The Personal Computer Association (PCA) has condemned Microsoft for an anti-piracy advertisement in the UK press which blacklisted a number of software resellers and for its ?coercion, intimidation and bullying? of OEMs and UK dealers who have been legally importing grey copies of Microsoft Office.
The full-length advertisement features a prison wall with barred windows and the caption: ?Counterfeit software dealers. Here?s your version of Windows.?
In an open letter to David Svendsen, Microsoft?s UK MD, PCA executive director Keith Warburton rebuked the software giant for ?using bully-boy tactics?. He rose to the defence of dealers that have been purchasing the grey product from unauthorised channels, claiming they would not have to do so if Microsoft had been fair in its pricing of MS Office.
In his letter, Warburton stressed that his organisation did not ?in any way condone software piracy?.
He continued: ?Illegal duplication and sale of any copyright product is theft and should be treated as such... However to the best of my understanding of English law, the importation into the UK from North America of legally produced ?grey? Microsoft software is neither a criminal nor civil offence, nor is its distribution or retail ? provided that nobody in the channel passes it off as having been produced for the UK market and thus eligible for Microsoft UK support.?
Warburton also referred to the ?cease and desist letters? Microsoft is supposed to have sent to OEMs. The company is said to have threatened prosecution should they continue to sell grey product and demanded ?full and unhindered access? to traders? premises and records as a condition for Microsoft not to take legal action.
Warburton told PC Dealer: ?Microsoft is implicitly saying that these people are traders of counterfeit products. This is unfair; at least two of the dealers named in the ad are denying any allegations and are refusing to sign any undertakings.?
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