Microsoft will be sending out teams of investigators to check software licences at UK businesses as part of a new campaign to cut piracy by five per cent over the next three years.
The 'Keep IT Real' campaign will involve two teams of investigators, called Feet on the Street, making visits to over 800 UK companies suspected of piracy. The choice of companies are the results of tip-offs received by Microsoft.
There will also be town-specific campaigns in UK piracy hotspots such as Manchester, Huddersfield and Nottingham.
"Reducing levels of Windows piracy by five per cent will help generate substantial extra revenue for Microsoft's 30,000 UK partners and their local economies," said Michala Alexander, Microsoft's UK head of anti-piracy.
"We are looking into how we put in place measures to halt software piracy across other Microsoft products."
Other activities include seminars at local chambers of commerce, newspaper advertising on how to guard against software piracy and joint work with local Trading Standards offices to catch those using unlicensed software.
The company also signalled a further step up in the number of prosecutions. This week it announced the initial results of its clampdown on the sale of counterfeit software in the Glasgow area.
In projects spanning three years investigations were conducted into 12 companies, resulting in court proceedings and payments of up to £75,000 each to Microsoft.
The company also reported that within seven months it has had over 35,000 suspected illegal items removed from eBay.
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