June 15, 2005

Microsoft Sues U.S. Stores Over Pirated Software

SEATTLE (Reuters) -- Microsoft Corp. sued four small software retailers in California and Virginia on Wednesday for selling pirated software.

Microsoft, the world's largest software maker, said it had received complaints from consumers and businesses who had purchased software from CEO Microsystems Inc. and Wiston Group Inc. in California. In Virginia, Microsoft sued #9 Software Inc., East Outlet LLC and Super Supplier LLC.

The Wiston Group said its president, Wenchi Ri, was not available for comment. Phone numbers for CEO Microsystems and #9 Software were disconnected, while messages left at East Outlet and Super Supplier were not returned.

Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft said the companies had sold pirated copies of its Windows XP, Windows Server and SQL Server software.

"In filing these lawsuits, we hope to curb the amount of pirated and counterfeit software on the market and keep illegal software from finding its way into the hands of unknowing consumers and businesses," Mary Jo Schrade, a senior attorney at Microsoft, said in a statement.

Microsoft said it began investigating the complaints from customers who had bought software from the stores and tried to register it, unsuccessfully.

Suing companies for software piracy is a priority at Microsoft, which has filed lawsuits against other companies in the United States and other countries, including China, for selling pirated software.


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