Microsoft Warns Against Fake 'Blue Edition' Software

Microsoft said it has been receiving complaints from unsuspecting customers having been stung after buying counterfeit Windows XP software and "illicit software components" burned onto a CD. The fake software is being sold under a fabricated marketing program called "Blue Edition."

Blue Edition is being sold on auction sites that include eBay. However, Microsoft said that eBay has been proactively working with the company in battling the problem. "These dealers are peddling bogus products that can put customers and their personal information at serious risk," said David Finn, associate general counsel for Worldwide Anti-Piracy and Anti-Counterfeiting at Microsoft, in a statement.

To combat the pirated programs, Microsoft Thursday said it has launched 63 legal actions in 12 countries, including 16 in the U.S., 12 in Germany, 12 in France and seven in the U.K., as well as proceedings in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Japan, Mexico and New Zealand.

One of the cases announced Thursday spans four continents. Microsoft said that auctioneers in New Zealand sold high-quality counterfeit Microsoft Windows and Office software to unsuspecting consumers in Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the U.K. and 15 U.S. states. The defendants in this case sold the counterfeit software from their base in New Zealand and shipped it to unknowing customers in the U.S. directly from China, according to the complaint.

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Microsoft advises buyers to go to its piracy site to learn how to guard against fake software. The company said that if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. In addition, customers should look for a Certificate of Authenticity (COA) that identifies genuine products; however, it is just a label and not a software license.