A total of 12 retailers and resellers have been caught selling pirated software and hard-loading during the latest crackdown by Microsoft's anti-piracy department.
Microsoft was particularly successful in Manchester where five of the 12 dealers caught. They include 1Hr Computers, Computer Warehouse, Intellect Computers, Annecto Computers and Charisma Computers.
Elsewhere in the UK, several Berwickshire-based companies were also found selling pirate software, including Boss Systems, Comp-U-Tel, Thatcham and ICN Computers. Cheshire-based Hi-Tec, Shropshire-based Swift Computers, Nottingham-based PWRTech and Leicester-based Unique Computers were the other four dealers caught.
Microsoft said that it was stepping up its targeting of retailers and resellers dealing in pirated software, especially with many channel firms struggling. "Historically, many in the channel have seen piracy as a relatively low priority – an irritation that could be ignored or put up with as long as business was good," said Microsoft general manager of Small, Medium Enterprises and Partners Group, Scott Dodds.
"However, at a time when the Federation of Small Business claims 120 businesses a day are going bust, Microsoft is working hard to stamp out unfair competition that puts pressure on resellers’ margins, and also threatens to drive them out of business."
The firm said that with around 80 per cent of its registered partners being small businesses with less than ten employees, it felt it needed to step up its anti-piracy operation. "Most resellers can't afford to live with even small losses to illegal traders, who will almost certainly be undercutting them," added Dodds.