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Victorian businesses caught selling dodgy software

1 November, 2006 | Archived Post

Computer businesses caught distributing unauthorised software to Victorian consumers

Sydney, Australia – 01 November 2006: Microsoft today announced that it had settled legal action against four Victorian computer businesses, all of which have admitted to distributing unauthorised versions of Microsoft software, including Microsoft® Windows XP® and Microsoft® Office Professional Edition 2003, to unsuspecting Victorian consumers.

The businesses in question are Panda Computer International Pty Ltd, based in Chadstone, JSN Computers Pty Ltd, based in Mordialloc, PC Ideas, based in Oakleigh, and Ozsmartstore in Caulfield East, the latter being a business that predominantly operates through eBay.

Today’s announcement coincides with news that Microsoft has also lodged more than 50 legal actions worldwide, including three in Australia, against online merchants who the company alleges sell counterfeit software on popular internet auction sites. This is part of Microsoft’s ongoing effort to protect consumers and businesses from the risks associated with pirated software.

Ms Suzanne Caldwell, Anti-Piracy Manager, Microsoft Australia said the settlement was a victory for consumers as well as for legitimate IT businesses who sell genuine software.

“Consumers have a right to get what they are paying for, not a fake or unauthorised piece of software,” said Ms Caldwell.

“Research has shown that pirated software can be defective and dangerous because counterfeiters can tamper with the genuine software code leaving the door open to viruses and other serious security breaches.

“We want to protect legitimate computer businesses and resellers in Victoria who do the right thing in selling genuine software. Microsoft won’t stand by and allow their businesses and employees to be undermined by unscrupulous vendors,” she said.

Mr Marc Dobroff of Com 1, an IT business which supplies resellers in Geelong, said local resellers have been hit hard by piracy activity.

“Dishonest dealers sell fake software at bargain-basement prices, which has a significant impact on legitimate sales. I’d urge software buyers to do their homework to avoid being ripped off, and seek help if they think they have been sold something fake,” said Mr Dobroff.

Microsoft brought a case against computer systems retailer, Panda Computer International Pty Ltd (Panda Computer) and its sole director, Ms Rowena Chen, in August 2006 in the Federal Magistrates Court in Sydney, for infringement of Microsoft’s copyright.

Microsoft had previously settled with Panda Computer in 2004 when the company was reported to the Anti-Piracy Hotline for hard disk loading, a practice where builders of computer systems sell PCs with unlicensed software pre-installed.

In early 2006, Microsoft received a number of new reports through its Anti-Piracy Hotline indicating Panda Computer was hard disk loading again. Microsoft re-investigated and in June 2006, Panda Computer sold a personal computer which came loaded with an unauthorised copy of Microsoft software to an investigator.

In September 2006, Microsoft agreed to settle its case against Panda Computer and Ms Chen, who admitted they had infringed Microsoft copyright. The terms of settlement included that Panda Computer and Ms Chen agree to supply (at their cost) genuine Microsoft replacement products to any customer who discovers that software purchased from Panda Computer is counterfeit.

-Ends-

About MicrosoftFounded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realise their full potential.

To arrange an interview with Suzanne Caldwell or to obtain more information about the settlements, please contact:

Clair Deevy
Microsoft Australia
Tel: 02 9870 2508 or 0404 090 292
Email: clair.deevy@microsoft.com

Ben Tan
Howorth Communications
Tel: 02 8281 3815 or 0418 488 827
Email: howorth@howorth.com.au

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