Major companies in Laos will face serious fines if they continue to use unlicensed computer software once the country joins the World Trade Organisation at the end of this year.
We know this from Vietnam. Major companies means first of all foreign companies. I don't think that a single Lao government office or company is running a legal windows licence. I don't even know if you can purchase one here offline (or even online, since the lack of credit cards here).
Even if Microsoft will help and support the government, most Lao SMEs are just not able to pay the requested amount of licence fees.What supported the distribution of Linux and Open Software a lot in Vietnam. Construction companies will face serious problems first I guess, as it was in Vietnam when Archetype, a company that belongs to the French owned Apple Tree (Exotissimo, Annam Gourmet etc.) was seriously fined for using copied CAD software.
As long as intellectual property isn't a value here and is not enforced, this crackdown is a joke and will make the business in Laos even harder as it is already. Expect another dropdown in the Business Environment Index next year.