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The Microsoft store, theoretically an employee-only operation, is a fabled source of improbably cheap goodies, small-time scams and handy licensing loopholes - but $9 million worth of software? For just one employee? Over nearly a year?

Well, OK, it's not the Microsoft store as such Daniel Feussner has been accused of stealing $9 million worth of software from, it seems to be another internal store, allegedly used as some kind of do it yourself stock options program, as it were. According to The Mercury, Feussner (director of 'retrieval' technology, apropriately enough) was arrested at work on Wednesday and charged with computer, wire and mail fraud.

He is claimed to have used the MS Market internal purchase scheme, which is intended to allow employees to order software for Microsoft business, to acquire 1,600 pieces of software. This was allegedly sent to a Buffalo Microsoft vendor, which is said then to have sent it on Feussner.

Easy access to top-of-the-range Microsoft server software however clearly doesn't turn heads internally in the same way as it might in, say, Karnataka. Feussner's site, which currently displays an impressive collection of knick-knacks, seems (thank you Netcraft) to run Apache on FreeBSD.

Feussner is accused of laundering the software into more useful things like yachts and Ferraris from last December through to the end of November, but whatever the outcome of this case, The Register feels it has a heart-warming aspect.

Microsoft is effectively conceding that it is possible for somebody who has only worked for the company for two years to fraudulently acquire and sell an improbably vast quantity of software before finally the Microsoft Market auditors finally notice, or maybe the antipiracy mob take an interest in the strange amounts of cut-price software, and start tracking it. Or, for the high end stuff, the sales force start to wonder where the blazes it came from.

So it's nice to see how dozy The Beast can be. ®

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