Analyst: Microsoft War On Pirates Could Yield $1 Billion

In a Tuesday research note, Thill said Microsoft's anti-piracy campaign could enable Microsoft's Client division -- home of the vendor's Windows cash cow -- to pull in $1 billion more than his own bullish estimates.

Thill, who expects Microsoft to see earnings per share of $1.83 for FY2008, believes the continued success of Microsoft's campaign to bring software pirates to justice could kick that number as high as $1.87 per share. Wall Street analysts expect earnings per share of $1.81.

Microsoft earlier this month filed lawsuits against 20 software resellers in 13 states for distributing counterfeit or improperly licensed products as part of its ongoing Genuine Software Initiative, which is aimed at educating the market on the consequences of using pirated software.

In August, a U.S. district court handed out a 46-month prison sentence to a Georgia man convicted of using fake certificates of authenticity to sell pirated versions of Microsoft software.

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While Microsoft's channel partners applaud the vendor's efforts to reign in software pirates, some say it's getting increasingly more difficult to ensure that their clients are in compliance with Microsoft's Byzantine software licensing structure.

In addition, Microsoft antipiracy technologies such as Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) have caused headaches for legitimate users. In August, Microsoft fixed a glitch in WGA that was flagging some genuine versions of Windows as pirated ones.