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Comet "sold 94,000 counterfeit copies of Windows"

Comet

Posted on 4 Jan 2012 at 09:55

Microsoft has accused high street retailer Comet of creating and selling more than 94,000 counterfeit copies of Windows recovery discs.

The software giant has issued legal proceedings against the Comet Group for selling the alleged counterfeits to customers that bought computers loaded with Windows Vista and Windows XP.

“As detailed in the complaint filed today, Comet produced and sold thousands of counterfeit Windows CDs to unsuspecting customers in the United Kingdom,” said David Finn, associate general counsel for worldwide anti-piracy and anti-counterfeiting at Microsoft.

“Comet’s actions were unfair to customers. We expect better from retailers of Microsoft products

“Comet’s actions were unfair to customers. We expect better from retailers of Microsoft products — and our customers deserve better, too.”

According to Microsoft, the legal action charges Comet with producing the counterfeits in a factory in Hampshire and then selling the media to customers at retail outlets around Britain.

Comet response

Comet denies any wrongdoing and says it will contest the case, claiming it provided the discs as part of its customer service, and hit out at Microsoft's decision to stop supplying recovery media.

"We note that proceedings have been issued by Microsoft Corporation against Comet relating to the creation of recovery discs by Comet on behalf of its customers," the company said in a statement, adding that it did not think it had infringed any intellectual property.

"Comet believes its customers had been adversely affected by the decision to stop supplying recovery discs with each new Microsoft Operating System based computer," the company said.

"Accordingly Comet is satisfied that it has a good defence to the claim and will defend its position vigorously."

It is as yet unclear how much, if anything, Comet charged for this "service to customers", but we have asked Comet for clarification. Comet stores were selling recovery discs for £15 when we performed a blind buying exercise in 2009, although there's no evidence to suggest these discs were illegitimately sourced.

Microsoft said customers concerned that software was fake should visit the company's How to tell website.

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User comments

Microsoft logic

"and our customers deserve better, too.”

Your customers deserve an installation disc. Why exactly did Comet *need* to 'counterfeit' the discs?

By ANTIcarr0t on 4 Jan 2012

More info would be nice.

I suspect that they burnt "recovery discs" with an Enterprise license number on them or similar. Giving them with the licensed PC is OK, but selling them is not (I think?)

@ANTIcarr0t Quite! Although thats a fault of HP,Dell, Comet etc etc not Microsoft. But you're right, not giving the discs with PCs is a terrible practice. I do love the way new PC's have a "recovery partition" which is very useful after a HDD failure!!!

By JStairmand on 4 Jan 2012

Mark H

At one time all computers came with all the discs for the software that was included on the computer. For quite a few years now it seems that manufacturers just have a factory reset button for a hidden partition on the computer. This is great until your hard drive, or computer is no longer accesable. It should be made law to provide all the discs for software on the computer. I think the point of this story is that Comet were selling copied discs to customers who needed to reinstall their software that they owned the right to in the first place. It says in the license that you can make copies of your software for your own use. Not to sell it on to others for profit. This should be a lesson to all manufacturers and retailers.

By airborne_warrior on 4 Jan 2012

Our customers?

They're not Microsoft's customers. They're Comet's customers. Which is how Microsoft gets away without having to provide any support for end users.

You can't have it both ways.

By Grace_Quirrel on 4 Jan 2012

Product Keys or just Installation Media?

OEM's do have the option to buy slightly more expensive licences that include installation discs, but most, if not all are forced to opt for the cheaper product key only licencing to keep costs down. I imagine this is what has happened here, with Comet attempting to fill the gap of missing installation discs by burning their own.

With a product key only licence end-users can purchase installation media at minimal cost direct from Microsoft. I would guess that this is where the infringement lies, with Comet not being legally in a position to supply installation media. It's unlikely to be as serious as providing pirated product licences to customers but will still fall outside of copyright laws.

By skarlock on 4 Jan 2012

Better?

@skarlok

If that's the case, then how do the customers deserve better? Do Microsoft make a superior media from which to install their software?

By Steve_Adey on 4 Jan 2012

Product key?

