Microsoft Wants To Set The Record Straight After Fallout From From E-Waste Recycler’s Counterfeiting Case

CE11162F 9D9F 46E1 A5F2 0A004DFF4BF5
Microsoft has stepped out to explain its side of a recent story here that made headlines and it underscores that it's never wise to jump to conclusions in legal cases unless you have a firm grasp on the particulars. This week, we reported on an e-waste recycler who was sentenced to prison for 15 months for selling unofficial Windows install disks. At first glance, it may have been easy to consider Microsoft the bad guy for its overzealous prosecution.

In the company's recent blog post, Corporate VP of Communications Frank X. Shaw gives great detail on the case, based entirely on publicly available records. While the company clearly has its own interests and its customers interests at heart, the facts laid out here help to paint a far better picture of the criminal activity that was going on.

The first thing Microsoft has cleared up about this case is that it had nothing to do with the prosecution of Eric Lundgren; it was only brought into the case later for expert input. In reality, the case was kicked-off entirely by US Customs after it intercepted clearly counterfeited software. In addition, even after being warned multiple times, Lundgren continued to make his shipments.

Microsoft Genuine Discs

There are many little details scattered in throughout this tale of woe and bad decision-making, but ultimately, a one-and-done argument to solidify your thoughts on the matter could be this: Lundgren didn't just burn installer discs with Microsoft's own tool; he went through great effort to make sure that the resulting discs looked as genuine as possible. These weren't just discs with a Sharpied "Windows 7" label on them.

Further, while it was claimed that these discs were sold for twenty-five cents a piece, some discs were sold for at least $3.50. That might seem almost superfluous, but when you're selling thousands of discs, that turns into some serious profit really quickly. In one email, Lundgren made his intentions clear: "This will ensure a steady income for the next year to come! :)"

Microsoft's beef with Lundgren's actions are two-fold. On one hand, the company has a program in place for people running businesses just like Lundgren's to procure cheap licenses - $25, to be exact. With 28,000 licenses not sold through Microsoft, the company effectively missed out on $700,000 in profit. The second issue is that the software provided simply wasn't legitimate, and worse, it was trying to be.

Ultimately, it's hard to believe that Lundgren didn't realize that what he was doing was illegal, especially in this day and age. If there's a lesson to learn from all of this: don't sell software you don't have the rights to sell. Its a simple rule to live by!