Beware: Microsoft software pirates targeting Australia

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Beware: Microsoft software pirates targeting Australia

Microsoft’s Asia Pacific piracy investigator has warned that Australia is a prime target for Chinese fraudsters trading in the sale of high quality counterfeit products.

Brian Williams, senior regional investigator at Microsoft APAC said US and Canada are also popular markets but Australia has emerged as a prime target.

“Australia is favoured by [fraudulent] distributors; often in Asia people know they are buying counterfeits but in Australia people are buying quality counterfeits and being fooled” he said.

According to Vanessa Hutley, director of intellectual property, Microsoft Australia, approximately 200 calls a month are made to Microsoft Australia's caller hotline from consumers, in relation to fraudulent products.

Hutley said: "Consistently high quality products are being brought from China, in every [Australian] state, not so much in retail stores but more through system builder channels."

Windows is targeted but people are opportunistic, they go for what ever is in demand, she added.

She advised consumers to make the responsible checks when coming across a ‘good’ price, deal with reputable dealers and ask questions.

“It’s not about enforcement but also about technology and education,” she said.

Commenting on the conditions of the pirated goods, Williams said a physical examination would make it difficult to determine a counterfeit.

Recently, a raid in China found US$500 million worth of products and led to 25 arrests.

“Since July we have seen a reduction. Chinese counterfeiters thought they were immune but there are a lot of people sitting in jail now. We believe the action has had an impact," Williams said.

Microsoft investigators receive leads in many different ways including help from border security agencies such as Customs as well as consumers. These leads are then followed up by our world wide teams.

Williams could not comment on current investigations but confirmed they are ongoing.

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