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By 17 December 2019 | Categories: news

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Recently, Microsoft launched the Windows PC Affordability in Africa Initiative, a programme that aims to reduce the prevalence of Microsoft software piracy in Africa’s emerging markets. To implement the initiative, the company explained that it is working with its major PC partners, Acer, Asus, Dell, Intel, Lenovo, SMD Technologies and Mustek to improve the uptake and affordability of genuine software across the continent. 

Microsoft explained that Africa’s emerging market potential is “unparalleled” and business development and the growth of existing SME’s remains a key focus across the continent. To tap into this potential growth, access to affordable genuine software and hardware is necessary so as to close the digital divide.

A bigger picture

Beyond that, there is an even more far-reaching imperative. The company continued that  Africa’s future is reliant on entrepreneur’s ability to start and grow successful businesses.

As to what that has to do with genuine software, Microsoft elaborated that having access to genuine software, which “guaranties comprehensive security and protections for devices and data”, is critical to the long-term success of these businesses.

The same applies for students, who rely heavily on access to devices, software and information to complete tasks and projects. The company asserted that whether a business or a student, if critical devices or data are compromised by malware, viruses or cyber-attacks, it would adversely affect a business’s ability to grow and compete, and a student’s ability to learn new skills.

Piracy is (still) a large problem

“As per our estimates, only a third of PCs being shipped into Africa include genuine software. Because of this, data breaches and malware attacks have increased significantly, resulting in loss of important data and decreased productivity,” noted Deniz Ozen, Regional General Manager, consumer and device sales, Microsoft Middle East & Africa.

In its June 2018 report, The Software Alliance reported that the overall rate of pirated software across the Middle East and Africa was 56%. Exacerbating matters, the region also has several countries that rate as the highest users of unlicensed software with Libya and Zimbabwe tipping the scale at 90% and 89% respectively. Pirated software is often installed without the end user’s knowledge, and it is those users who suffer the consequences including lost data and unusable PCs. 

Banding together

‘’Through the Windows PC Affordability in Africa Initiative, we aim to educate consumers on the risks of using pirated software, and to work with our PC ecosystem partners including Acer, Asus, Dell, Intel, Lenovo, Mustek and SMD to make Genuine Windows 10 PCs more affordable across Africa,” explained Bradley Hopkinson, Vice President, Consumer & Device Sales, Microsoft. 

Of the initiative, Dave Brooke, Vice President, Client Solutions Group, Dell Technologies, CEE & MERAT commented, "It's easy to take devices for granted in the digital revolution. But without people, there is no revolution and without the right devices, they can't participate in it,” he stressed.

According to Brooke, the Windows PC Affordability in Africa Initiative can “help close the digital divide and put that power into the hands of those whose lives will be transformed the most.”

He added that for its part, Dell Technologies strives to close this digital gap through sharing understanding around different device and technology ecosystems and enhancing the value created by them.

Another vendor throwing its weight behind the initiative is Lenovo.

“The Windows PC Affordability in Africa Initiative is aligned with our Smarter Technology for All vision which aims to deliver meaningful impact through technology and create a diverse and dynamic world that enhances the human experience,” commented Shashank Sharma, executive director and general manager, Middle East, Turkey and Africa, Lenovo.

To the point

At the heart of the announcement was a call to action that we have heard many times before – to only accept genuine software and steer clear of the dark side. Microsoft stressed that from your business to family to your files, important assets are protected when a genuine version of Windows 10 is at the heart of your computer.

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