It has always been my opinion that if software is made cheap, the menace of piracy can be curbed very easily. People would go for the licensed version instead of pirated versions which are normally loaded with viruses and malwares. Lots of open source communities have put in efforts to provide free software which include almost all the bells and whistles present in the paid licensed software. But due to deep penetration of licensed software in corporate world, people are forces to learn and use these applications and ultimately are forced in to piracy.
Though not very much a fan of Microsoft applications and operating systems due to exorbitant costs and lots security threats in the past, I am beginning to feel better about the efforts being put in by Microsoft lately to reduce piracy by of providing software at a reduced cost under some pretext or the other. One of it being the Home Use Program(HUP). Under this program, if your company is registered with Microsoft for the HUP, you can buy the entire suite of Microsoft applications for rs. 450. That’s less than 10$ for MS Office 2010. Isn’t it a great deals!! I even found out that they provide software like Microsoft Visio and Microsoft Projects at the same price. So check out with the IT team of your respective organisation if they have applied for this offer.
Secondly Microsoft has given out upgrades to its latest Operating Systems like Vista, Windows 7 in past for a nominal price(I think it was around 800rs in India when windows 8 was launched). The offer seemed quite generous at that time. The catch was that you had to be in possession of a licensed copy/machine with OEM license which was purchased not more than a couple of months before the launch of the new OS. Upgrading from pirated version was out of question. But with Windows 8, Microsoft has given an option to upgrade while turning a blind eye on your license status(legal or pirated). They upgrade you to the top version, Windows 8 Pro for 1999 Rs. (about 38$). No questions asked. The only qualifier is the compatibility of your machine with windows 8 which is checked by a the upgrade assistant. I found that my 2008 machine was compatible if I choose to transfer just my files and not my settings, . I am now planning to upgrade to Windows 8 once positive reviews about the OS are out. The upgrade is available until 31st Jan 2013 so there is quite some time.
The main purpose of providing this may be to drive up sales but who cares about that. This offer can be viewed as the Christmas present by the people who have not yet bought any licensed copy of windows.
More details here.