Bloomberg News

Microsoft Sues U.K. Retailer Comet for Selling Counterfeit CDs

January 04, 2012

Jan. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Microsoft Corp. sued Kesa Electricals Plc’s Comet unit for allegedly selling more than 94,000 counterfeit disks.

Comet made fake versions of Windows Vista and Windows XP recovery CDs at a factory in Hampshire, England, then sold them at its retail outlets across the U.K., Microsoft said in a statement on its website.

“Comet produced and sold thousands of counterfeit Windows CDs to unsuspecting customers in the United Kingdom,” said David Finn, associate general counsel in Microsoft’s anti-piracy unit, in a statement on its website.

Microsoft has replaced Vista and Windows XP with Windows 7, the operating system it introduced in October 2009. Together, the Windows products run more than 90 percent of the world’s PCs and account for 27 percent of Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft’s revenue, according to Bloomberg data.

Comet said in an e-mailed statement it hadn’t infringed Microsoft’s copyright and would defend the claim vigorously. Kesa agreed in November to sell the money-losing Comet unit to focus on markets such as France.

The Business Software Alliance, a lobbying group whose members include Microsoft, has estimated that piracy of computer software cost the industry $59 billion in 2010, although the U.S. Government Accountability Office has said the issue is too complex to quantify.

--With reporting by Susan Decker in Washington. Editors: Anthony Aarons, Peter Chapman

To contact the reporter on this story: Kit Chellel in London at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at

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