UK distie fingered for selling pirate MS software

Out of the Blue

UK software distie Blue Solutions has settled with Microsoft for inadvertently dealing in counterfeit Microsoft software. Settlement terms weren't disclosed.

Since 1997 Berkshire-based Blue had unknowingly sold a number of counterfeit and incorrectly licensed Microsoft products to its customers through its extensive (7,000-plus) reseller network, Microsoft announced today.

Investigations recently completed by Microsoft's anti-piracy squad, through a number of test purchases, revealed that Blue had purchased illegal copies of Microsoft Windows 95, Microsoft Office 97 Professional, Microsoft Window 98 and Microsoft Office 2000 Professional. These products were then sold on to Blue Solutions' customers, which range from IT contractors to large system integrators, throughout the UK.

After learning of their firm's accidental role in flogging pirated software, Blue's directors reached an undisclosed agreement with Microsoft. They were then forced into participating in the 21st century's equivalent of being pelted with rotten fruit in public stocks, lending their comments to a Microsoft anti-piracy press release.

In a statement, the directors of Blue Solutions, said: "We were shocked and concerned to learn that Blue Solutions had inadvertently purchased illegal Microsoft software in the past. Despite stringent checks and staff training, it has become apparent that some products slipped through the net, and that we have been conned by unscrupulous suppliers that we had ordered from in good faith."

Following its settlement, Blue Solutions has promised to purchase all its Microsoft products from authorised distributors and tighten up its procedures to prevent falling foul of anti-piracy regulations again. No law says you have to buy from authorised distributors, of course, just Microsoft. Is this different?

Microsoft said the case illustrates the success of its anti-piracy program. This program, since you ask, aims to "level the playing field for legitimate channel partners by taking action against traders who deal in non-genuine software". Or via non-authorised distributors, or the grey channel, perhaps? ®

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