If Bill Gates ever visited Pettah, he would commit suicide after seeing his precious intellectual property being sold for Rs 80 ($0.08). As in many developing countries, software piracy rate in Srilanka is extremely high. In fact, not even 1% of home computer users in Srilanka use legitimate software.
The main reason for this is unreasonable pricing in a market where pirated copies are readily available.
For example, newly released Windows Vista costs LKR 40000. This pricing is totally unrealistic for a country with a small economy such as Srilanka. Majority of the PC users will go for a pirated copy which sells at LKR 80-250 or download it from the internet rather than paying a colossal amount of money to buy the original software. Earlier it was promised by MS and other software giants that the developing countries will be given special pricing schemes as a method of promoting legitimate software use. So far this has not happened. Before urging the government to implement laws against piracy (which Microsoft has been trying to do during last few years) or running massive awareness campaigns to highlight the benefits of legitimate software, companies should address the main problem; price. Otherwise, they will never win the battle against piracy.