Microsoft has clamped down on 11 computer retailers found guilty of selling pirated copies of its software to customers over the past six months.
The firm said it reached out-of-court settlements with the retailers, all of which admitted to selling illegal software and hard disk loading – something which usually happens when builders of computer systems sell PCs with unlicensed software pre-installed.
Graham Arthur, anti-piracy attorney at Microsoft UK, said that while Microsoft would always do its best to combat piracy at all levels, customers must play their part too by being more aware of the differences between real and pirated software.
“The majority of legal action that we take is driven by complaints or leads from people who want to help us stop pirates profiting at their customers’ expense," he said.
"We receive 45 emails every week to our UK piracy alias and in total take action against 10 rogue traders every month. Customers also need to be on their guard online because Microsoft takes down more than 250 internet auctions each week.”
Christine Throup from PC Support, one of the 11 rogue traders, said the firm did not realise it was installing Microsoft's software incorrectly.
"We’ll be working with Microsoft over the next few weeks to make sure what we do falls within their software rules from now on," she said.
EE, O2, Vodafone, Three and Airspan open the bidding
Worried about data privacy? Here are several ways to secure your Facebook account
The ICO is seeking an urgent warrant to investigate a major data breach - everything you need to know as the story continues to unfold