'Buyer Be Smart' on Online Auctions

REDMOND, Wash. , Dec. 4 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Microsoft Corp. today announced legal actions around the world against online auctioneers who allegedly orchestrated international marketing schemes and sold counterfeit software to unsuspecting...

"The International Trademark Association applauds Microsoft's actions to help make online auctions safer for consumers and less hospitable to counterfeiters who are violating trademark laws," said Alan C. Drewsen , executive director, INTA. "Unsuspecting customers seeking good deals on the Internet are a prime target for counterfeiters, and we encourage customers to be smart shoppers to avoid fakes. Legal actions like these send an important message around the world that intellectual property infringement, wherever it occurs, is a global crime that endangers consumers as well as brand owners."

Risks of Counterfeit Software

Counterfeit software presents real risks to consumers and businesses by opening their computers to security breaches that can result in the loss, damage or misuse of important data or personal information. Even the most experienced online shoppers searching online marketplaces for the best deal can be tricked by counterfeit resellers. A June 2006 forensic analysis of counterfeit Windows XP disks conducted by Microsoft found that 34 percent of the disks could not be installed correctly and 43 percent contained tampered code that could leave a victim open to data loss, identity theft or other malicious attacks. Businesses as well as consumers can be caught off guard by this risky software. More information on how consumers can make safe software purchasing decisions appears at http://www.howtotell.com.

Certain internet auction platforms, like eBay, proactively cooperate with Microsoft in the fight against counterfeiters. None of these actions we have filed today have been brought against eBay or other auction sites. In many cases, sites like eBay can and do play a role in fighting the problem.

Genuine Microsoft Software

These lawsuits are part of Microsoft's Genuine Software Initiative, which is aimed at advancing education within the software ecosystem as part of Microsoft's long-term efforts to increase awareness about the consequences of software piracy; advance engineering technologies to protect its intellectual property; and support enforcement of anti-piracy policies and laws. More information about Microsoft's Genuine Software Initiative is available at http://www.microsoft.com/genuine.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

SOURCE Microsoft Corp.