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Microsoft files lawsuits against resellers of counterfeit software

This is the first major legal sweep of the year, according to Microsoft attorneys, and is part of the company’s programs to educate the reseller channel and consumers about the risks associated with counterfeit software.

“Although we have an ongoing program, Microsoft took this step because have heard from legitimate resellers that we weren’t doing anything [about piracy] anymore,” Mary Jo Schrade, senior attorney, Microsoft Corp. told eChannelLine. “Resellers want a level playing field, they don’t want to have to deal with illegitimate competitors.”

Microsoft filed lawsuits against PC Parts, Cinnaminson, N.J., Agility Corporate Solutions, Portland, Ore., Your Computer Store, Coos County, Ore., California Micro Computers, Redding, Calif., Computer Center, Encino, Calif., Einstein Computers, Los Angeles, Gnext Computers, Santa Ana, Calif., Vector Computer, El Segundo, Calif., BDS Computer Outlet, Oklahoma City, Okla., Microsmart of Florida, Boca Raton, Fla., Compumex; Miami, and Selectronics, Philadelphia, Pa.

The twelve are a mix of large, medium, and small companies, reflecting a broadening of Microsoft’s strategy to combat software piracy, according to Schrade.

“For a time, we were focusing only on larger illegitimate resellers,” she said, “but our partners told us that the smaller ones were flying under the radar.”

Schrade also emphasized that the lawsuits were filed only after Microsoft sent warning and cease and desist letters to the alleged offenders.

“We were hoping that, to the extent that people sometimes make mistakes, we can educate them by offering them information and resources about software piracy,” she said. “We’re hoping that we don’t have to do any more major sweeps. We’d rather spend our money on developing software than suing people.”

Among the online resources Microsoft offers regarding software piracy are a Web page with information about piracy issues and a Web page where resellers and consumers can reports incident of piracy,

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