Thursday, January 5, 2012

Microsoft sues UK retailer Comet for "creating and selling counterfeit copies of Windows Vista and XP"

Not this is unusual. Microsoft has just announced that it is taking legal action against Comet, one of the two big tech retailers in the UK for "creating and selling more than 94,000 sets of counterfeit Windows Vista and Windows XP recovery CDs". Those where then sold to customers buying laptops and PC's with Windows on them. The complaint states that a factory in Hampshire where Comet is said to have been making unauthorized recovery discs before selling them to its customers.

Comet has since then responded to Microsoft's suit with the following words to say:

"We note that proceedings have been issued by Microsoft Corporation against Comet relating       to the creation of recovery discs by Comet on behalf of its customers. 

"Comet has sought and received legal advice from leading counsel to support its view that the production of recovery discs did not infringe Microsoft’s intellectual property. 

"Comet firmly believes that it acted in the very best interests of its customers. It believes its customers had been adversely affected by the decision to stop supplying recovery discs with each new Microsoft Operating System based computer. Accordingly Comet is satisfied that it has a good defence to the claim and will defend its position vigorously."

While both companies say that they are acting in the interests of their customers. Microsoft is unhappy that Comet is producing those discs without paying licensing fees. Comet is countering that by saying that it is just supplying PC buyers with recovery discs. 

Full details about this is still not known. But here is a statement that they also said:

"The discs were sold alongside new PCs. Each set of recovery discs were specific to the customer’s new laptop and were sent after purchase directly to each customer."

Also, here is a press release you can fish through:

READING, England, and REDMOND, Wash. - Jan. 4, 2012 - Microsoft Corp. today issued proceedings against Comet Group PLC for allegedly creating and selling more than 94,000 sets of counterfeit Windows Vista and Windows XP recovery CDs. The alleged counterfeits were sold to customers who had purchased Windows-loaded PCs and laptops.

"As detailed in the complaint filed today, Comet produced and sold thousands of counterfeit Windows CDs to unsuspecting customers in the United Kingdom," said David Finn, associate general counsel, Worldwide Anti-Piracy and Anti-Counterfeiting at Microsoft. "Comet's actions were unfair to customers. We expect better from retailers of Microsoft products - and our customers deserve better, too."

The suit charges Comet with producing the counterfeits in a factory in Hampshire and then selling the media to customers from its retail outlets across the U.K.

Comet is currently owned by French retail company Kesa Electricals PLC, although it is reportedly being purchased by private equity firm OpCapita LLP later this year.

With an emphasis on education, engineering and enforcement, Microsoft seeks to protect its customers from counterfeiting and piracy - and ensure people get what they pay for. If customers ever question the legitimacy of their software, be it a shrink-wrapped product or recovery media, they are advised to visit to learn more and, if they have any doubt, report the suspicious software to Microsoft.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

What are your thoughts on this? Comments Welcome.

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