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You don't have to travel to Singapore or Thailand to pick up a cut-price pirated copy of Windows XP - they're on sale in the UK.

Microsoft's Windows XP Pro has been spotted at a British computer fair, priced at £10. Not quite the sub-£2 level available in Asia, but very cheap all the same.

The XP deal was not on widespread offer at the fair, but more than one stall had the deal. The Windows XP Plus! Pack and other XP apps such as Norton AntiVirus 2002 were also available for similar prices, according to Register reader Simon Zerafa.

"Frankly I am amazed that anyone would be silly enough take the risk of selling what could have only be pirated copies openly to make £10 per copy," he says.

The fair took place on Sunday 4 November.

Meanwhile, Panthip Plaza, Bangkok's biggest IT-only shopping mall, is awash with copies of Windows XP and it hasn't even officially gone on sale in Thailand yet (the official launch date is 17 November).

According to reader Jon Griffiths, you can purchase all flavours of XP (Home/Pro/OEM etc) for a mere 80 Baht (£1.24) at more than 20 software shops. The titles are not hidden away under the counter but in full view.

"Every MS product ever made is also available at 80B per CD, including some bonus CDs containing Dos 6.22, Win3.11/95/98SE2 and ME (English and Thai version available). Training materials, development tools, service packs, AutoCAD/Lightwave - you name it, its there," says Jon.

"As far as I can see, anti-piracy measures are enacted only when the US makes a big noise. We then see a few TV items of police destroying pirate copies (last time by speeding thousands of pirate CDs in a parking lot and walking over them with elephants - you couldn't make this stuff up!). Meanwhile the shops continue to operate with impunity."

Jon was responding to the news that Singapore's police force orchestrated raids in October on several pirate dealer selling WinXP for as little as $2.75.

Reader Marc Panton is also unimpressed with Singapore's antipiracy measures.

"I was in Singapore last summer and saw first hand the raids. In one shopping centre there were 8 shops selling nothing but pirated software. I went back to the same centre the next day and all had been raided. A guy from the local company I was working for said that they do this every eight to ten weeks, normally all they do is arrest the people in the shops, they rarely get the middle men and the top people. The shops then re open soon after with new faces but the same wares."

If you do come across some MS software you think is pirated (like it costs £10) then you can report this to the company. The piracy section of the company's web site tells you how. ®

Related Link

The piracy section of Microsoft UK's Web site

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Singapore pirates flog WinXP for $2.75
Secondhand WinXP for sale
One in three business users steal software

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