Victorian reseller Centre Com Sunshine and its director Raymond Xianke Huang have agreed to pay Microsoft $450,000 in damages for selling pirated Microsoft software.
Centre Com runs nine stores in Victoria, in addition to an online store. Centre Com is also an authorised Apple service centre and reseller.
Microsoft sent two investigators to purchase new computer systems from the reseller, both were found to have counterfeit Certificates of Authenticity (COAs) attached, with unauthorised copies of Windows 7 Professional installed.
The reseller agreed to stop selling unlicensed Microsoft software after admitting it had installed unlicensed Microsoft Windows operating systems on computers using leaked product keys and counterfeit COAs.
Microsoft Australia legal counsel Clayton Noble said Microsoft will continue to do business with Centre Com.
"Purchasing Microsoft products from unauthorised resellers compromises the integrity of software distribution channels, and is unfair to those Microsoft resellers who obey the law and purchase and resell only genuine and licensed Microsoft software products available from Microsoft’s authorised distributors," Noble said.
The counsel reminded businesses that by selling pirated software they are risking financial pain and reputational damage, as well as putting their customers at risk.
"The risks of installing non-genuine software are serious, ranging from system crashes, malware and data loss to identity theft."
If you suspect a business is selling Microsoft software that isn't genuine and licensed, you can anonymously report it to Microsoft Australia here.
According to Microsoft, both vendor and reseller said to be pleased "to have resolved the matter so they can continue to develop their working relationship".
Centre Com was established 18 years ago as a PC equipment provider, offering IT services as well.
Centre Com joins a list of resellers that have been caught by Microsoft. In April online reseller Moonbox Software was ordered to pay nearly $1 million in damages to for selling illegal software keys.
In October 2016, Victoria-based PC Case Gear was also told to pay $250,000 to Microsoft for obtaining 4000 Microsoft Windows 7 Certificates of Authenticity (COAs) that belonged to the Microsoft Authorised Refurbisher Program (MAR).
Software Oz, PC-Tek and Bytestech have all had to pay Microsoft for selling unauthorised copies of software and product keys.