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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Baltic Software Piracy Falling, Says Microsoft

TALLINN, Estonia -- The piracy level of business software in the Baltics has started to fall but remains high, U.S. software giant Microsoft said.

Microsoft's Baltic and Nordic anti-piracy head, Norvald Heidel, said last week at a news conference the piracy rate among Estonian businesses had fallen to 72 percent of all software used at the end of last year from 86 percent in 1998.

Pirated software among Latvian firms dropped to 85 percent from 90 percent and among Lithuanian companies to 81 percent from 92 percent.

He added the that most of the decrease came in the last four months of 1999 amid a software legalization campaign run by Microsoft and the Baltic Software Alliance.

But, he said, there is a long way to go before average Nordic piracy levels of 35 percent are met.

Heidel said he could not put a figure on how much money Microsoft loses to piracy in the three Baltic states but in Estonia alone - a country with 1.4 million people - it ran into tens of millions of dollars.

Microsoft does not publicly release turnover or profit figures for its Baltic operations, but the region's general manager Bo Kruse said the drop in piracy levels in Estonia make the country more attractive for further investments. That could include making Estonian versions of Microsoft products, he added.