Thailand have a long history of rampage software piracy, especially Windows. Eight out of ten people here use pirated copy of Windows. (The other two got a legitimate copy that comes with their machine.) Everyone use at least one pirated software (most popular being Microsoft Office). Nobody cares.
The question is, why?
The answer is simple: Windows is simply too expensive and the pirated version is working well enough for most people.
Most people in Thailand who have computer typically use a pirated copy of Microsoft Windows. That's the fact around here. Even big retail outlets typically install a pirated copy of Windows on blank machines that they are selling. Hell, they even openly admitted about the fact that they are using a pirated version of Windows on their machine. (One salesperson I met told me outright that the machine he sells is running a pirated version of Windows).
As a result, most people never even knew, or care, how much a copy of Windows would cost. Well, I must admit that I used to be one of those people. I mean, why should one care how much a legitimate copy of Windows cost if you can get a pirated one for around 150 bath (about 3.75 dollar) that roughly have the same functionalities as the legitimate one?
Out of curiosity, I begin looking around for information . As of August 2007 a copy of Windows XP Pro edition (OEM license) would cost you around 5,100 to 5,300 bath (127.5 to 132.5 dollar depending on vendor). A copy of Windows Vista Business edition (OEM license) cost about 5,400 to 6,000 bath (135 to 150 dollar). As for a copy of Windows Vista Ultimate edition (OEM license), the price is set at around 7,300 bath (182.5 dollar) or more. (A typical salary for newly undergraduate around here is about 10,000 to 15,000 bath (250 to 375 dollar)).
Now that is a lot more than a 150 bath. Don't you agree? Not to mention that each license can only be use on one PC. So if you have, say, two computers you need to buy two copies of Windows for each machine. Not only that, but according to OEM license, if somehow your computer suddenly shiver up and die and you have to replace it with a new machine You have to buy a new copy of Windows to use on the new machine, no matter how long (or short) you just brought your previous copy of Windows. (Sure, you can go with Full Package license and have the privilege to reinstall your copy of Windows on the new machine but then the price would be even higher).
Now that is just silly.
And for all that troubles, what do you get? A warm, fuzzy feeling that you have done the right thing (although that is a highly subjective matter), and a working Windows update service.
In short, not much. Especially considered the fact that a 150 bath pirated copy can do everything a full fledge version can, except using Windows update service (which most people never use or care about anyway).
With a deal like that, it is no surprise that nobody is buying Windows. The benefits one gets is simply not enough to justify the cost. If Microsoft is really, really serious about reducing or eliminating software piracy here, the first thing that it can do is to lower the cost of Windows.
Yes, it is just as simple as that.
(And if you really can't or don't want to pay for Windows, then there are other alternatives such as Linux or *BSD. So no need to use pirated version of Windows and risk getting virus, malware or spyware).