Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Microsoft Sues over Pirated Software

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Microsoft Sues over Pirated Software

Article excerpt

TAMPA -- Microsoft Corp. is suing 15 Florida companies, alleging that they sold counterfeit versions of Windows 95, Windows 98, and other company software.

Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft is the world's dominant maker of personal computer software. Its Windows operating system runs the basic functions of 90 percent of the world's personal computers.

The lawsuits filed in federal courts seek unspecified damages and a judge's order to stop distribution of the software, corporate attorney Nick Psyhogeos said Wednesday.

They come at a time when technology crimes are on the rise throughout Florida, according to police quoted in a company release.

"We're finding a substantial increase of technology-related crime in the state," said Phil Ramer, director of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's Office of Statewide Intelligence. "Organized crime rings have begun to include software piracy in their roster of other illegal activities because of the large sums of money that they stand to make."

Businesses, consumers and the government are the ones who suffer, company executives said.

Software piracy cost Florida 7,186 jobs in 1997 and $490 million in lost wages, tax revenue and retail sales, said Psyhogeos, citing a Microsoft-commissioned study from International Planning & Research Corp., a market research company.

And counterfeit software, which often has viruses and bugs, does not come with technical support or warranty protection, and consumers aren't eligible for software upgrades.

The lawsuits filed yesterday were against companies in Tampa, Orlando, Miami and eight other cities in Central and South Florida, one of the company's largest anti-piracy initiatives in a single state, executives said. …

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