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Microsoft sues 20 US-based companies for illegal hard-disk loading

Microsoft is taking the fight to the counterfeiters. The Redmond, Washington based company announced that it is filing 20 lawsuits against US resellers that are illegally distributing copies of Microsoft software. The companies under fire are accused of distributing counterfeit operating systems and accompanying software by using hard-disk loading (selling a customer or business a computer with pre-installed, unlicensed software).

Microsoft also announced the results of its forensic analysis of counterfeit copies of Windows XP from 17 different countries. Not surprisingly, the discs studied either didn't install or were loaded with additional content not officially sanctioned by Microsoft. According to Microsoft:

Of the 348 disks studied:

  • Thirty-four percent of the counterfeit copies
  • Forty-three percent had additional programs, or binary code, that are not part of genuine Microsoft Windows.

Of the remaining 228 disks:

  • Sixty-six percent had additional programs, or binary code, that are not part of genuine Microsoft Windows.
  • More than 40 percent of these added software programs or binaries had faults, and many included illegally created product keys, other tampered code, or code invisible to the user.

Microsoft has fought long and hard over the years against software piracy. The company ruffled a few feathers in the industry when it introduced a new activation scheme with its Windows XP operating system in 2001. Over the years, Microsoft has added additional features to combat piracy or let customers know if they have become a victim of counterfeiting. The Windows Genuine Advantage Program came under fire in June after it was found out that it was "phoning home" to Microsoft. Despite Microsoft's scramble to release an updated version of the software, two lawsuits followed after the initial discovery.



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RE: Microsoft Vista PC?
By rcc on 9/20/2006 2:26:44 PM , Rating: 2
I don't have any specifics in this case, but many companies with distribution chains have non competition clauses in their agreements. This doesn't just mean that the distributor won't handle competing products. It means that the manufacturer/producer will not compete with the distributor in their area of operations. This is why if you go to the company store or website for some companies, you pay full list price, where other outlets may charge considerably less.


RE: Microsoft Vista PC?
By Pirks on 9/20/2006 4:37:44 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
This is why if you go to the company store or website for some companies, you pay full list price, where other outlets may charge considerably less.
Your logic doesn't work for Premium MS Vista PC concept. If MS develops their own PREMIUM line of Vista PCs and sells them direct over the Internet Dell-style - this has nothing to do with distributors. If MS wants they can also sell it non-direct way (bestbuy or whatever), but even in this case your point is moot - MS will just charge MSRP on their web site and distributors charge whatever they want - just like it's done now, NO difference at all.


RE: Microsoft Vista PC?
By rcc on 9/20/2006 6:21:41 PM , Rating: 2
Part of my point, which I suppose wasn't clear, was that part of MS's sales agreement with Dell and other hardware producers is that they won't compete in a hardware environment. Outside of the basic accessories they do now, of course.



RE: Microsoft Vista PC?
By Pirks on 9/20/2006 6:40:29 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
part of MS's sales agreement with Dell and other hardware producers is that they won't compete in a hardware environment
By positioning their own PC as a premium niche oriented computer (like Mac) MS can avoid any trouble from the major cheap/generic hardware brands like Dell. After all what does Dell lose if MS PC costs more than Dell and includes services the cheap Dell buying public won't need? If people buy Dells in droves and don't buy Macs 'cause Macs are expensive and niche - same applies to potential MS niche Vista PC. Most guys just order cheap generic gray Dell box, but those who go for Mac because Mac is stylish, small, thin, light, noob friendly, has no administration chores etc (all the reasons reasonable Mac people pay Jobs, except for zealots of course) - all of them would have a choice now - would you buy a Mac or a similar slick'n'sexy PC from MS? You look at Mac and see that it's small and totally integrated, OS and basic software is there, etc - and you look at similar small MS PC and see the same picture - there's Vista, basic Office, Media center, stuff like that - same experience of plugging certified hardware and not installing any dribvers - Vista will do everything for you - why would you buy a Mac now? See, the reasons to buy a Mac are significantly decreased by similar looking and behaving competition from MS. And please understand that this is totally different PREMIUM niche that has nothing to do with Dell or your local chinese PC shop. People who assemble PCs will do business as usual, people who buy generic cheap Dells continue as usual - the only player on the computer market that has to worry is Apple and NOONE else - so no need to renegotiate contracts with Dell and other big brands - got it?


RE: Microsoft Vista PC?
By rcc on 9/21/2006 1:07:44 PM , Rating: 2
I messed up again, not that it matters for your counter.

what it should have said was:

part of MS's sales agreement with Dell and other hardware producers may be that they won't compete in a hardware environment

And what your post totally ignores is that *if* the MS/Dell/HP/etc. sales agreements have such a clause, it wouldn't be worth MS's time and money to break the agreement. They could, however, rewrite it when it comes up for renewal.

All this is a bit moot since I haven't seen any sign that any one here actually knows what is in those agreements.


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