Microsoft wins $1.6m in reseller prosecutions

Microsoft has successfully prosecuted two more resellers in its campaign to crack down on counterfeit software.

The first, Sydney-based reseller TYN Electronics, has been ordered to pay the software giant $1 million in damages by the Federal Court of Australia.

The company, formerly known as APD International, was found to have sourced several thousand counterfeit copies of Microsoft software for new systems it sold to customers in 2002.

The second, Queensland-based Harmony Telecommunications and Business Equipment, and its director, Earl Davis, have been ordered to pay close to $600,000 in damages and costs for hard loading secondhand computers with Microsoft software between September 1999 and June 2002.

Both cases are part of Microsoft's ongoing strategy against software piracy but did not represent a specific push for the company, according to Microsoft senior corporate attorney, Vanessa Hutley.

"We have been taking cases against people for many years now and it is part of our overall three-pronged approach of consumer education, intellectual property protection and working with our partners to educate them about our IP," she said. "When people won't sit down and talk with us about an issue we file cases."

While the cost of piracy of business software alone was estimated to be about $445 million, according to Hutley, software piracy was not actually on the rise.

"It's more that people are beginning call our consumer hotline a lot more as they are finding that often they don't get what they paid for," she said.

Despite the fact that margins are tight and competition is fierce, resorting to piracy was not acceptable, Hutley said. "There is such a strong and healthy retail and reseller channel that does great work for customers without resorting to piracy," she said. "What these cases are about is us asking for all the resellers and consumers to ask questions who offer them deals that seem too good to be true as invariably they are."

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