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A Microsoft investigation into the sale of counterfeit software on eBay has led to the closure of an online operation responsible for the sale of over £3 million worth of fake Microsoft software.

The activities of internet trading outfit Zoobon first came to light after Microsoft received a number of complaints from Zoobon customers unhappy with the quality of the products they had been sold.

In an investigation lasting over a year, Microsoft, in collaboration with eBay, identified the sources of the counterfeit software and the people behind the operation.

Following the investigation, an out-of-court settlement was reached with the individuals behind Zoobon, under which they have ceased trading and given undertakings not to sell counterfeit Microsoft software in the future. They have also paid very substantial damages to Microsoft.

“We take our responsibility seriously to protect consumers and legitimate channel partners from counterfeit software,” said Michala Alexander, Microsoft head of anti-piracy. “This was a major counterfeit operation selling goods which were hard to distinguish from the genuine article. By working with eBay, Zoobon has been taken out of business.”

The action is the latest in an ongoing Microsoft campaign against software piracy.

Earlier this week the software giant announced that it was working together with eBay to stop the sale of pirate software on the online auction site. Between them, the two firms were able to remove over 21,000 suspect software sales from the UK site between August and October this year.

The crack down has been aided by eBay’s VeRO programme, which enables the rapid removal of infringing listings on eBay.

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