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Microsoft collars eight UK resellers for dealing counterfeit software

by Scott Bicheno on 26 February 2008, 15:03

Tags: Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT)

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Limiting local larceny

Microsoft has revealed that eight resellers have been found guilty of, or admitted to dealing in, dodgy Microsoft software over a six month period of investigation.

Tipton based Century Computing Support Services eventually came clean and agreed to pay Microsoft “substantial damages” according to the press release. Mere “damages” and “undertakings” were required of Birmingham’s M.B Computer Services (t/a Ram Computers) and East Coast Computers, from Grimsby.

The other six resellers caught red-handed were: AML Computers Ltd (Leeds), BAS Computer Systems Ltd (Bolton), Choice Computers (London), Innovative Consultants Network Ltd (Peterborough) and Real Computers Ltd (London). They have all admitted to involvement in unlawful software activity including the sale of unlicensed software and hard disk loading.

Punishments haven't been revealed for the latter six, but often the kind of ‘naming and shaming’ that comes with this kind of adverse publicity is considered sufficient, along with a vow not to do it again, of course.

Whenever she has spoken to, head of anti piracy and now head of licensing at Microsoft UK, Michala Wardell, has always stressed the benefit to the channel of Microsoft’s (and, indeed, any) anti-piracy activity.

“We are determined to protect our local resellers from the pitfalls of counterfeit software and are committed to working with them to convey the importance of using genuine, licensed software,” said Wardell in the press release.

It’s also clear that Microsoft is dependent on the help of the channel, especially at local level, to be successful in its anti-piracy activities. “This latest success in the fight against illegal software underlines just how important the relationship between Microsoft and local resellers is,” said Wardell. “If we are going to rid the channel of unlicensed, unauthorised software we need to ensure that we build a rapport with regional resellers who form the core of our partner community.”

Wardell is also keen to get feedback from the channel, not just on the topic of piracy, but on all licensing matters – positive and negative. With that in mind she has invited to collect the thoughts and feedback of its readers for her personal attention.

This is a rare opportunity to make Microsoft’s UK head of licensing and anti-piracy aware of your issues and opinions, so we urge any readers who have an interest in this subject to participate in the poll attached to this story and add their own comments. The views of the trade and of end-users would be equally well received.

HEXUS Forums :: 36 Comments

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As far as I know we are 100% legal here.

Didn't used to be, back when I started pretty much nothing was legal.
Semi - you're never completely legit - there's always someone using expired software or software that's only free for personal use. Certainly for all the big stuff we're 100% - we have to be.
I make damned sure we buy our licenses here, and we enforce a no install w/o approval policy - and the approval in question is mine.
100% Legal at work, not so at home probaly, 95% legal there.
However, if licences for some things, like say Office 2007, abt £325 ish for a licence on a product that's going to be outdated in a year, so IF you want to keep up you have to buy an upgrade licence etc etc. I think not for the average (non student) home user.
The way i read the article is not are you legit or not, its Resellers selling stuff without licencing it.

A far cry from is your office fully legal.