A paper written by Norwegian economics researcher Arne Rogde Gramstad claims piracy could be helping the marketshare of Windows. Gramstad found that if piracy no longer existed, Linux use could increase by 50-65 percent because illegal copies of Windows are almost perfect substitutes to the original and likely cause lower prices of legal copies of Windows.
This would not significantly change the market dynamics though, Linux currently has just 1 percent marketshare so even if piracy magically vanished the use of Linux would increase to just 1.5-1.65 percent if this paper is correct.
The paper also suggests that in countries with a higher piracy rate, the adoption of Linux is lower.
The research stated that if piracy increased by one percent in a typical country (based on data of 104 countries sourced by Net Applications), Linux would lose around 0.5% of its total market share. The explanation given for this phenomena is that poorer individuals are more likely to demand free-of-charge alternatives to expensive software - if a pirated copy of Windows is accessible then people tend to opt for it, over Linux. However, if piracy is less prevalent in a country users are more likely to pick a legally free alternative, namely Linux.
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