Taking legal action isn't the way out despite that over 80 percent of software in use in various parts of the world is illegal, a Microsoft official has declared.

Mili Rughani, a local Microsoft market development partner, said in remarks in Dar es Salaam on Tuesday that raising the level of compliance with software licensing regulations is a challenge.

"However it is crucial as we need to protect our intellectual property rights and channel back more funds from the 6bn dollars we spend globally on research and development each year," she said.

Microsoft Corporation focuses on educating the software market, the end users and partners about the need to protect intellectual property.

"We are also using the lessons learnt in our work with copyright commissions in various countries," she said, noting that the firm does not want to take the legal action over non-compliance.

It seeks to collaborate with people willing to legalize their software and make it as easy and cost effective as possible to move to legality, she stated.

As part of the company's mission to expand operational software development, the company has outlined its strategy to meet the needs of rising home, corporate, government and education markets.

It has initiated a programme known as Microsoft Local Language Programme (LLP), the first time that the company has made development tools available to create that kind of customized software, she said.

LLP is Microsoft's global initiative to localize its software products and solutions. It was extended such that Kiswahili would be integrated into Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office, she said.

Kiswahili versions of these products are expected to inspire East African governments to expand their IT economies, encourage literacy campaigns and attract more computer users, the company executive noted.

The programme aims to make technology more accessible to people, regardless of their economic, cultural or educational backgrounds, she said.

"We have been working closely with academic institutions across East Africa to create a glossary of common words that are used in our software and translating them into Kiswahili," she elaborated.

This has been done and terms are steadily being integrated into the programmes and testing them ahead of the release later this year, she said.

In 1997 the company established a subsidiary in Nairobi responsible for Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, Rwanda and Burundi, she added. Guardian