Microsoft tackles XP counterfeiting with new replacement programme

Microsoft is hoping to track down counterfeit gangs in the UK with an initiative to help victims replace dodgy copies with originals.

The company says it has experienced a deluge of high quality counterfeit copies of its flagship XP product – counterfeits of such exactitude that even the holographic logos are present.

Now, under the Windows XP Counterfeit Project, victims of such counterfeits can send in the dodgy discs and have them replaced with the genuine article for free (although the cost of posting it in is borne by the sender).

‘This is a great opportunity for users to confirm the authenticity of Windows XP software whilst helping gather vital information about illegal traders,’ said Alex Hilton, Licence Compliance Manager at Microsoft.

Although it may appear to be an easy way for pirates to simply swap their stock of counterfeit discs for the boxed product, there is a limit of five discs that can be submitted per person, and each needs a valid proof of purchase before being accepted.

The initiative will hopefully produce a paper trail leading back to the vendors selling the dubious copies via receipts, invoices and other information. In addition, those submitting software under the scheme will be asked to provide a witness statement describing the purchase.

‘We’re trying to help people and small businesses that have been innocently duped by these high quality counterfeits,’ said a spokesperson, ‘And help level the playing field for computer vendors that use genuine Windows products.’

The scheme is being tried out first in the UK and is open to anyone (excepting volume customers) that have bought a computer with XP Home or Professional pre-installed before 1 November 2004. The offer runs until 31 December 2004.

More information is available at the company website.

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