Microsoft Taking 10 More to Task

Microsoft continued its litigious streak against alleged software pirates, this time targeting individuals participating in the company’s discount software program.

The Redmond, Wash., software giant filed lawsuits against seven companies taking part in its Microsoft Action Pack Subscriptions (MAPS), a program offering discounted software to qualified business partners for internal and product evaluation use.

What they did, Microsoft alleged, is take the for-internal-use-only software and resell it to consumers, some of which made purchases on Internet-based auction sites. The alleged companies, Microsoft added, repeatedly violated the terms of the MAPS agreement, which only allows business partners to subscribe to the program once a year, as well as requires them to keep the software in-house.

“Our partners are negatively affected by the activities of those who compete unfairly by either selling illegal software and components or abusing agreements that other partners abide by,” John Ball, Microsoft U.S. System Builders Partner Group general manager, said in a statement.

“These dishonest resellers sell products at minimal costs, undercutting the business of legitimate resellers,” he continued. “Those who operate ethically within the law take a hard financial hit. We like to see our honest partners succeed.”

According to officials, this is the first time the company has gone after companies abusing the MAPS program.

Lawsuits were also filed against three companies in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania for allegedly selling counterfeit software.

Microsoft has been aggressively pursuing individuals and companies that, it says, undercut its legitimate business partners by selling software on the cheap at rates its partners can’t match.

In April, the company filed suit against seven companies for violating Microsoft copyright and trademark protections and one suit for violating the Anti-counterfeiting Amendments Act of 2003.

It filed suits in June against four companies accused of selling either illegal copies of Microsoft software or its Certificate of Authenticity (COA) labels. And in September, it filed eight more lawsuits against resellers allegedly selling counterfeit software.

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