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Microsoft warns customers against bogus 'Blue Edition' Office

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Microsoft has today filed 63 lawsuits against online auctioneers in 12 countries who allegedly sold pirated copies of MS software on sites including its own MSN shopping network.

The company said the number of counterfeit Microsoft goods sold online was getting out of hand.

“Dishonest auctioneers are too often using these online auction sites to sell counterfeit and illegal copies of Microsoft software, taking advantage of unsuspecting customers around the world,” said Microsoft ass. general counsel David Finn in a statement.

Windows XP is the product most heavily pirated by counterfeiters, said Microsoft, which is taking action against illegal global online sales of the “high-quality” counterfeit software in the US, Germany, France and the UK.

Proceedings are also underway in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Japan, Mexico and New Zealand.

There’s also a bogus copy of MS Office – dubbed “Blue Edition” by the pirates – being sold on various auction sites across the interwebs, it said. Microsoft warned consumers to “remain vigilant” when shopping online.

But it’s not just eBay, Amazon et al whose sites are being used to flog pirated MS software. A quick search on the firm’s own MSN shopping website also tips up positive results for counterfeit Microsoft goods.

Redmond has been careful not to mention that fact today.

Despite Microsoft’s apparent inability to effectively police its own MSN shopping site to prevent auctioneers selling dodgy MS software, the International Trademark Association said it “applauded” the firm’s actions.

The group’s executive director Alan C Drewsen said Microsoft was helping to “make online auctions safer for consumers and less hospitable to counterfeiters who are violating trademark laws”. ®

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