored in computers or external devices. Software theft can be prevented by using real time location systems (RTLS) to track the location of computers, as well as keeping computers in secure rooms and safes (Honick, 2005).
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The software industry has experienced numerous changes in the last decade. Users have the choice of either buying or renting software. Currently, the industry has many opportunities and experiences high competition. It has a bright future. However, software theft threatens growth in the industry.
Software theft involves reproduction, illegal use, distribution, or sale of copyright protected software. It is common in countries such as Pakistan, Zimbabwe, China, and Libya. The United States has the lowest cases of piracy. On the other hand, hardware theft involves stealing of computer devices or parts. It promotes violation of individual’s privacy because many people store personal information in their computers and associated devices.
Buxmann, P., Diefenbach, H., & Hess, T. (2012). The Software Industry: Economic Principles, Strategies, and Perspectives. New York: Springer.
Commander, S. (2005). The Software Industry in Emerging Markets. New York: Edward Elgar Publishing.
Fitzgerald, B. (2012). Software Piracy: Study Claims 57b Percent of the World Pirates Software. Web.
Honick, R. (2005). Software Piracy Exposed. New York: Syngress.
Pavley, J. (2013). Renting, Buying, and Stealing: the Future of Software Applications. Web.
Whiting, R. (2004). Industry Leaders Look to Software’s Future. Web.