Microsoft fires cannon at counterfeiters
Walk the plank, arr
In its latest attempts to rid pirates from its shores, Microsoft has set up a new* website to help its customers spot dodgy software.
Redmond also confirmed on Wednesday that it had filed 20 lawsuits in the US against alleged distributors of counterfeit copies of Windows XP and Office 2003.
It's a two-pronged attack from Redmond to send out a clear message to Microsoft resellers warning of the possible consequences of punting pirated goods.
The new website, ominously named How To Tell, has been described by Microsoft as forming part of its Genuine Software Initiative intended to ensure customers and channel partners are dissuaded from buying and selling dodgy copies of its software.
In recent months, Microsoft has been making similar legal noises in Europe, clamping down on the so-called "grey software" or parallel importing market, where branded goods bought in one country are flogged elsewhere at a marked-down price.
Microsoft said that as a big name vendor in the world of computers it had a social responsibility to target violations against intellectual property, which it reckoned negatively impacted the US economy equivalent to 750,000 jobs being lost annually.
Of course, pirates are also undoubtedly putting a dent in the firm's profits too. ®
While Microsoft is punting the How To Tell website as a new tool in its fight against software piracy, we actually reported on it in May 2004.