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Microsoft Sues Retailer Over Windows Recovery CDs

Microsoft is suing UK-based retailer Comet for selling allegedly counterfeited Microsoft software.

The retailer, part of Kesa Electricals, is accused of having copied Windows Vista and Windows XP system recovery CDs. The disks were then sold separately to customers who had bought Windows-based computers from Comet. According to Microsoft's contention, the counterfeit CDs were made in a factory in Hampshire, UK and then sold at Comet retail locations through that country. Comet has 248 stores across the United Kingdom.  

Microsoft claimed in a released statement that Comet sold 94,000 counterfeit CDs. Based on that number, Comet may have gained £1.4 million ($2.2 million) in allegedly illicit sales revenues, according to calculations in a Guardian story, which priced the recovery disks at £14.99 ($23.40) apiece. The alleged infractions took place from March 2008 to December 2009, according to the story.

Comet today released its own statement claiming that the recovery disks were made "on behalf of its customers" after Microsoft stopped providing them. The company's legal counsel doesn't agree that Microsoft's intellectual property was infringed.

"Comet firmly believes that it acted in the very best interests of its customers," the statement reads. "It believes its customers had been adversely affected by the decision to stop supplying recovery discs with each new Microsoft Operating System based computer."

David Finn, Microsoft's associate general counsel for worldwide anti-piracy and anti-counterfeiting effort, took an opposite view. "We expect better from retailers of Microsoft products -- and our customers deserve better, too," Finn said in a prepared statement.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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