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Microsoft launches anti-spam suit

A German company has found itself on the receiving end of a lawsuit from the software colossus over allegations the company was responsible for sending millions of spam emails

Microsoft has launched a case against a German man believed to be the lynchpin of a spam gang.

The complaint has been lodged against an unnamed company in the North Rhine-Westphalia region of Germany and its managing director. The software behemoth alleges the company sent millions of spam emails advertising Web site design services, online casinos and pornography.

According to Microsoft's complaint, the company is part of a wider spam gang operating out of Ukraine and the US. The managing director apparently spent long stretches of time in the US, Microsoft said, where he built up a network of contacts. He has been running spam-for-sale sites and a business renting servers, which he labelled "bulk mailers", to spam companies. For just $625 (£343) per month, a firm could buy enough server space to send 74 million emails.

The managing director, however, blamed unnamed business partners for the racket.

Microsoft has sued the man under Germany's competition laws, as the country has no laws prohibiting spamming.

A Microsoft spokeswoman declined to comment on the case, saying the software giant would not comment on ongoing legislation.

silicon.com's Sylvia Carr contributed to this report