Microsoft uncovers counterfeit software valued in excess of R200 000
Microsoft South Africa today announced it has identified a high quality strain of counterfeit Microsoft Office 97 Pro goods being distributed in South Africa. The counterfeit products so far uncovered are valued at R200 000, however it is suspected that this is less than 10 percent of the total counterfeit software in the country. In addition to relying on information from the channel, Microsoft followed the many leads it was given with the assistance of the South African Police Commercial Branch and private investigators. "Once the products were identified as counterfeit we received great support from the channel in tracking down the suppliers of this contraband. It is the first time in South Africa that the channel has been approached to help Microsoft investigate counterfeit software with such outstanding success," said Steve Cope, software piracy manager at Microsoft. "Superficially, these are very good quality counterfeits. To the untrained eye they look identical. Yet, unsuspecting users may purchase this illegal software without realising the implications of using it. Counterfeit software is illegal in South Africa as well as being potentially harmful to users." Pirated software is not supported by any vendor, including Microsoft, and frequently contains viruses. Users and resellers of counterfeit software are open to prosecution resulting in fines and a possible prison sentence.