Microsoft Protects Texas Consumers From Obtaining Counterfeit Software

AUSTIN, Texas, Nov. 16, 2000 — Microsoft Corp. today took a step to help make the software market in Austin safer by taking legal actions against two Austin area software resellers for the alleged distribution of counterfeit Microsoft® software. These businesses allegedly persisted in distributing counterfeit software to unsuspecting consumers despite previous requests from Microsoft that they stop their illegal actions.

“It can be a real challenge to compete against businesses that are illegally selling pirated software,”
said Tommy Wald, president and CEO of NetForce Technologies Inc. in Austin.
“Consumers are often drawn in by artificially low prices and don’t realize that there are risks that accompany counterfeit software as well. We appreciate and support the efforts of Microsoft and the software industry to ensure that businesses can compete fairly and that consumers receive genuine products.”

Software piracy has a severe negative impact on state and local economies across the country. According to a study by International Planning and Research Corp., Texas’ software piracy rate is 25.7 percent, which means that more than one in four computers is running pirated software. This study also reports that software piracy cost the state nearly 7,000 jobs and over $434 million in combined wages and tax revenues in 1999, ultimately stealing away resources that could otherwise contribute to local and state improvement projects.

The following lawsuits announced today, and filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, allege that the defendants distributed counterfeit and/or infringing copies of Microsoft software to customers and/or investigators:

  • Star Tech PC & Software of Austin allegedly distributed counterfeit Windows® 95, Office Professional 97 and Office 2000 (Case No. A-00CA-730SS).

  • Compusource aka Discount-Software.com of Austin allegedly distributed counterfeit Windows 95, Windows 98 and Office Pro 97 (Case No. A-00CA-728JN).

“Microsoft wants consumers to know that counterfeit software is prevalent and there is a very real possibility that they could become victims of software piracy,”
said Janice Block, corporate attorney for Microsoft.
“In the long run, pirated software can cost consumers a lot more by increasing the potential for obtaining viruses, lacking key elements including software code, and making users ineligible for valuable technical support, warranty protection and upgrades. Microsoft is committed to helping Texas fight this serious problem in order to assuage the harmful effects of piracy to Texas’ economy, citizens and businesses.”

The Business Software Alliance (BSA), a software industry watchdog group, recently announced a truce period in Austin throughout November during which businesses are encouraged to review their software and ensure its compliance. Throughout the truce the BSA will help companies become compliant without imposing penalties for past illegal software usage. As a BSA member company, Microsoft is committed to supporting the BSA’s efforts and making sure that companies taking advantage of the truce have a cleaner software market from which they can obtain genuine Microsoft software and licenses.

Customers or resellers with questions about the legitimacy of Microsoft software should contact the Microsoft anti-piracy hot line, toll free, at (800) RU-LEGIT (785-3448) or send e-mail to piracy@microsoft.com. Additional information on piracy is available at Microsoft’s anti-piracy Web site at http://www.microsoft.com/piracy/ . Consumers can also obtain information by calling the Business Software Alliance anti-piracy hot line at (888) NO-PIRACY (667-4722) or by sending e-mail to software@bsa.org.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
“MSFT”
) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.

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