A bit more clarity would be good....did comet put out hardware without a product key sticker on it? Was there a fake sticker? It's quite an operation to to manufacture the boxed media, that's crazy of them....as I understand it, it's ok to obtain a burnt copy of your install media if you have the genuine key....it says this in the Windows T&C

By Roger_Andre on 4 Jan 2012

@Steve_Adey

Of course it would be the same, but copyright laws do cover the copying and distribution of the installation media. Under these laws you can make copies of licensed media you own at home for you own use, but cannot redistribute them. If Comet copies installation media without consent from Microsoft for distribution with new PC's then they would be breaking copyright laws.

By skarlock on 4 Jan 2012

@skarlock

I understand your point, and completely agree, it's just I'm trying to understand (not from your good self of course), how Microsoft think the end consumer was getting a raw deal? I can only fathom, that if the consumer installs it they will fall foul of Microsoft's licensing.

I've just answered my own question, haven't I?

By Steve_Adey on 4 Jan 2012

From when I was at university - in the late 1990 - I wanted a disk for a computer that I brought from them. You could have the disks but had to pay a handling cost..may be this is what MS is upset by?

Mark

By mprltd on 4 Jan 2012

WOW

Comet sold 94,000 PC's - Who'd have thought!!!

By ironbath on 4 Jan 2012

If Microsoft win this they may lose a good supplier. Comet may stop selling computers except macs.
Good for apple though another dedicated Apple store.

By curiousclive on 4 Jan 2012

Slim margins

@curiouslive

I would think margins on PCs are quite slim these days, hence the counterfeit tactic.

On Apples, they'll be thinner that Victoria Beckham, so I don't see them cutting off their nose to spite their face. After all, they were then ones in the wrong.

By Steve_Adey on 4 Jan 2012

Piracy? Seriously??

Unless I've got the wrong end of the stick, it sounds like Comet supplied its PC with the appropriate (and legal) Windows licences? But made copies of the physical media so customers would have a recovery disc? This is wrong ...how exactly? If they're licenced Windows users why can't they have a recovery disc? Sounds like it is Microsoft who should be ashamed for their penny-pinching ways in not supplying the recovery discs themselves.

By cpicking on 4 Jan 2012

So...

Microsoft wil sort this out but when I complain to them that a chain of shops in my town are selling counterfeit Windows and conning people they are not interested? There are 5 stores in my city which do this, yes I understand thats not as big as COmet but still.. they say they want ot stop piracy and fraud shouldn't they be also looking out for the smaller stores who commit the same crime?

By feuerfrei_xx on 4 Jan 2012

MS is taking the pi$$

I hate Comet but for once I'm on their side - they were clearly providing a service to customers MS was unwilling to provide. There was no 'pirating' of licence keys, just copying of software to which the customers were already entitled.

Several iterations of Windows ago I had a kosher MS Windows installation disk that my PC refused to read. I burned a copy of the installation disk and that worked fine. Is MS going to come after me next, complaining that I sidestepped 'handling charges' by finding a way around their crappy QC?

By Noghar on 4 Jan 2012

@Steve_Adey

Yes, the profits margins are extremely small - we make around only £15-25 on each laptop we sell, we do not bother with pre-built desktops - we instead build our own to sell on becuase COmpany made computers are not good margins.. as for Apple - if we sold Apple products and kept our prices the same as everywhere else.. we would make around... a pound for Macs and lose a couple of quid for every iDevice - you make the money back on accessories... if you can

By feuerfrei_xx on 4 Jan 2012

Comet not so innocent

"Comet produced and sold thousands"

The key word there being sold

By Steve_Adey on 4 Jan 2012

Comet branded PC?

Was there a Comet (i.e. Advent / Packard Bell) brand of PC? Or otherwise surely it was another brand - Acer / HP Compaq / etc?

Does seem a bit daft...

And wasn't the recovery media removal thing a "drive to reduce waste" as well as a cost thing?

Something isn't being reported right here...

By JulesWilko on 4 Jan 2012

No

"Comet believes its customers had been adversely affected by the decision to stop supplying recovery discs with each new Microsoft Operating System based computer,"

SO... who's decision was it to drop recovery dvds? The oems or Microsoft...

By rhythm on 4 Jan 2012

Good customer service

It strikes me that Comet probably were just solving a problem. Customers of Comet are not going to be the self-supporting PC Pro reader, and they are likely to come into the store trying to return their "broken" PC as they cannot restore as there is no media. So, here's the media, next customer.

