Casey Considers Defamation Suit Against Microsoft

[Pretoria, 23 June 2000] – Casey Electronics is considering legal action against
Microsoft South Africa after the company, reacting to a tip-off, raided Casey’s
premises and then informed the press that Casey had been “trafficking in counterfeit
Microsoft software.”

The Pretoria branch of the Commercial Crime Unit of the SA Police Services yesterday
raided the JSE-listed Casey Investment Holdings offices in Centurion, South of
Pretoria, confiscating 38 Microsoft-branded mice and a copy of Windows 98 OEM.
The initial search warrant had specified that the police were looking for Windows NT
packages.

Casey CEO Mahomed Cassim revealed that the products confiscated had been
purchased from two separate and reputable IT companies with which the electronics
company had been dealing for the previous twelve years.

“In addition, we provided Microsoft with the relevant original tax invoices for the
purchases.” Cassim revealed.

Cassim commented that if the products are indeed counterfeit, they were of such high
quality that Microsoft’s Channel Integrity Manager Roelie Le Roux confirmed that he
could not immediately tell the difference.
“Le Roux, who was present at the raid, told me that if the products are counterfeits,
they are of such high quality that he could not tell the difference.” Cassim remarked.

“In these circumstances, we find it absolutely irresponsible of Microsoft South Africa
to issue statements to the press that damage the reputation of Casey based on
hearsay, an industry tip-off and inconclusive proof.” Cassim remarked.
“It’s hard to believe that a company of Microsoft’s calibre would seek publicity at the
expense of another company on an alleged counterfeit ‘coup’ of R2,560.”
Cassim warned that his company intend to take this further and are considering legal
action.

The statement with which Cassim particularly takes issue is the paragraph in the
Microsoft press release where it states that the raid was initiated “…after the Microsoft
SA anti-piracy team received a tip-off from an industry source that the company was
trafficking counterfeit Microsoft software.”

It is debatable whether this statement categorically states that it is Microsoft’s belief
that Cassey was involved in dealing with counterfeit products.
Rather, it appears to report that it was the opinion of the organization that tipped off
Microsoft about Cassey’s activities.

Nevertheless, Microsoft SA’s Mark Reynolds reiterated the statement.
“We stand by our statement,” he said. “We believe that it is in the public’s and the
market’s interest to be aware that counterfeit goods are being sold under the guise that
they are legitimate products.”
Reynolds claims that Microsoft made two purchases on separate occasions prior to
contacting the police for a search warrant.

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