Poll: Is stealing from Microsoft OK because they have lots of money?

Poll: Is the use of a pirated or otherwise improperly licensed copy of Microsoft Windows ever justified? Care to explain?

Last week, I asked the poll question "Does the Activation Process Really Decrease Piracy?" and some of the responses struck me as peculiar. While the majority of the respondents were not convinced of the effectiveness of Microsoft's activation process, there were a few who seemed to express a more controversial sentiment. Their argument basically went like this: Microsoft Windows costs money, but it sucks, so why pay for it. If they made an operating system that was good, I wouldn't mind paying for it, but they don't, so I use a pirated copy.

At least that is what it sounds like to me. Of course the contradictory nature of the argument begs the question: Why use it at all if it sucks so bad that you are not willing to pay for it? But I digress.

In my mind's eye, stealing is stealing, and there is no justification for using a pirated piece of software. If you cannot afford it, you should not use it. If you are running a business, you are just asking for a world of trouble if you are running illegal copies of Windows or any software. The accountant in me knows it is not worth the risk.

So, we have these questions, and most likely many more will come up in the discussion thread.

By Mark Kaelin

Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to BreakingModern.com, aNewDomain.net, and TechRepublic.