Microsoft Files Suit Against Former Authorized Education Reseller

REDMOND, Wash., Sept. 9, 1997 — Officials at Microsoft Corp. today announced that the company has filed a lawsuit against Nobell Technologie Inc. of Montreal for allegedly breaching its contract as a Microsoft® Authorized Education Reseller (AER).

The lawsuit, which was filed Sept. 5 in Superior Court in the Province of Quebec, alleges that Nobell distributed hundreds of copies of Microsoft Office Professional Edition and other Microsoft software products in violation of its AER contract with Microsoft. It also alleges that Nobell falsified invoices to conceal distribution of Microsoft Academic Edition software outside the permitted customer segment.

The lawsuit is the first Canadian litigation resulting from a new Microsoft initiative to ensure a legal AER segment. To ensure that Microsoft Academic Edition products are distributed to qualified education customers only, such as schools, faculty, students and other defined academic customer groups, Microsoft has embarked on an aggressive program to identify, audit and take necessary legal action against those AERs in violation of their contracts. So far this year, Microsoft has deployed “secret shoppers” to investigate over 120 Canadian resellers to ensure they are not distributing product to customers outside the academic sector. More tests are planned throughout Canada in the future.

“Microsoft is committed to building a strong education reseller channel that provides valuable services to schools across the country,” said George Kyriakis, education marketing manager, Microsoft Canada. “We will enforce the provisions of the contracts with our resellers, and we expect them to follow the terms of the agreements.” The contract between Microsoft and Nobell, which Microsoft has terminated, included a standard damages provision, and Microsoft officials believe that in this case, Nobell may be liable for over $500,000 (Can) in damages.

“When Microsoft takes action against a reseller who’s not playing by the rules, the rest of us benefit,” said Arlene Ferguson of Roar Computer Results of Hamilton, Ontario. “The educational institutions throughout Canada are the ones being hurt the most. I appreciate Microsoft’s work to make sure there is a level playing field and, more importantly, that academia continues to benefit from an honest AER program.”

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