Microsoft Fits Eight Firms For Piracy Suits

    September 19, 2005
    WebProNews Staff

Microsoft has filed eight lawsuits in five states against firms accused of selling pirated or counterfeit copies of Windows.

They heard from consumers about problems with their new software purchases, ones that did not pass the Windows Genuine Advantage check. They sent in “secret shoppers” to make purchases, and tested the software themselves.

Satisfied that the vendors were indeed selling bogus copies of the Windows operating system, Microsoft has taken legal action against eight vendors in Arizona, California, Illinois, Minnesota, and New York, according to a press release. In a press release, the Redmond-based company notes how consumer tips to 1-800-RU-LEGIT helped it begin investigating the accused firms.

Microsoft specifically named one defendant,, as one identified through the anti-piracy hotline. Of the defendants, two had broken prior settlement agreements with Microsoft regarding the distribution of counterfeit software.

Of the eight firms, and Winvtech Solutions appear to have committed the most serious violations. Winvtech sold counterfeit copies of SQL Server and XP; distributed counterfeit NT Server 4.0, Office Professional, and XP software, as well as labels for 98, 2000 Professional, and XP.

In its press release, Microsoft avers that it does not toss out lawsuits as a first resort:

Microsoft considers taking legal action against alleged software pirates to be a last, but effective, resort. Lawsuits are filed by Microsoft only after other efforts to warn and educate these companies have not succeeded in changing the way they distribute Microsoft software.

“Microsoft does not take legal action lightly. We remain very serious about protecting honest software resellers and consumers from the illegal activities of software counterfeiters,” said Mary Jo Schrade, senior attorney at Microsoft.

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.