December 5, 2008

Microsoft Pursues Auction Pirates in Lawsuits

There have been 63 separate lawsuits launched by Microsoft against people peddling counterfeit software on auction sites.

Sellers have been targeted in 12 different countries including the U.S., United Kingdom, Germany and France.

The counterfeit "Blue Edition" versions of XP are the prominent target for Microsoft.

The operating system was proving popular on auction sites as it is reaching the end of its commercial sales cycle, according to Microsoft.

Windows XP is no longer installed on new PCs as of June 2008.  Windows Vista is now the choice operating system for new PCs.

Even though Microsoft claims strong sales for Vista, many consumers have given up on the software and switched back to Windows XP.

David Finn, Microsoft's general counsel on worldwide anti-piracy and anti-counterfeiting, said auction sellers were taking advantage of unsuspecting customers.  

"These dealers are peddling bogus products that can put customers and their personal information at serious risk," he said.

Microsoft found during their research, that the quality of fake software sold on auction sites is that 34% did not install properly, and 43% contained tampered code that could expose buyers to identity theft or other attacks.  

Fake WIndows XP copies were being pushed to help a bogus marketing campaign based on the so-called Blue Edition of the software.

"Consumers should be aware that the so-called 'Blue Edition' software is nothing more than low-quality counterfeit software burned onto a CD," said Mr Finn.

According to Finn, Microsoft provides tools and information to help customers spot fake software.

Microsoft has found that the trade in counterfeit software is now global.  New Zealand, North America, the Netherlands, New Zealand and the UK are just some of the continents that have fake versions of their software.


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