I can't see how Comet are in the wrong here morally - only on a technicality that Microsoft should sort out in another way, like getting the manufacturers to provide suitable media for the products to ensure that Windows is supported properly.

By MJ2010 on 4 Jan 2012

@MJ2010

Ok, on those grounds I'm gonna start making copies of Norton Anti Virus and sell to those poor loves that don't know how to upgrade their 60 days free trial because they don't have the media.

And I won't bother telling Symantec because if they wanted to, they could've put the media in the box.

By Steve_Adey on 4 Jan 2012

Could be retaliation by Microsoft

It is possible that Comet refused to join Microsoft's MAR program. This program charges refurbishers a fee to reload previously installed versions of Windows.

It is possible that Comet gave these CDs to customers for free with the machines as a customer service and MS is calling it a sale because the customer paid for the PC and the disc was included.

This suit could be retaliation against Comet for not joining the MAR program and not paying MS the wanted fees.

This suit may be intended to scare large retailers who have refused to join Microsoft's MAR (or similar) program.

Perhaps MS felt it was better to try this outside the US as they may feel that US Federal Judges are tired of hearing cases in which MS is simply trying to bully smaller companies into lining it's coffers.

Or I could be completely wrong. Microsoft may be doing this to protect consumers from reloading their own machines.

By TheTruth on 4 Jan 2012

'journalism'

The length of this comment thread is testament to the fact that the article at the top leaves out important technical information. This article belongs in the "Tech ate my Hamster" section of the magazine. It's totally inadequate.

By c6ten on 4 Jan 2012

@c6ten

We've asked both Comet and Microsoft to clarify full details of the case, but (so far) they've both declined to comment.

We won't and can't speculate, especially when the story is legally sensitive.

Barry Collins
Editor

By Barry_Collins on 4 Jan 2012

@MJ2010

The article makes it sound like Comet were selling CDs to customers who came in complaining that their PC had crashed and they needed to re-install.

The problems here, as I see it are twofold:
1. The PCs are generally provided with the recovery images on the machine and the user is informed that they should make backups before they do anything else.

2. Comet we *SELLING* illicit copies of CDs to customers who were already in dire straits.

IF they had been giving the CDs away to customers who asked for them and provided reciepts, I would say that MS are being over zealous.

If the story is as it seems, that Comet were selling illegal copies for gain, then they are the sleazy ones...

By big_D on 4 Jan 2012

This sounds like the usual MS EULA issues...

...where better minds than I (I'm looking at YOU, Honeyball) have struggled with exactly what the licences do and do not permit.

I would not be at all surprised if many retailers have done the same thing.

Have MS picked on Comet because they seem close to being sold (or possible bankruptcy?? mere speculation on my behalf) and want to make sure they're on the list of creditors?

Either way, exactly what has happened ought to be made clear as a salutary lesson for others.

By milboro on 4 Jan 2012

Arguments above are BS

Every installed MS OS creates its own recovery media when the installed OS is booted, and has the option to recreate that recovery media at a later date.

If some AH buyer can't be bothered to follow the instructions, refuses to create recovery media, and couldn't care less about it at a later date until they've destroyed their system through abuse or ignorance, then it's their own damn fault for being such DHs.

That does not give Comet the right to pirate software. "Our customers are too stupid to follow the OS instructions to create recovery media, so we have a factory banging out pirate copies for them." is no defence to copyright theft.

If a buyer is too stupid to operate a PC, or cannot read any of the 42 available languages the OS runs in, they should not be considered of sound mind and unable to enter a contract of sale in the first place.

Maybe Comet should be charged with abusing and fleecing the mentally challenged and vulnerable too.

By mbassoc on 5 Jan 2012

Harry Potter and the Piles of Loot

My family got a Harry Potter boxed set for Christmas, however, the discs are only warranted for 90 days, after which I'm screwed.

It would appear that half the muppets here believe HMV should be allowed to set up a factory in China knocking off pirate DVDS and sell them through their stores, 'as backups'.

I hope the resulting fine is high enough to see the company fold. We could use one less crooked shop selling knock off cheap sh!t on our highstreets.

By mbassoc on 5 Jan 2012

Comet sell computers (not Windows OS)

As Barry Collins points our, we don't know all the facts so pre-judging is diffucult. My view is that Comet do not sell software so it is much more likely Comet were either giving (or selling) Windows disks to customers buying computers. The root problem here is that Microsoft stopped OEMs (and others) from providing Windows disk with computers. If Comet sold disks I guess that is bad but at least they made a disk available which is a damn site more than Microsoft does !

