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Microsoft Reaches Settlements with 13 Pirate Dealers

[Johannesburg, SOUTH AFRICA] The South African arm of international software corporation Microsoft revealed this week that it has reached settlements with 13 dealers allegedly distributing pirate software.

According to Microsoft SA MD Mark Reynolds, civil settlements have been reached with these dealers after investigations into the validity of the software had been conducted by the Microsoft team during its "Rolling Thunder" campaign.

The "Rolling Thunder" program saw Microsoft undercover agents purchasing computers with suspect software from dealers following tip-offs from other industry stakeholders and concerned individuals. The software was then tested by the company and if this software was found to be illegitimate, the company would then institute a civil claim against the dealer. Of the 30 computers purchased from different dealers, 27 were found to contain pirated software.

The company confirms that settlements with 13 dealers have already been reached and negotiations are continuing with other pirate vendors. The 13 dealer companies with which settlements have been reached are the Pretoria-based companies Nastron Computers and Computer Discovery, the Johannesburg-based ERBM Computers, Durban's Diala Nerd, Durban North Computer Centre and Computerama, Middelburg's Central Data Services and Imagen Computer Hardware, Eazion Computers, Pryor Computers, Datalink and HKPC Supply all based in Cape Town.

In addition, Reynolds revealed that Microsoft SA's recently concluded "Come Clean" antipiracy campaign resulted in 128 applications for licencing of over 14,000 desktop operating systems. This campaign, conducted during May and June, allowed companies to register their previously unlicenced Microsoft operating system software without fear of prosecution or civil claims being instituted by Microsoft. The clemency offer did not apply to software applications.



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