Comet 'sold 94,000 pirate Windows CDs', claims Microsoft
Redmond sues retail chain over counterfeit disc allegations
Updated Microsoft has accused high-street retailer Comet of pirating 94,000 Windows Vista and Windows XP recovery CDs and selling them to consumers.
The software giant announced this morning that it had filed a suit against Comet Group PLC, accusing the group of manufacturing counterfeit discs at a factory in Hampshire and selling them through its UK retail outlets. Comet has 248 stores across the UK. A spokesperson for Microsoft was unable to say where the suit has been filed.
The allegedly counterfeit recovery discs were then sold to customers who had bought desktops and laptops running Windows, Microsoft said.
Microsoft's associate general counsel for worldwide anti-piracy and anti-counterfeiting David Finn called Comet's actions "unfair to customers" in this morning's statement.
"We expect better from retailers of Microsoft products - and our customers deserve better, too," he said.
In an official statement, Comet told The Reg it had sought legal advice from "leading counsel" to "support its view that the production of recovery discs did not infringe Microsoft’s intellectual property."
Responding specifically to Finn, Comet said it "firmly believes that it acted in the very best interests of its customers" and that punters had been "adversely affected by the decision to stop supplying recovery discs".
"Accordingly Comet is satisfied that it has a good defence to the claim and will defend its position vigorously," the retailer said.
Comet made an operating loss for the six months to October of €6.4m (£5.3m). Owner Kesa Electricals group is selling Comet to private equity shop OpCapita for £2 with the sweetener of a £50m capital injection from Kesa. The deal is expected to close next month. ®
This article has been updated with comment from Comet.
Microsoft should be sued for not providing recovery disk in the first place, if I have a license to use the software and its pre-installed then I should get a disk with it anyway and not have to rely on a stupid recovery partition which is useless the moment the hard drive dies.
I currently have a Dell mini which is knackered, I cant rebuild it since it came with no disk, I cant get a recovery CD because its a cut down windows and whats even worse there's nothing that Dell or MS will do about it other than try and sell me their latest device....... Surely that's not fair on customers!!!
I had the same problem with my brother-in-law's laptop, and ended up having to resort to piracy to get Vista working (well, for a given definition of the word) in the end. The major downside to this is the Windows Genuine Advantage thingy failed a month or two after I "activated" Windows using the original CD key (not immediately, alas) so your mileage may vary.
I know Microsoft don't want DVDs floating around to cut down on piracy, but since it took only about half an hour for me to find and download a pirate DVD anyway it's obviously not working. They should have some easier way of getting hold of a recovery disc.
Incidentally as my brother-in-law's laptop was the only PC in the house with a DVD burner for the pirate Vista ISO file I had to first run Ubuntu on it to burn the disc. That took literally half a minute to boot up and work, making me wonder whether or not Windows was really worth it after all...
all jokes aside ...
it was this problem that first got me to try linux. Maybe MS should consider this before throwing a hissy fit