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Russia revealed as one of the biggest pirates of Microsoft software

Microsoft revealed this week that 25% of Russian software outlets sell pirated Microsoft software.

The findings were published as part of a survey the software giant carried out recently. According to The Associated Press, Microsoft checked 2,500 retailers in 53 Russian cities over the last few months and found a quarter offered bootlegged copies of popular Microsoft programs. The survey, named "The Mysterious Customer," also highlighted that 11% of the retailers offered to install the software onto customers' computers.

"A few years ago most computer stores in some form or other offered pirate software," said Denis Guz, head of the company's department that promotes the sale of licensed software. "Now, as we see, there are significantly fewer sales points of that kind ... and now the majority of retailers offer only licensed programs."

In an email to Neowin, Guz explained "we are seeing some significant improvements in the recent years due to combined efforts of Russian government, rightholders’ associations and software vendors." He also added "the situation is not uniform across all geographies of Russian Federation."

Russian site Ria Novosti reports that Uri Zlobin, the head of the anti-piracy association "The Russian Shield" disputed the results of the survey. According to Zlobin, only 10% of computer retailers in Moscow sell licensed software so the situation could be a lot worse.

Although Russia were part of the survey, Central Siberia and the Far East were the worst offenders with up to 71% of retailers offering pirated software, Microsoft said. It is estimated that piracy cost the software industry $53 billion in 2008.

Image Credit: Deviant Art - Luke Roberts

Update: Title corrected as it appears Russia are one of the biggest and not the biggest.

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