Microsoft customers bust software pirates

25 Jul 2007

The biggest counterfeit software seizure in history took place yesterday in China when the FBI and the Chinese authorities worked together to arrest 25 people after seizing US$500m worth of pirated CDs and DVDs.

Microsoft said that this particular syndicate is “allegedly responsible for manufacturing and distributing more than $2 billion worth of counterfeit Microsoft software”.

Although manufactured in China, the pirated software had found worldwide distribution, in 27 countries among five continents. It contained counterfeit versions of 13 different Microsoft products in eight different languages including Vista, Office and XP.

The FBI and Chinese authorities found their way to the counterfeit software syndicate through the cooperation of over 1,000 Microsoft customers.

Using Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) anti-piracy technology the customers found that their software was fake and reported this, as well as handing over the counterfeit discs for analysis.

“This case should serve as a wake-up call to counterfeiters,” said Brad Smith, senior vice president for Microsoft.

“Customers around the world are turning you in, governments and law enforcement have had enough, and private companies will act decisively to protect intellectual property.”

Here in Ireland, financial losses for the software industry are reported to have hit the €124m mark last year alone, with 36pc of all software used here believed to be counterfeit.

By Marie Boran.