MS continues crackdown

But resellers divided over piracy raids.

Microsoft's aggressive tactics for dealing with traders guilty of software piracy - which has included raids in conjunction with the Business Software Alliance and the ‘naming and shaming' of perpetrators - have been met with mixed reaction by IT resellers operating in the UAE. Microsoft has initiated a series of raids across the emirates during the past month, resulting in 10 arrests and the confiscation of more than 300 disks containing pirated software. It also recently named Dubai-based reseller Sun Rose Computer as a company censured for breaching Microsoft's intellectual property rights - the second time this year it has publicly identified a guilty party following an earlier out-of-court-settlement with reseller Royal Focus Trading.

Tolga Altinordu, OEM director at Microsoft Gulf, told Channel Middle East that the software giant regards "enforcement" as the last resort when it comes to piracy.

He says Microsoft's preferred measures for tackling piracy include educating consumers and developing anti-piracy technology for its products, but he says the vendor will continue to come down hard on resellers if necessary.

"So far we have only named two resellers, but the monitoring of the channel is an ongoing activity. We prefer to avoid legal action, but we will take it if necessary," he warned.

Talal Ahmed Al Zaabi, chairman at Grandsys Group, believes Microsoft is right to name resellers found guilty of piracy. "For somebody to spend billions in developing software and someone else to come along and copy it is unethical and illegal," he commented.

However, Al Zaabi urged Mircosoft to reconsider its pricing strategy and to "get closer" to resellers to avoid creating tension.

Rajesh Keshwani, director at Dubai-based reseller Tiger General Trading, also feels that a more structured pricing policy and creative approach to promoting genuine software would be a better alternative to conducting raids.

"Some of the outlets are operating a very strict policy of only offering a legal version, but we feel that some of the pricing on these products is very high," he said.

Mohammed Jaber, CEO at reseller Winning Deal, added: "The decision [to name resellers involved in piracy] belongs to the lawmakers. Some people believe it is good to publicise it and some don't. I think it is something that the authorities should decide," he said.

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