Investigators have today announced that they have found 25 UK computer shops selling illegal Microsoft software in the past six months alone.
Microsoft has already reached settlements with 21 of the retailers, who have admitted to loading pirated software onto the hard discs of their computers.
Investigators were informed of four rouge UK traders through whistleblowers who found the illegal software for sale over eBay.
Michala Wardell, head of anti-piracy at Microsoft UK has stated that many customers believed they were getting discounts and were not aware of the illegal nature of the software they were purchasing.
Wardell has also explained that the computer shops in question have been making huge profits on copies of genuine software or software downloaded illegally from the internet.
Most of those caught in the operation either claimed the illegal activities were carried out by rogue employees or that they were not aware that what they were doing was illegal. However Wardell says that most of them have agreed to work with Microsoft on how best to source and sell software.
"We attempt to deal with most offenders ourselves, but where sellers persist in illegal activities, we call in UK trading standards officers
"At a time when UK resellers are looking to expand their business post-recession, piracy not only impedes growth, but puts local hard-working computer shops out of business," said Wardell.
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