By MikeRobins on 5 Jan 2012

Comet "sold 94,000 counterfeit copies of Windows" - REALLY?

Have you proof for that damaging headline? It is an unproven allegation. Ask Microsoft about their dirty tricks like selling NHS staff software with a license which they subsequently revoked.

By andyj21 on 5 Jan 2012

Comet and copyright law

Well, if Comet can't understand the law, where does that leave the rest of us? Is very simple, Comet is screwed if what PC pro is reporting is correct. I don't even think it matters if the media was given out for free, they have breached MS terms by mass distrubution. If they have been charging £15+ for example, then that will add to the damages component and will be significant. You can get replacement media from microsoft for around £6.00. Think most of that is P+P I can't believe Comet is even trying to justify their actions! That's comical Thought Dixon's Group were dodgy?

The only place customers should be able to get recovery disks is from the PC/laptop maker. A copy of Windows is not a recovery disk. The end user would still have to find all the drivers and software etc. The're on very dodgy ground, think this is very valid complaint from Microsoft, Hope they make an example of Comet, disgusting behaviour from a major retailer !!

By Logical15 on 5 Jan 2012

@mbassoc

In your first post, you criticise and denigrate PC users for failing to make backups of their Microsoft OS. In your second post you complain that your commercial DVDs are warranted only for 90 days. You, Sir, are hoist with your own petard. In law (specifically the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988) you are allowed to make copies of protected material provided that by doing so you do not deprive the copyright holder(s) of any income; this is the so-called fair-use provision. So please do what you are exhorting PC users to do - make a backup of your Harry Potter discs and stop complaining.

You also imply that Comet is guilty of copyright theft. That is a very dangerous statement. Until we find out the precise details of Microsoft's complaint against Comet, we do not know whether their action is for breach of copyright or breach of contract, and even then we have to wait for the case to be heard before we can decide on guilt or otherwise.

By howardabates1 on 5 Jan 2012

Paying twice

@mbassoc
"Every installed MS OS creates its own recovery media when the installed OS is booted, and has the option to recreate that recovery media at a later date."
So what exactly is the difference between a user creating recovery media and getting Comet to create it for them? The customer has already pain Microsoft once. It is at best sharp practice to make them pay full price to recover something which SHOULD NEVER HAVE FAILED in the first place.

By andyj21 on 5 Jan 2012

@andyj21

the difference is, that Comet were making a profit out of it, and they had no right to make the discs.

They should have pointed the customers at either the manufacturer, to provide the correct recovery disc (who are authorised to make such discs) or to Microsoft for replacement media.

Illegally duplicating manufacturers' CDs and then selling them for a profit is wrong, which is what the complaint implies.

By big_D on 5 Jan 2012

@andyj21

"It is at best sharp practice to make them pay full price to recover something which SHOULD NEVER HAVE FAILED in the first place."

Are you now implying that MS are responsible for hard disk failures?

By Steve_Adey on 5 Jan 2012

More info

I run a PC Repair centre and people are always asking for CD's as they;ve lost them, never created them etc. The only thing we can do is reinstall it ourselves from our original CD's using their keys. Now we're down to a handfull of originals what are we to do when they're all gone??... wheres the nearest Comet? However if they are producing CD's that have a built in key then they deserve what they get.. but I do prefer them than PC world/currys.

By PCCentre on 5 Jan 2012

More info

I run a PC Repair centre and people are always asking for CD's as they;ve lost them, never created them etc. The only thing we can do is reinstall it ourselves from our original CD's using their keys. Now we're down to a handfull of originals what are we to do when they're all gone??... wheres the nearest Comet? However if they are producing CD's that have a built in key then they deserve what they get.. but I do prefer them than PC world/currys.

By PCCentre on 5 Jan 2012

More info

I run a PC Repair centre and people are always asking for CD's as they;ve lost them, never created them etc. The only thing we can do is reinstall it ourselves from our original CD's using their keys. Now we're down to a handfull of originals what are we to do when they're all gone??... wheres the nearest Comet? However if they are producing CD's that have a built in key then they deserve what they get.. but I do prefer them than PC world/currys.

