Volume 3, Number 24 -- July 19, 2006

Microsoft Fires Salvo in War on Piracy

Published: July 19, 2006

by Alex Woodie

Captain Jack Sparrow may be battling make-believe pirates on the big screen this summer, but Microsoft is waging a real-life fight against pirates--software pirates, that is. On Monday the software giant filed lawsuits against 26 alleged software pirates operating in seven states.

Microsoft says it gathered evidence for its lawsuits by using the "secret shopper" concept and through tips it received from a toll-free hotline. The company bought hardware and software from computer dealers across the country, and then tested the software to determine its authenticity. "Our message should be made very clear by today's lawsuits," said Mary Jo Schrade, a Microsoft lawyer leading the fight against pirates. "We are committed to finding the unscrupulous dealers of pirated software and making piracy a business model that doesn't work."

Microsoft published a list of names of the 26 companies it is accusing of improperly distributing Microsoft products, mostly Windows XP and XP Professional and Office 2003 and Office 2003 Professional. The list includes six Georgia companies, including Affordable Computers, Budget Computers, Tido Computers, Computer Imaging Services, Cyber Connect, and Sales International; four Illinois companies, including Software Plus, Apollo Computer, JCorp, and Chicago Computer Club; one South Carolina company, BWC Products; six Ohio companies, including Digital Systems, Belka, J&G Computers, SurplusOutlet19, Mainstream Computers, Custom Computer Warehouse; five New York companies, including The ComputerWiz 777, Infoserve Technologies, J.C. Jay Computer, Pearl River Computers, and Professionalmax Computer Warehouse; two New Jersey companies, including Computer Clinic/NR Computer SVC and Investment Technologies; and two Colorado companies, including Computer Plus USA and Microcomp Solutions.

Microsoft says 21 percent of all software in the United States is pirated (a figure it gets from the Business Software Alliance), and that pirated software (like sea pirates) can be dangerous because it can contain viruses and spyware. Moreover, pirated software takes business away from its reseller channel. Software piracy also hurts Microsoft's own revenues, but it didn't mention that in the press release.

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Editor: Alex Woodie
Contributing Editors: Dan Burger, Joe Hertvik,
Shannon O'Donnell, Timothy Prickett Morgan
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