Microsoft Targets Cybercafes in Battle Against Fakes in Kenya

Computing

Software vendor Microsoft East and Southern Africa has launched an ambitious campaign to eliminate counterfeit products from local cyber cafes. Advocates of the campaign want to convince cyber cafe owners and operators that genuine software was more cost-effective than the fakes sold cheaply.

Kenya is among the world's top software piracy markets with a rating of 81 per cent according to Business Software Alliance (BSA) research. Microsoft has teamed up with Kenya Copyright Board to promote the use of genuine products in key outlets.

A sample of 170 cyber cafés has been identified to help in convincing operators that use of licensed software not only enhances user-experience but also ensures information security. "Use of authentic software enables one to get free downloads and updates from Microsoft," said Abed Hlatshwayo, Microsoft's anti-piracy manager. Besides, a licensed user can upgrade to the latest versions at almost no cost.

Hlatshwayo said the cyber cafes could particularly benefit from authentic software such as Steadystate that refreshes a computer after it has been used by a customer.

The programme deletes any work that may have saved on the computer and reverts any settings changed by the last user.

This software is known to extend the life-span of machines through watertight protection from viruses. Besides, Microsoft said, licensed software offers consumers a language conversion programme that can, for example, translate English to Kiswahili.

Copyright Board state counsel, Edward Sigei, said they had embarked on the campaign in most of Nairobi's cyber cafés. "We have served 20 of them with a notice to comply by the end of this month," Sigei said.

This latest effort to eliminate counterfeit software from the local market comes one year after Microsoft launched Windows Genuine Advantage to help consumers to validate the authenticity of their software online. The campaign was launched last week in Nairobi.

Business Daily