Microsoft gets heavy on pirates
Microsoft has found two Auckland-based sellers onselling pirated Microsoft products such as Office and Windows Vista, and have launched an international investigation against those accused.
Respective American and Australian auctions sites iOffer, OZtion and New Zealand’s biggest and most popular auction website TradeMe are involved in both of the cases where bidders thought they were buying genuine software, only to find it did not work as expected.
One such buyer was Tina Tweedie who bought her software from dlive Limited, run by Xu Lei and Liao Yaopei. She said that she assumed it was genuine, “But when I loaded the software I realised that I had been duped into buying counterfeit.”
Microsoft described the dlive counterfeit software as “high-quality” and the Australasian-centred investigation took from July 2007 until October 2008.
Jun Li, Gong Qi and Jingtao Jin were part of an international investigation that took up to nine months to complete for selling Microsoft products illegally. It is alleged the software is sourced from China.
iOffer and TradeMe received numerous complaints against the sellers, and informed Microsoft. Microsoft reviewed 27 pieces of software and found them all to be of a high standard worth $22,000; a drop in the bucket for the $48 billion pirates cost Microsoft each year.
Mr Li, Mr Qi and Mr Jin were also found to have been supplying fake discs to numerous countries like The Netherlands, Canada and The United Kingdom.
All traders are being taken to court by Microsoft. Mr Li already faces a NZ$100,000 fine and is required to pay all legal costs. Other traders have had their bank accounts frozen while their trial awaits.
Microsoft does have some final words of advice, “Consumers should exercise great care in purchasing software from Internet auction sites, as some online traders are disreputable and there is usually no opportunity to inspect the product prior to purchase,” Vanessa Hutley, senior corporate attorney and director, Intellectual Property at Microsoft Australia said.