Microsoft Sues Eight Companies for Software Piracy
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Microsoft has announced that they have sued BWT Industry Technology Service d/b/a Computer Max, Data Day USA, Winvtech Solutions a/k/a Winvision Computers and Winvision Technology,Global Computing, Ion Technologies, Compustar, and Chips & Techs, all for software piracy.

Said Microsoft about the lawsuits, “Consumer input is key to understanding sources of illegal activity.”


Here is a statement about the lawsuits from the Redmond giant:

REDMOND, Wash. — Sept. 19, 2005 — Consumers helped put a dent in the software piracy business today. Information they provided helped Microsoft Corp. gather the information needed to file eight lawsuits against companies in Arizona, California, Illinois, Minnesota and New York. Each company named has allegedly distributed counterfeit and/or infringing Microsoft(R) software or software components.
Microsoft responds to consumer leads from its anti-piracy hotline — 1-800-RU-LEGIT — by gathering evidence against alleged software pirates through test purchases done by “secret shoppers.” This program allows the company to selectively purchase and test the authenticity of software being distributed in the marketplace. Customers can also share information with Microsoft about sources of counterfeit and/or infringing software through Microsoft’s newly launched Windows(R) Genuine Advantage (WGA) program.

WGA, an anti-piracy initiative that differentiates genuine Windows software from counterfeit software, provides an online validation tool for customers to determine whether their software is genuine. Customers who find out they have been deceived into buying counterfeit software by software suppliers may qualify for free replacement software under the program.

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The lawsuit against MicroCity4Less.com (aka Image & Business Solutions, Inc., and Hi Tech Outlets, Estore, Gizmos2Go.com and EZ4U123.com) of Torrance, Calif., relied, in part, on evidence submitted by consumers through the WGA program. Customers reported being sold copies of counterfeit Windows XP Professional. This was reliable information Microsoft was then able to review to determine whether illegal or illicit activity was occurring.

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. “It’s very clear to us that our customers want to know if they’ve received the product they paid for, and it is gratifying to see that initiatives such as WGA, Microsoft’s test purchase program and the piracy hotline are proving to be successful in helping to address this widespread problem.”

 

Each of the other lawsuits announced today relied on evidence gathered through Microsoft’s test purchase program, which the company uses to test the authenticity of software and software components purchased from resellers. Two of the lawsuits are filed against businesses that are allegedly in violation of settlement agreements entered into with Microsoft.

Microsoft officials said today that counterfeit activity continues to represent a threat to all software users, including the company’s business partners, and the software resellers and computer manufacturers around the country that sell genuine software. According to the Business Software Alliance’s May 2005 piracy report, it’s estimated that there will be nearly $200 billion of software pirated globally by 2010.

“Honest software resellers and consumers are hurt by illegitimate resellers,” said John Ball, general manager for the U.S. System Builders partner group at Microsoft, the group working with the small and medium-sized businesses that manufacture computers. “Counterfeiters offer flawed and illegal products at the fraction of the cost of genuine software. That unfairly and unjustly causes honest businesses to suffer financially. Consumers who unwittingly purchase counterfeit software are consequently cheated of the benefits that legitimate products afford, such as technical support and product updates. Moreover, illegal and illicit software may make it easier for consumers to unknowingly load dangerous, malicious code onto their systems.”

The companies named in today’s lawsuits are BWT Industry Technology Service Inc., an Arizona corporation, doing business as Computer Max Co. of Sierra Vista, Ariz.; Data Day USA Inc., of Vallejo, Calif.; MicroCity4Less.com, et al., of Torrance, Calif.; Winvtech Solutions, Inc., (aka Winvision Computers and Winvision Technology) of South El Monte, Calif.; Global Computing Inc. of Addison, Ill.; Ion Technologies Corp. of Minneapolis, Minn.; Compustar Co. of Brooklyn, N.Y.; and Chips & Techs of New York, N.Y. Microsoft previously filed lawsuits against BWT Industry Technology Service/Computer Max Co. and Ion Technologies.

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4 thoughts on “Microsoft Sues Eight Companies for Software Piracy
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  1. Doubt anyone would see this but – I stumbled upon this trying to find a solution to my “illegitimate” copy of Windows XP which was factory installed by Hewlett Packard on a HP Pavilion desktop. Unfortunately I don’t have access to an XP disc compatible with my key. HP sent me to MS, MS says HP has to fix it. Ugh. Well I once purchased XP Pro from one of the names listed here for another PC I have, except when I returned the disc they graciously exchanged it (good thing I still had my receipt), but as I and the shopkeeper began looking at the differences in the packaging between the fake and the legit one, HELL the fake one looked more legitimate than the M$ packaged version. Had a cleaner/nicer looking hologram (although different) and the paper quality of the sleeve and manual were also superior. The only giveaway is that the printing on the disc itself wasn’t as crisp as the M$ CD. The moral of this story? For $250 for a retail box of Windows, Microsoft shouldn’t be skimping on the quality of it’s packaging. Even though WGA has been a pain for one HP box, if it weren’t for Windows (Dis)Genuine Advantage I wouldn’t have known my copy that I paid a ton of money for was counterfeit.

  2. We bought a copy of Windows XP Pro Edition in January of 2005. I never tried to register it until December of 2006. Lo and behold we were informed we had an illegal copy of XP. We paid $97.88 for it and it came from EZ4U123. I realize its probably to late to get any money back but I hope everyone is aware that they are crooks. Wish I could get it put in flashing lights on every web page.

  3. I bought a dell copy from EZ4U123 for 71.99 (total) on
    9-08-05 they said it will work on all pc’s and it loaded on the pc I fixed for a fraind and now it is no good it is not genuwen (09-13-06)now they need there pc to work and man I am pist-off some one ows me a new copy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. all the company has to do is just to tell the consumer that all they have is a copy of the OS & explain if they want it well there are no guarentees. & explain that they’re just buying pc hardware.

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