By PCCentre on 5 Jan 2012

No more oem?

"Microsoft stopped OEMs ... from providing Windows disk with computers. Since when?

Quick look under software, www.scan.co.uk and found oem media for both Windows Vista and 7. Am I not allowed to give these disks to the customer then?

By Logical15 on 5 Jan 2012

MS are 100% justified in going after Comet over this. It is frankly idiotic behaviour which could ultimately end in Comet vanishing from the high street because of their financial stability right now.

Someone in the organisation took the decision to allow this recovery media to be produced and sold in Comet stores without fully checking the legality. Therefore they deserve what they get at management/director level.

I feel sorry for the employees who will be down the job centres after this plays out through no fault of their own.

By mr_chips on 5 Jan 2012

@Steve_Adey

Of course not. Are you implying that hard disk failures are the only (or even the most common) reason to need to re-install Windows?

By andyj21 on 5 Jan 2012

@logical15

AFIK you cannot sell oem's without a PC or hard drive with it (M$ small print) but this is different they are GENUINE microsoft OEMS, Comet were duplicating disks, but if they contained a pre-loaded key on the install then thats really bad.

By PCCentre on 5 Jan 2012

@logical

yes you are, that is those OEM copies are for. to install on the machine and supply with a new machine along with the sticker (and not without it). comet didn't use the genuine copies though which is the whole point of the article.

By mr_chips on 5 Jan 2012

Comet Pirates?? Never!!

seems Comet are getting the unwarranted full force of MS,just for helping existing Customers Whilst there are many others doing even worse Balatant online sales of Pirated MS Software, I bought MS Office from Boldwin Computers via Playtrade now guess what? software wont work and tells me its counterfiet!!

By pavski2 on 5 Jan 2012

Paying for Windows???

Microsoft surely accepts and revels in the monopoly that piracy gave and still gives them in the home PC market. Otherwise they would surely make it a lot harder than it is to pirate Windows. It's unbelievably easy to do and gets easier, not harder, with each new release of Windows.

However, I completely agree with Microsoft's position if someone else is making a profit out of pirating their software. If Comet gave away the install DVDs for free, I don't see how MS could possibly claim that Comet have done anything morally wrong, even though copyright law is clearly on the side of Microsoft. If Comet sold the DVDs to customers for profit, they truly are morally bankrupt and I support Microsoft in this. Selling them at cost muddies the waters somewhat and, ignoring any potential fines levied, Microsoft need to prove loss of income for the case to go anywhere. Since they have been paid for the licence, and they provide the DVDs "at cost", any reimbursement would surely be extremely limited, if not worthless. Unless of course Comet have been making £10 clean profit on those 94,000 disks....

By baldmosher on 5 Jan 2012

@Barry_Collins

"We won't and can't speculate, especially when the story is legally sensitive."
In what way is your headline not speculation?

By andyj21 on 5 Jan 2012

More Info

There appears to be more info where Microsoft state that Comet approached tens of thousands of customers who had bought PCs with the necessary recovery software already on the hard drive, and offered to sell them unnecessary recovery discs for £14.99 ($23) http://www.zdnet.com/blog/london/microsoft-sues-uk
-retailer-for-8216counterfeiting-windows-updated-2
/2113?tag=nl.e539

(So I have to eat humble pie :-)

By MikeRobins on 5 Jan 2012

A matter of degree

I suppose it partly depends on whether Comet were making a real profit on the disks or just providing them at cost as a service to their customers. With such tight margins they couldn't afford to give them away.
First it was the manuals that were no longer printed, just pdfs on the installation disks, then it was the installation disks themselves. What next, the PC itself? "You have a licence to use a cloud computer"

By pjajennings on 5 Jan 2012

Hoist by their own petard

I'm normally a Microsoft supporter, but here I agree with Comet. Microsoft insists in the EULA that we are buying a licence to use the software, not the software itself. So assuming Comet only sold the software, then Microsoft have been hoist by their own petard.

By nigelmercier on 5 Jan 2012

@andyj21

Yes.

By Steve_Adey on 5 Jan 2012

.Tor

These days its easier to get media from a torrent than than microsoft, oems or retailers.

The its not like they were faking keys. Recovery partitions are often lost, or a complete nuisance in the wrong hands.

