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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.





"I'm an Internet expert too. It's all right to wire the industrial zone only, but there are many problems if other regions of the North are wired." -- North Korean Supreme Commander Kim Jong-il
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