The lawsuits allege the businesses were illegally installing unlicensed software on the hard disks of computers or distributing counterfeit software to customers in the local market.
These four lawsuits are as a result of Microsoft Canada’s channel monitoring program. The program is intended to reduce the spread of counterfeit software by using tactics such as mystery shoppers, mediation meetings and ongoing monitoring.
The software alleged to have been hard disk loaded in these matters includes Windows XP Home, Windows XP Professional and Office Professional Edition 2003. Hard disk loading occurs when unlicensed software is installed on a computer and the necessary components (i.e. CD-ROM and Certificate of Authenticity) are not provided to the end user.
Christopher Tortorice, Corporate Counsel, Anti-Piracy, for Microsoft Canada, said these legal actions are part of an ongoing effort to foster a fair business environment and demonstrate Microsoft’s unwavering commitment to protect its channel partners and unsuspecting businesses and consumers from the potential risks associated with counterfeit and unlicensed software.
“These lawsuits are meant to send a message to people who distribute unauthorized products and to educate consumers about the risks of purchasing pirated software. We are committed to supporting the genuine channel and will continue to identify and investigate organizations that manufacture and sell illegal software,” he said.
In Canada software piracy poses a major threat to both businesses and consumers, potentially exposing them to security breaches and putting their business data and reputations at risk. As well, honest channel partners lose revenue as they try to compete with unscrupulous retailers selling unlicensed product, he added.
According to the Business Software Alliance, software piracy cost the Canadian economy an estimated $1.07 billion in 2007 alone.
“Piracy is an ongoing threat to the channel,” notes Ahmar Akhtar, product manager, Canada Computers. “We are pleased to see Microsoft taking a stand against dishonest resellers. The channel monitoring program and resulting actions play a key role in creating a fair marketplace for honest resellers in Canada.”