I see so many customers get a problem with their pc, do a factory restore, dont do patching and updates, malware breaks down the system in days and the process repeats.

Its clearly a politics thing between Comet and MS.

By Gindylow on 5 Jan 2012

Customer in the middle

I hope that the loss of earnings is dealt with as separate issue to the issue of providing media.
I've been exasperated in the past both by clients who don't burn recovery media when they first get a PC and by vendors on the same issue.
For instance more than one retailer will sell you a PC but they won't take responsibility for the license.
I had one client who (rather reasonably) used his laptop on his lap. Since the product key was under said lap, over the years the product key had become unreadable.
So I contacted the retailer and asked them to resend the product key. The reply I got was that they were not responsible for the license, that MS were. Further that MS would not reissue a license key and that the only option was to by a new OS.
It's exasperating for that people don;t burn recovery media when they first get a PC. However, go into any high street shop and they'll tell you how wonderful a PC is. I've never heard of a retailer telling the customer "well it could go belly up, lose all your data and then you've got a recovery or reinstall on your hands" its just not happening.
Therefore if Comet have helped dumb customers then they should be applauded.
Comet could highlight the problems faced by customers and maybe MS will highlight that said action while a good idea deprives them of income which is unfair.
I think its embarrassing for both Comet and MS, if supplying media is a good idea, which clearly it is, then this sort of issue should of never have got this far. Apart from anything else this seems to revolve around the Comet and MS rather than about the needs of their customers and that can't be good publicity for either of their clients.
Also I'd love to be a fly on the wall watching the conversation between a senior MS person and the person who was in charge of the Comet account.
"So you've found out that Comet are supplying media - good stuff"
"How many copies? What were you waiting until they'd got to the big 100k mark? So instead of just changing Comet policy we're now in a position of having to go court to sort the whole thing out"

By simontompkins on 5 Jan 2012

At £15 I'd say Comet were charging for the overhead of making the disks on customers behalf.
Anyone who uses a pc regularly knows there's 100% chance of needing at least one clean reinstall sometime during the lifetime of an OS despite the hard work of the devs to prevent the need.
If Microsoft could give 100% guarantee that there'll never be a problem that couldn't be fixed by an update (including hard drive failures) then ok, sue people like Comet.
As that's impossible then they shouldn't allow licences that ship without microsoft produced disks and therefore it's their own fault.

By czeshirecat on 5 Jan 2012

@Steve_Adey

Yes? Which? And what evidence do you have?

By andyj21 on 5 Jan 2012

Customer-hating morons

M$ once again shows its true colours

By scoobie on 5 Jan 2012

@andyj21

The most common and mostly my own 20+ years experience. Usually, either if the computer breaks or a new version of Windows comes along.

By Steve_Adey on 5 Jan 2012

Licence Option

Yes of course MS is out for the money (it’s called running a business), they charge £6 for the official media WAY more expensive that Comet’s £15.

Also please note that MS offer a licence with or without media, if Comet or their suppliers choose not to take that option, well how’s fault is that, not MS’s.

As to the charge that mentioned above, well the media must be gold plated with diamond studded cases to cost that much to justify the “overhead” costs as it would be simple to pay MS the £6 and have an official version of the media.

From reading what has been said, I believe that it is just the windows * media that the customer is getting and NOT a backup/restore of their physical machine with would then justify its cost. But simply a copy and burn of the media that they have to hand, sorry is that not piracy, as again they have chosen NOT to have the licence WITH physical media, but without media.

By daron09 on 5 Jan 2012

God help us

When a new PC or laptop is bought with the op/sys drivers and other software pre-installed
The first screen you see is almost without exception:-
It is recommended that you burn a copy of your hard disk to DVD directly from the hidden partition on the hard drive(which holds the pre registered licence from M/soft and sometimes other software vendors) in case of hard drive failure or words to that effect.
This is a simple enough instruction to follow and saves everyone the expense of buying a backup or replacement CD from anyone.
If people who cannot follow simple and straight forward instructions at first boot up of their new PC then they deserve to have to pay for replacement software.
righly or wrongly Comet were clearly trying to help out "Jo Public", and make a couple of bob into the bargain
but their IS a difference in making a working copy of say Microsoft windows 7 Pro (which needs a licence number every time you use it), and burning a copy of your hard drive which already has a licenced copy of the software on it.
And,, with the delining sales of PC's and laptops Microsoft need to be careful who's ass they are kicking today because tomorrow they may have to kiss it,, as big as they are

By hanstrans3 on 5 Jan 2012

Burning a disk image may not help

That's because they're OEM version which are usually tied to the motherboard. If that goes pop, you may find yourself having to fork out again for Windows. Unless you ask pretty please with sugar on top to MS.

