Pirated Software


This is a touchy topic in Jamaica. Unless it’s a medium to large business, most persons knowingly or unknowingly use pirated software. Microsoft Windows and Office are probably the most pirated, but others like QuickBooks are on the list I’ve personally seen in Jamaica as well. Let me get into it a bit.

Windows / Office

I’ve been guilty of knowing using pirated versions of Windows and Office. There have been reasons for various persons to do so, ranging from just being poor (in school at times) or having a hatred for Microsoft.

My reason? I was a student at the time. Underage. Got a copy from someone back when Windows was on floppy disks. Had no idea about the “legit” versions until later on. We’ll get into that.

Here’s a story for you. Had a friend that purchased Windows XP back when it was new. Drive crashed. Reinstalled. Motherboard died - replaced with similar model - had to call Microsoft for activation. Got it done, then drive crashed. When he reinstalled that time - he had to call again. Microsoft told him that they suspect multiple installations and he’ll have to buy a new license. You can imagine what he did next.

In the last 30 years the USD has been much more expensive than the local currency - more so in recent times. We’ve moved from USD$100 being JMD$3,300 to JMD$16,000. With Windows and Office costing USD$200-USD$400, you can imagine the route taken by most locals.


This one is a bit more…nuanced? Tricky? Iffy? The reasons that persons pirate QuickBooks - businesses and individuals alike - will differ from client to client. Having dealt with those who have tried or can afford to try, do you know why ALL go back to a pirated version? Or switch to a different accounting package? Because of how Jamaica is categorized.


Have you ever heard the term before? LAR. Latin-American Region. Really - just for giggles - look up North American Countries. You’ll be surprised (maybe) to see that there are a few Spanish speaking countries in that list. Jamaica is the largest English speaking country in the Caribbean, but we’re categorized as LAR. Due to this, QuickBooks removes a number of features that locals have learned to work around or work with. The various tax sections which could be used for GCT, SCT and others are completely removed. Calls to QuickBooks are met with - it’s the version - it’s for LAR - those fields aren’t available to you - and other things. This results in a number of persons either choosing a different product or going to (or returning to) a pirated copy.

I’ll edit this or add more as things go by. But that’s the start for now.