Microsoft claims latest scalp in war on counterfeit software

Manchester-based retailer Zoobon has been closed down by Microsoft for counterfeiting software

The current stage in the campaign against piracy from the Business Software Alliance (BSA) has claimed its latest victim after Manchester based Internet retailer Zoobon was closed down for selling counterfeit Microsoft software.

According to Microsoft, "it had received a number of complaints from Zoobon customers unhappy with the quality of the products they had been sold" before it moved in on Zoobon. In an investigation conducted over the course of a year with the help of eBay, Zoobon was found to have counterfeited £3m worth of software, according to a spokeswoman for Microsoft.

Following the investigations, an out-of-court settlement was reached between Microsoft and the individuals behind Zoobon under which they ceased trading and gave an undertakings not to sell counterfeit Microsoft software in the future. Zoobon's site on eBay site has closed down.

Michala Alexander, Microsoft head of anti-piracy, said: "We take our responsibility seriously to protect consumers and legitimate channel partners from counterfeit software. This was a major counterfeit operation selling goods which were hard to distinguish from the genuine article."

According to the Business Software Association's latest survey, which was conducted by IDC, if the UK could cut the amount of counterfeit software by 10 percent it could generate nearly 34,000 new jobs, £11bn in economic growth and £2.8bn in tax revenues.

"This could solve the chancellor's problems in one go," said Mike Newton, a spokesman for the BSA. "The survey really underlines the knock-on effects from piracy."

According to Newton, IDC estimates the cost of "piracy" by looking at the total number of systems sold, the total number of software packages sold and other data and then cross-analysing the figures "based on the average company".