By Steve_Adey on 5 Jan 2012

Comet? Dixons? PC World?

Same company folks - hence the disappearance of some stores and the sudden appearance of super comets or super pc worlds? Wonder how many copies found their way into the stores of the sister companies in the group??

By TPART on 5 Jan 2012

PS

missed off Curry's - same group..

By TPART on 5 Jan 2012

You Sue Me Sue Them Sue Those

Comet "sold 94,000 counterfeit copies of Windows"...

If true, then it opens up a liability of 94,000 cased of customer claims against Comet.
Not only the alleged £15 per each disk, but also the court fees and consequential damages?

SOMEONE at Head Office is NOT going to be happy!

By lenmontieth on 5 Jan 2012

Recovery disk? what recovery disks?

Can I point out that despite what Comet may claim, they weren't actually selling recovery disks, only the oems could provide those as they are specific to each PC.

What comet was actually selling was simply copies of Windows XP/Vista.

Installing a copy of windows will not restore your PC to shipping condition. You'll still have to find all the required drivers etc and even then, will probably not ever be able to restore the PC to shipping condition, only genuine recovery disks can do this. I know, I had to help a customer who was provided with one of these so called recovery disk a few years back.

People need to understand the difference between XP/Vista installation disks and a recovery disk. Recovery disks are specific to every model of PC, Windows isn't and can't restore your PC to initial purchase condition.

Sorry, but in this case, it was Comet who were ripping off their customers (and MS's)

Funny thing is, having spoken to Comet HQ, they genuinely don't seem to know what they have done wrong. Dont' know what the difference is between the two, just like most of the folk posting to the Daily Mail and quite a few here.

Ignorance is not always bliss ;-)

By Logical15 on 5 Jan 2012

Fancy a Comet... maybe a Curry?

@ TPART Comet? Dixons? PC World? Curry's?
---------------

Comet and Dixons are competitors.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dixons_Retail
See also Kingfisher group (B&Q etc) Woolworths
and Kesa Electricals.
Curry's PC World and Dixons are all part of Dixons Retail
(;0)!

By lenmontieth on 5 Jan 2012

Download direct from MS

It's all legal nonsense.
Microsoft will allow anyone with an internet connection to download a copy of Windows 7 via digital riverfor example
32-bit Windows 7 Home Premium x86 SP1 (bootable)
Digital River: http://msft.digitalrivercontent.net/win/X17-24208.
iso
This is a legitimate copy of windows freely available to all, as long as you have a valid product key.
If Comet were merely providing a service to copy this on to DVD for customers which they then charged a small admin fee for then I don't see there is much of a case to answer, unless is it was XP of course which you can only get from volume licensing sites so were probably in breach of some hidden technicality.

More money for the lawyers brought on by impenetrable licensing terms.

By Lorribot on 5 Jan 2012

Recovery Partiton & the Option to create a set of recovery Discs

But how many purchaser's of new Computers will have some Blank DVDs to burn the disc's. If all Comet did was to provide those disc's even for a small fee.
The first thing I do when anyone I know buys a new Laptop or PC is to offer to burn the recovery media, which I then seal in a n envelope & tell them to put it in a safe place. Which they promptly then forget about.
But if they were sold, purporting to be an Install disc as opposed to a recovery disc. It all comes down to whether they had a COA.

By roberttrebor on 6 Jan 2012

Microsoft OEM Licensing FAQ's

Q.= "Can I create recovery disks and sell these with computer systems I sell?"
A.= "System builders may not offer a recovery solution with removable media (e.g., a recovery CD) because it is prohibited by the terms of the Microsoft OEM System Builder License."

By wired_retired on 6 Jan 2012

Microsoft OEM Licensing FAQ's

Q.= "Are system builders allowed to create a ghost image CD and ship it along with the system for OEM customers?
A.= "No. System builders may not offer a recovery solution with removable media (a recovery CD, for example)—it is prohibited by the terms of the Microsoft OEM System Builder License."

