Dodgy pub salesmen are more likely to peddle copies of Mission Impossible 3 than Microsoft Office XP, but software piracy is still a big problem. The world's businesses and consumers will spend $300 billion on legitimate software in the next four years, but a further $200 billion-worth will be pirated. The problem is hard to police and rife in developing countries, which account for a third of PC shipments but just 10% of spending on genuine software. In Vietnam and Zimbabwe, 90% of all software is knocked off. The UK's piracy rate is lower at 27%, but the black market is still irksome. IDC estimates that every $1 of pukka software sold generates at least $2.25 of revenues through services such as packaging, installation and tech support. So with about $1.8 billion of pirated software in circulation in Britain, cutting the piracy rate by 10 percentage points could generate 34,000 new jobs, £11 billion in economic growth and £2.8 billion in tax revenue.
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