Microsoft Aims to Eliminate Piracy
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Despite being a powerful technology giant that earns billions in revenue and has millions of devoted users worldwide, Microsoft still struggles to keep knock-off software bearing its name away from popular public auctions sites such as eBay. This was the third consecutive holiday season that the Redmond, Washington-based company went after suspected sellers of counterfeit software both domestically and abroad. Is it a hopeless battle?
As recently as December 4, Microsoft filed 16 federal lawsuits against U.S.-based people and companies suspected of selling this knock-off software through auction sites. Although eBay specifically was found to be one of the most popular locations where those targeted in the suit sold their products, Microsoft has said it isn't blaming the online auction site. A representative for the technology powerhouse said that all online marketplaces are susceptible to abuse and that only the pirates are being held responsible for the piracy. Microsoft has also said that eBay has been proactively working with the company in battling the piracy problem.
Microsoft takes a number of precautions with the packaging and development of their software in order to assure consumers that they have purchased a legitimate product. All of the pirated software being found on auction sites is without the serial number, product activation key or any of Microsoft's other anti-piracy mechanisms. Windows XP remains the version of Windows most often pirated, though in many cases Vista is also being offered.
Microsoft has yet to release an official estimate as to the amount of money they've lost due to piracy on the web, though it can be assumed that the numbers are staggering. The business Software Alliance, an international association representing the software industry, estimates that software piracy resulted in losses of nearly $48 billion to legitimate businesses worldwide last year.
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