Microsoft seals settlement deal in Netcom case

Microsoft seals settlement deal in Netcom case

Distributor pays out after being found guilty of importing products from outside the European Economic Arena

Software giant Microsoft has claimed another victory in its fight against piracy, achieving a seven-figure High Court settlement against Netcom Distributors.

The Watford-based distributor was found guilty of importing products from outside the European Economic Arena, distributing media kits to unlicensed users and supplying unbundled and recycled Certificates of Authenticity, causing damages and loss of revenue to Microsoft and the UK reseller community.

Michala Wardell, head of anti-piracy at Microsoft UK, said: “Netcom has admitted to the parallel importation of media kits and Certificates of Authenticity. Netcom was selling the certificates individually, which is illegal.

“Netcom is an example of an unscrupulous trader spoiling it for the thousands of resellers who are genuine and have honest businesses. Netcom has been removed from certain Microsoft partner programmes as part of an ongoing process.”

Wardell added: “Microsoft is looking into Netcom’s affected VARs. It was trading tens of thousands of pieces of unlicensed Microsoft software, causing millions of pounds worth of damage in loss of revenues for the channel.”

Wardell said Microsoft is continually combating piracy because it undercuts the authorised and genuine resellers and distributors which suffer: “The good name of the channel is ruined,” she said.

Richard Love, marketing manager at distributor Computers Unlimited, said: “Legitimate distributors are quietly pleased when someone is caught in a case like this as genuine businesses suffer because of it.

“Microsoft does a good job of policing the channel and is very good at trying to stamp out piracy.”

Robert May, managing director of reseller Ramsac, said: “Dodgy distributors affect the channel and should be penalised for it. Microsoft is very clear about purchasing from authorised partners only.

“When a distributor is offering illegal products at a cut price it drives channel prices down and has a knock-on effect through the channel.”

Netcom was unavailable for comment at the time of going to press.