In a press release issued yesterday, Microsoft announced that it had successfully prosecuted a gang of software counterfeiters which the company claims was responsible for over 90 percent of fake Microsoft products distributed world-wide.
The owner of Taipei-based software distie-stroke-copier Maximus Technology, Huang Jer-sheng, has been sentenced to four years imprisonment in a hearing before a Taiwanese court. His associates have been given sentences ranging from eighteen months to three years.
The company claims that the counterfeiters produced cloned versions of 21 different Microsoft products with an estimated retail worth of $900 million.
David Finn, associate general counsel for worldwide anti-piracy and anti-counterfeiting at Microsoft – and presumably the owner of the biggest business cards in the industry – said the sentences provide “another stark reminder of the consequences of counterfeiting Microsoft products,
” and that the case was a “testament to the strong partnership between local law enforcement authorities and private companies, and shows the impact those partnerships can have in getting counterfeit software off the market and bringing criminal counterfeiters to justice.
Investigations into the syndicate took place over a period of six years and spanned five continents, and involved local law enforcement as well as the Intellectual Property Crime project at INTERPOL.
Microsoft is clearly hoping that with the counterfeiting ring dissolved sales of their products at a retail level – especially the flagging flagship Vista – will pick up as a result of the hopeful scarcity of cheap pirated options. The case also shows, however, that the anti-piracy systems built into recent Microsoft products – including Windows Genuine Advantage – aren't quite as effective as the company had perhaps hoped.
Have you ever been duped into buying software you later found to be counterfeit? Let us know over in the forums