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M$ denies reports of amnesty for software piracy

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Microsoft Corp. today denied reports in the Asian press that it has reached an agreement with Indonesia to offer amnesty for illegal copies of Windows on government computers.

"The company does not have any amnesty-type government licensing programs in development or under consideration in Indonesia at this time," said Microsoft spokesman Alexandra Mercer.

The Jakarta Post newspaper had reported an amnesty deal was reached after Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono met with Microsoft founder Bill Gates in Redmond last month. The paper said that in exchange for a token settlement of $1 per computer using pirated software, the government promised to make only legal purchases of Microsoft software in the future.

"Microsoft is being realistic," Indonesia's information minister, Sofyan Djalil, told the Jakarta Post. "They can't force developing countries like us to solely use legal software since we can't afford it. They want us to gradually reduce our use of it."

The Business Software Alliance, a software industry organization, reported in May that in 2004, 53 percent of the software installed on personal computers in the Asia Pacific region was pirated. Indonesia, with an 87 percent piracy rate in 2004, was the fifth-worst software pirate in the world, after Vietnam, Ukraine, China and Zimbabwe.

"Microsoft will continue to engage and work with the government of Indonesia to explore how we can best meet their needs in a manner that delivers value to the government and its citizens," Mercer said.

Associated Press

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