Thursday, 5 January 2012
Comet face Microsoft action
British electrical and computer retailer Comet Group is facing proceedings from Microsoft for allegedly creating and selling more than 94,000 sets of counterfeit Windows Vista and Windows XP recovery CDs which were then sold to customers who had purchased Windows-loaded PCs and laptops at a price of £14.99, netting some £1.4 million gross. Microsoft allege that Comet produced the counterfeits in a factory in Hampshire and then sold the discs to customers from its 284 retail outlets across the UK. Comet has yet to formally respond to Microsoft’s action but told the Guardian newspaper that it will contest Microsoft's claim because it acted in the interests of consumers after Microsoft had stopped supplying the recovery discs with new computers and Comet said it had "sought and received legal advice from leading counsel to support its view that the production of recovery discs did not infringe Microsoft's intellectual property”. The Comet business is currently in the process of being sold by its owners, the French company Kesa Electricals, for a nominal sum (£2) to a private equity firm OpCapita, with Kesa retaining responsibility for the Comet pension plan, currently £50 million in deficit. Kesa’s shares dropped 8% on the news of the action although it appears the OpCapita were made aware of the allegations during their process of due diligence.