The only Microsoft software being brought into the country under new parallel importation laws is "non-legal product" including counterfeits, says Microsoft New Zealand marketing manager Steve Jenkins.
Microsoft is highlighting the case of Auckland distributor Samcor Computers, which inadvertently imported and supplied counterfeit copies of Windows 95.
The order for the software was made to a US-based reseller before the parallelling law was changed - and was thus technically illegal - but Jenkins says Microsoft "has not raised that as an issue."
Jekins says the bogus CDs "looked very good. They had Microsoft certficates of authentication, but the certificates had come from lower-value product. We did a trace and found they came from games products."
"That's exactly the kind of thing that's happening with parallel importing at the moment," says Jenkins. "With our pricing policy and thew way the dollar has gone, it's probably cheaper now to buy legitimate software here than in the US now.
"The only thing making its way into the country is non-legal product. Apart from counterfeit software, there's also original Microsoft product what has fallen off the back of a lorry. The CS packs, for example, that we send out to people whose original CD has broken or something, don't come with a licence agreement but they're being sold commercially."
Microsoft was made aware of the breach by an authorised distributor who suspected that counterfeit product was being distributed by a reseller, and subsequently approached Samcor to discuss the issue.
In a press statement issued yesterday, Microsoft says "it was apparent that Samcor was under the impression that their stock of Microsoft Windows® 95 software was genuine. On close examination, however, Microsoft confirmed that the product was counterfeit and all infringing copies were seized. In light of the circumstances Microsoft provided Samcor with genuine replacement software at a substantial discount."
Samcor's General Manager, Graham Dunn warns fellow resellers to take care when buying product and to check carefully that the software they receive is genuine. "It's just not worth a company's reputation to sell counterfeit product. We were fortunate to have the problem identified and rectified without legal repercussions or customer complaints."
Graham also noted that "if it wasn't for our excellent relationship with Microsoft it could have proved to have been a costly exercise. Not surprisingly, we now source all of our OEM product from the local authorised distributor channel."