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Wednesday, January 04, 2012
Microsoft Takes Legal Action Against U.K. Retailer Comet

Microsoft today issued proceedings against Comet Group PLC for allegedly creating and selling more than 94,000 sets of counterfeit Windows Vista and Windows XP recovery CDs.

The alleged counterfeits were sold to customers who had purchased Windows-loaded PCs and laptops.

"As detailed in the complaint filed today, Comet produced and sold thousands of counterfeit Windows CDs to unsuspecting customers in the United Kingdom," said David Finn, associate general counsel, Worldwide Anti-Piracy and Anti-Counterfeiting at Microsoft. "Comet's actions were unfair to customers. We expect better from retailers of Microsoft products - and our customers deserve better, too."

The suit charges Comet with producing the counterfeits in a factory in Hampshire and then selling the media to customers from its retail outlets across the U.K.

Comet is currently owned by French retail company Kesa Electricals PLC, although it is reportedly being purchased by private equity firm OpCapita LLP later this year.

According to Kesa, Comet provided the discs as a service to its customers between March 2008 and December 2009. It stopped the practice when Microsoft raised objections. Consumers buying PCs or laptops could create their own recovery CDs but many did not, and faced problems when their computers failed, he said.

Comet plans to defend its position.

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