Posted on Thursday 16th of August 2007 at 06:56 in Software

Around 25-35% of Windows XP systems are pirated (calculations included)

I stumbled across a theory today while browsing some web stats and discussing software licensing... Then it dawned on me; a few calculations later and I've estimated that somewhere from 25-35% of all Windows XP machines are illegal.

Chatting to our technical manager about licensing issues he commented that legal copies of Windows XP will automatically (and without question) install IE7 over IE6. So with that in mind, why am I seeing stats showing XP having a 75% market share but IE7 only has a 20% browser share?

According to W3Schools July 2007 shows Windows XP as having a 74.6% stake in the operating system market whereas for the same month IE7 only shows a 20.1% share. It shows IE6 as having 36.9% still which is maybe sheds some light on quite how many pirated copies of XP there are around.


How can this show piracy stats?
There are only a few ways that you can have a legal copy of Windows XP but not have Internet Explorer 7 (more on those shortly); so basically if your copy of XP is legal then you should (by all intents and purposes) be happily running IE7. You cannot get IE6 on Vista (as a primary browser, if at all) and it automatically upgrades in XP.

You *could* have a multiple install of IE6 (along with 5.5 etc) for testing purposes but you wouldn't use that testing browser as your primary means of browsing the big-wide-web. So let's look at the reasons you *may* have a legal XP but still have IE6.

Legal XP but no IE6
If you've got a copy of XP that isn't SP2 and doesn't have updates turned on then you are not only out of date but legal. You can't get IE7 without passing Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) and that doesn't occur until you're well into SP2 updates. So if you bought an old XP machine and you've turned off automatic updates (which are enabled by default) and you've not done any updates manually, then you probably have a legal XP with a valid IE6 install.

To be fair there probably aren't *that* many people in that camp. So what does this say?

You maybe have 20-25% of ALL reported Windows XP systems are pirated and therefore unable to have a valid install of IE7.
If you can't pass WGA then you can't get IE7. Yet W3Schools reported that 36.9% of their visitors in July 2007 were using IE6. If you have an over ambitious figure that 10% of users turned off updates and haven't upgraded to SP2 then you have 26.9% of XP installs are illegal. If a more realistic figure of 5% is used (which is still probably overkill) then you get 31.9% of all installs aren't legal.

Well, it's quite the guesstimate but you can't get IE6 on Vista and all previous versions of Windows are insignificantly small. Windows 2000 and Windows 98 are under 7% of the market combined so... If you take the 6% of Win2000 stats off the piracy figure (assuming every Windows2000 machine is using IE6) then you still have 25.9%.

So this means that somewhere from 20-35% of all Windows XP machines appear to be pirated based purely on the website stats from W3Schools and that really can't be good for Microsoft. At all. An interesting statistic that I'd not even thought of before, so this piece of content comes from the head of our technical manager - I just ran with it a bit.

W3Schools Browser Statistics
W3Schools Operating System Statistics


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Who is Seopher?

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