Sunday Mail Exposes: SOFTWARE PIRATE PLUNDERS Pounds 4m FROM BILL GATES; Bootlegger Sells Programs Worth Pounds 500 for Just Pounds 15.(news)

Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland), November 17, 2002 | Go to article overview

Sunday Mail Exposes: SOFTWARE PIRATE PLUNDERS Pounds 4m FROM BILL GATES; Bootlegger Sells Programs Worth Pounds 500 for Just Pounds 15.(news)


Byline: Derek Alexander Exclusive

IN HIS baseball cap, tracksuit top and dripping in gold, Steven Reid would never be mistaken for a slick computer genius.

But he has a secret that would leave computer billionaire Bill Gates choking on his microchips.

For the 48-year-old's gang has netted pounds 4million counterfeiting Microsoft programs.

The pint-sized crook is a major figure in a network which has distributed tons of illegal software.

Reid's crimes have bought him a pounds 250,000 home in Glasgow's west end, complete with snooker room.

He enjoys luxury holidays in the Mediterranean and blows thousands of pounds at the casino.

The British Software Alliance, a world watchdog for Microsoft and IBM, say pounds 500million is lost each year to unlicensed software and piracy.

They offer the public a pounds 10,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of pirates such as Reid.

Gates's Microsoft is also engaged in a UK-wide anti-theft campaign. But they seem powerless to stop the bootlegger and his gang.

Each day, for just a few hours, Reid opens the shutters of his Glasgow shop, between a pub and a derelict building.

A Sunday Mail investigator visited Reid at his PC CD Roms store and bought a counterfeit copy of Microsoft Office XP Professional 2001.

Licensed retailers sell the program for pounds 500 - but our man watched as Reid ran him off a copy in just five minutes and charged him just pounds 15.

As he handed over two disks, Reid said: "If you need anything else just give me a shout and I'll get it for you.

"I can get any Microsoft program you want. If I don't have it when you call, I'll have it within 48 hours."

Reid then took our cash and added it to a wad of around pounds 3000. …

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