21 independent British computer stores have appeared on a list of resellers compiled by Microsoft following a probe into counterfeit goods.
The list appears to relate to resellers that loaded pirate Microsoft products onto the hard drives of computer systems sold on to unsuspecting buyers.
Michala Wardell, head of anti-piracy at Microsoft UK, said that many of the buyers were unaware that the product being sold was not genuine. Wardell said that the piracy hotspots further suggested that the counterfeit trade was meeting demand from student populations however half of the list is based in middle England with six of the resellers from Birmingham and five from Liverpool.
The use of so-called "whistleblowers", presumably via the the Microsoft notification system informing the unsuspecting customers that their software is not genuine, also unveiled a small number of eBay traders selling software illegally.
Microsoft says most traders agreed to settle, presumably the terms of which were more attractive than an ongoing legal battle with the software giant, even if it meant agreeing to appear in the hall of shame. With Microsoft's goal clearly one of deterrent in the main, publishing the list will certainly serve as a warning to other would-be resellers of counterfeit software.
Resellers named by Microsoft:
Computer Services Repair, Birmingham
Marsh Computers High Tech Trading, Kent
B'N'I Computers, Birmingham
Morely Computers, Leeds
Discovery Computers, Birmingham
South Liverpool PC Repair, Leeds
Gemini Computers, Birmingham
Smithdown Computers, Liverpool
Bytesize Solutions, Birmingham
TC Links, Liverpool
Discount Computer Warehouse, Birmingham
SXC Industries Ltd t/a Stockxchange, Liverpool
Computer Resale, Chesterfield
Avesta UK Ltd, Manchester
Quest Computers, Gosport
KBR Computers, Merseyside
Surf-IT Computers, Hampshire
Jupiter IT, Merseyside
Exel Computers, Sheffield
Clarion Computers, Swansea
MCS Computers, Teeside
Little Laptop Shop eBay, aka recovery_dvds
Custom PC Shop
Fizz Time, aka Electricbuy