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Comet to challenge Microsoft ‘piracy’ claim


Electricals retailer Comet has today said it will “defend its position vigorously” amid accusations from leading global software provider Microsoft that it created and sold over 94,000 sets of counterfeit Windows Vista and Windows XP recovery CDs.

The alleged counterfeits, which Microsoft suggested were produced in a factory in Hampshire, were apparently sold to Comet customers who had purchased Windows-loaded PCs and laptops.

A legal case has now been brought against the retailer.

In a statement this afternoon, the PC and white goods trader indicated that it had received legal advice to support its view that the production of the discs did not infringe the tech company’s intellectual property. It added that it believes it has a “good defence” to the claim.

“Comet firmly believes that it acted in the very best interests of its customers,” the retailer added.

“It believes its customers had been adversely affected by the decision to stop supplying recovery discs with each new Microsoft Operating System based computer.”

Microsoft said that it always aims to protect its customers from counterfeiting and piracy, ensuring they get what they pay for.

David Finn, Associate General Counsel of Worldwide Anti-Piracy and Anti-Counterfeiting at Microsoft, remarked: “As detailed in the complaint filed today, Comet produced and sold thousands of counterfeit Windows CDs to unsuspecting customers in the United Kingdom.

“Comet’s actions were unfair to customers. We expect better from retailers of Microsoft products - and our customers deserve better, too.”

In November last year retail group Kesa Electricals agreed to sell Comet, a loss-making part of its international business, to private investment firm OpCapita.

Like-for-like revenues at the electricals specialist, which embarked on a major TV marketing campaign over the recent festive period, fell by 18.6 per cent in the six months to October 31st 2011.

Published on Wednesday 04 January by Editorial Assistant

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