More than half of Asia's software illegalMore than half of Asia's software illegal
More than half the computer software used in the Asia Pacific region last year was illegally downloaded and cost the region billions in lost economic potential, a study released on Thursday said. According to the Business Software Alliance (BSA), the regional software piracy rate was 53 percent in 2004, unchanged from the previous year. Asia's IT industry is worth $195 billion and brings in at least $120 billion in tax revenues, BSA said. The biggest culprits were Vietnam, which topped the list with a piracy rate of 92 percent, followed by China at 90 percent, BSA said in the study that it commissioned research firm International Data Corp. to carry out. Indonesia had the third-worst record with 87 percent of software illegally downloaded. Thailand took fourth spot at 79 percent.
Microsoft ready for Xbox rematch against Japanese foes
When Microsoft brought the first Xbox game console to the home turf of its Japanese archrivals in 2002 it was nearly two years behind Sony's PlayStation 2 and it has trailed behind ever since. This time the US software giant is doing its utmost to prevent history from repeating itself. On Saturday it will launch the next-generation Xbox 360 some months ahead of the PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Revolution, and in time for the Christmas rush. In a country where brand image is everything, the new sleek, silver Xbox 360 design should prove a plus compared with the chunky black box it replaces. Even so, analysts expect Sony to fight back with a powerful new console of its own next year. They believe that Microsoft will still struggle to make a significant dent in the Japanese icon's share of the game console market. "No one - consumers or software makers - has been talking about the Xbox 360 lately although we only have a couple of days before the release," said Nobuyuki Kawamata, an analyst at Tokai Tokyo Research Center. "Given also the fact that basic functions of Xbox 360 are inferior to Sony's next-generation machine, and that there are not many newly-developed titles ready for the Japanese launch, Xbox 360 is not likely to become a must-buy console here in Japan," Kawamata said. The first Xbox, which was launched in 2001 and came to Japan in February 2002, flopped here in part due to a lack of games that appealed to local tastes, analysts say. This time the US software behemoth has turned to local firms like Square Enix to create titles specifically for Japanese gamers.