Comet "sold 94,000 counterfeit copies of Windows"

Retailer facing allegations it sold tens of thousands of pirated Windows recovery discs

4 Jan 2012

Microsoft has accused high street retailer Comet of creating and selling more than 94,000 counterfeit copies of Windows recovery discs.

The software giant has issued legal proceedings against the Comet Group for selling the alleged counterfeits to customers that bought computers loaded with Windows Vista and Windows XP.

“As detailed in the complaint filed today, Comet produced and sold thousands of counterfeit Windows CDs to unsuspecting customers in the United Kingdom,” said David Finn, associate general counsel for worldwide anti-piracy and anti-counterfeiting at Microsoft.

“Comet’s actions were unfair to customers. We expect better from retailers of Microsoft products

“Comet’s actions were unfair to customers. We expect better from retailers of Microsoft products — and our customers deserve better, too.”

According to Microsoft, the legal action charges Comet with producing the counterfeits in a factory in Hampshire and then selling the media to customers at retail outlets around Britain.

Comet response

Comet denies any wrongdoing and says it will contest the case, claiming it provided the discs as part of its customer service, and hit out at Microsoft's decision to stop supplying recovery media.

"We note that proceedings have been issued by Microsoft Corporation against Comet relating to the creation of recovery discs by Comet on behalf of its customers," the company said in a statement, adding that it did not think it had infringed any intellectual property.

"Comet believes its customers had been adversely affected by the decision to stop supplying recovery discs with each new Microsoft Operating System based computer," the company said.

"Accordingly Comet is satisfied that it has a good defence to the claim and will defend its position vigorously."

It is as yet unclear how much, if anything, Comet charged for this "service to customers", but we have asked Comet for clarification. Comet stores were selling recovery discs for £15 when we performed a blind buying exercise in 2009, although there's no evidence to suggest these discs were illegitimately sourced.

Microsoft said customers concerned that software was fake should visit the company's How to tell website.

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