Microsoft has experienced an increase in the number of voluntary reports in the past two years. More than 150,000 people unknowingly purchased counterfeit software that carried viruses or malware.
These reports have more than doubled during these years and this increase has raised concern for the harm caused by counterfeit software while driving Microsoft to give people a 'voice' in their fight against this issue.
Raids in Hong Kong
Around 700 consumers voluntarily reported Microsoft Hong Kong over the past two years as they suffered from the consequences of using counterfeit software. These episodes have dramatically increased similar to other parts of the world and the company has decided to take action.
Microsoft Hong Kong will first verify the information provided, and will then proceed to take investigative action. In some cases, the management may decide to take help from the Hong Kong customs.
Some results of this war against counterfeit software are already available. After receiving consumer reports, the Hong Kong customs raided and arrested the responsible parties. A few examples of recent criminal raids are the seizure of 37 computers running illegal software from five Internet cafés and stopping illegal selling of TechNet online subscriptions that distributed pirated Windows 7 copies
Fight against piracy
To increase its fight against counterfeit software, Microsoft has announced an initiative called 'consumer action day'. This initiative included a simultaneous launch of education programmes and enforcement actions in more than 70 countries. All these efforts are directed to help protect consumers and raise awareness of the risks of counterfeit software.
Microsoft has been educating the community about the importance of intellectual property rights. It is an active member of the business software alliance, and participated in the launch of the 'genuine prestige' campaign. This initiative is aimed at helping companies in Hong Kong to create a reputation of prestige around the use of genuine software. These companies are also recognised as reliable suppliers who respect intellectual property rights.
The company is also taking care of its engineering front and has improved the product activation and validation process with Windows 7. It has invested in nine product identification (PID) analysis labs around the world and it has led to more than 1,000 customs border patrol seizures of counterfeit software.
"The global problem of counterfeit software calls for an international response and a strategy which targets sophisticated crime syndicates taking advantage of unwary consumers," said Kunio Mikuriya, secretary-general of the World Customs Organization. "Through vigilance and active feedback to public institutions and companies like Microsoft, consumers and businesses will be instrumental in overcoming this problem. The serious economic consequences generated by this illicit trade make it imperative that we urgently pool our efforts, strengths and expertise to fight this crime."