The proliferation of pirated copies nevertheless establishes Microsoft products — particularly Windows and Office — as the software standard.
I could not agree more — this is exactly what I have been seeing in Russia, and it really is annoying. One would think that a country that is (used to be?) so paranoid about espionage be CIA and the gang would instead promote a much more open solution — yet this is not the case. The number of MSCEs etc. is so great, and reliance on MSFT this or MSFT that is huge. It is indeed a de-facto standard, which is sad-sad-sad….
I have seen so many kids that are smart, yet have never played with Linux or *BSD in their life — despite the fact these free (in both senses) alternatives are out there.