It's also exposing companies and individual users to malware attacks, each of which cost an average of $2.4 million and 50 days to resolve.
Today, most of the software people download to their personal computers, whether it's for work (sales tracking, for example) or for home (productivity or personal finance tools), is expensive.
That, combined with the fact that users are able to easily find free versions and bypass payments, makes it no surprise that more than a third of all software installed on PCs globally is unlicensed, or an unauthorized copy of licensed software.
More specifically, 37% — or $46 billion worth — of all software on PCs is unlicensed, according to a study by BSA, the software alliance. As this chart from Statista shows, that number is going down with every passing year, but the dollar amount is still significant.
In addition to depriving software vendors of the tens of billions of dollars that could be circulating through the market, unlicensed software can open companies and individual users up to malware, which in itself is expensive to resolve. The same BSA study said that a malware attack can cost a company an average of $2.4 million and about 50 days to resolve. To add insult to injury, those users are also deprived of software updates and support service.