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9/19/2005
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Microsoft Sues Eight Companies For Piracy

The lawsuits stemmed from consumer leads called into the company's anti-piracy hotline.

With the help of consumer leads, Microsoft Corp. on Monday said it has sued eight companies suspected of software piracy.

The companies, based in Arizona, California, Illinois, Minnesota and New York, allegedly distributed counterfeit and/or infringing Microsoft software or software components, the Redmond, Wash., company said. The suits stemmed from consumer leads called into the company's anti-piracy hotline.

Microsoft gathers evidence through "software piracy" who purchase products from the companies, company officials said. Microsoft also provides an online validation tool that customers can use to test whether their software is genuine.

Under Microsoft's Windows Genuine Advantage program, customer duped into buying counterfeit products may qualify for free replacement software.

The lawsuit against MicroCity4Less.com of Torrance, Calif., relied, in part, on evidence submitted by consumers through the WGA program, Microsoft said. Customers reported being sold counterfeit copies of Windows XP Professional.

The other lawsuits relied on evidence gathered through Microsoft's secret-shopper program. Two of the suspected counterfeiters, BWT Industry Technology Service Inc., which does business as Computer Max Co. of Sierra Vista, Ariz.; and Ion Technologies Corp. of Minneapolis, Minn.; are also accused of violating prior settlement agreements.

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