Microsoft is taking legal action against Comet for allegedly supplying counterfeit Windows recovery CDs to customers who bought PCs and laptops via its network of retail outlets.
According to Microsoft, Comet created more than 94,000 sets of Windows Vista and Windows XP recovery disks at a factory in Hampshire, before selling the media to customers from its retail outlets across the UK.
"As detailed in the complaint filed today, Comet produced and sold thousands of counterfeit Windows CDs to unsuspecting customers in the United Kingdom," said Microsoft's David Finn, associate general counsel for Worldwide Anti-Piracy and Anti-Counterfeiting.
"Comet's actions were unfair to customers. We expect better from retailers of Microsoft products - and our customers deserve better, too."
In a statement sent to V3, Comet did not deny it had created the recovery disks, but claimed that it had not infringed on Microsoft's copyright, and was merely acting in the interest of its customers.
"Comet has 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. Comet firmly believes that it acted in the very best interests of its customers," the statement noted.
The company explained its actions by stating that customers have been adversely affected by Microsoft's decision to stop supplying recovery media with each Windows PC sold, and said it will defend its position vigorously.
Microsoft encouraged any users who suspect they may have been sold an illegitimate copy of its software to visit http://www.howtotell.com to find out more and, urged them to report any suspicious software to Microsoft.
Redmond is one of the major players behind anti-piracy non-profit trade association Business Software Alliance (BSA).
The most recent report produced by the BSA in May 2011 claimed that piracy cost the software industry $58.8bn (£36bn) in 2010, although much of this still happens in developing markets.
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