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Software giant targets piracy

Microsoft Cambodia has appointed Thakral Cambodia Industries Limited as its second authorised software distributor in the country, a move intended to help the computer giant’s local operation combat the rampant use of pirated software.

Thakral, one of the largest distributors of IT products in Cambodia (its partners include HP and Toshiba), will join Winsoft, the first and only Microsoft licensee since the company entered the local market in 2008.

“We aim to offer to our resellers the complete Microsoft product portfolio and value-added services at competitive pricing and extensive pre- and post-sales support,” Ashish Fitkariwala, head of business operations for Thakral Cambodia, said.

Microsoft Cambodia representative Pily Wong said that having one more distributor will contribute to stemming the circulation of pirated software among retailers who then sell the products on to consumers.

He said the distributor will help “spread the message” about the importance of selling original software.

Microsoft Cambodia, which claims that 90 to 95 per cent of computer users in the country use illegal software, has refused to stay quiet in its fight against piracy.

In August, the company released a study showing that almost all of the 54 computer retailers in Phnom Penh, whose representatives were surveyed earlier this year, didn’t offer to sell licensed software.

“They don’t see the necessity of having it in their stock so that they can provide it to the customer,” Wong said. “They know that they can have it anytime because you know our distributors are very efficient.”

Wong said that Winsoft will sell the majority of Microsoft software and take larger orders. Thakral, meanwhile, will focus on selling software to smaller companies that are more likely to offer pirated software to the end user.

But will it work?

According to Ken Chanthan, chairman of the ICT Association of Cambodia, a private organisation representing the IT sector, more could be done.

He said the government should take care of enforcing intellectual property laws, even though officials at the Ministry of Commerce have consistently stated they don’t have the resources.

He added that business partners should wage a campaign of education, providing “more knowledge about piracy to the Cambodian community”.

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