By wired_retired on 6 Jan 2012

All of the above.

Assuming that the above is true; then it would seem reasonable to assume that giving or selling the recovery disk software after the sale of the system is also prohibited by the Microsoft OEM license.

By wired_retired on 6 Jan 2012

Better Coverage

This whole issue has been better documented on ZDnet at
http://www.zdnet.com/blog/bott/is-uk-retail-giant-
comet-really-a-windows-pirate/4314

It would seem that what is being alleged is that:-
1) Comet actively promoted the sale of "recovery kits" which were not proper recovery disk sets for the computers supplied.
i.e they did not contain machine specific drivers, utility software (aka crapware) etc.
2) All of the PC's sold already had recovery mechanisms built-in by the usual OEM method.
3) Nearly all the OEMs involved can supply recovery media at less than or a similar price to the Comet "offer".
4) Thus this was primarily a revenue generating activity by Comet and not a customer support activity.

By milliganp on 6 Jan 2012

Responsibility

When a product fails the only recourse to a customer is to go back to the seller. If the hardware manf. is defunct or not interested and MS are not helpful, what are Comet to do with their irate customer?

Has anyone challenged MS for unfair terms and conditions? It would be more ethical for MS to sell an OEM licence for six years (Sale of Goods Act) rather than the life of an indifferent PC.

This might be missing the point, but, it highlights just what pressures are out there at street level.

By Robert905 on 6 Jan 2012

OMGG

or oh my good god! Robert905 (and many others) yes you missed the point. Whilst PC Pro have an article thin on facts, I can say
a) Microsoft has a responsibility to provide an OS. If your PC fails it won't be the OS at fault.It will hardware OR some bad software the owner installed AFTER.
b) This is Comet we're talking about. The people who flog over-priced 5-year warranties for goods that already have 5 year cover under Sale of Goods. Given the choice between who's at fault Comet will win here.
c) Ed Bott explains on Zdnet their "cunning plan" and it stinks. (thanks for the link @milliganp).

Curry World and Comet are truly awful. The UK deserves a better place to buy electrical goods but these guys have had it easy far too long and have become arrogant enough to do what they like. Well they've been caught and I hope MS take them to the cleaners. Comet has no defence, morally, legally or economically.

By John2008 on 9 Jan 2012

OMGG

or oh my good god! Robert905 (and many others) yes you missed the point. Whilst PC Pro have an article thin on facts, I can say
a) Microsoft has a responsibility to provide an OS. If your PC fails it won't be the OS at fault.It will hardware OR some bad software the owner installed AFTER.
b) This is Comet we're talking about. The people who flog over-priced 5-year warranties for goods that already have 5 year cover under Sale of Goods. Given the choice between who's at fault Comet will win here.
c) Ed Bott explains on Zdnet their "cunning plan" and it stinks. (thanks for the link @milliganp).

Curry World and Comet are truly awful. The UK deserves a better place to buy electrical goods but these guys have had it easy far too long and have become arrogant enough to do what they like. Well they've been caught and I hope MS take them to the cleaners. Comet has no defence, morally, legally or economically.

By John2008 on 9 Jan 2012

OMGG

or oh my good god! Robert905 (and many others) yes you missed the point. Whilst PC Pro have an article thin on facts, I can say
a) Microsoft has a responsibility to provide an OS. If your PC fails it won't be the OS at fault.It will hardware OR some bad software the owner installed AFTER.
b) This is Comet we're talking about. The people who flog over-priced 5-year warranties for goods that already have 5 year cover under Sale of Goods. Given the choice between who's at fault Comet will win here.
c) Ed Bott explains on Zdnet their "cunning plan" and it stinks. (thanks for the link @milliganp).

Curry World and Comet are truly awful. The UK deserves a better place to buy electrical goods but these guys have had it easy far too long and have become arrogant enough to do what they like. Well they've been caught and I hope MS take them to the cleaners. Comet has no defence, morally, legally or economically.

By John2008 on 9 Jan 2012

OMGG

or oh my good god! Robert905 (and many others) yes you missed the point. Whilst PC Pro have an article thin on facts, I can say
a) Microsoft has a responsibility to provide an OS. If your PC fails it won't be the OS at fault.It will hardware OR some bad software the owner installed AFTER.
b) This is Comet we're talking about. The people who flog over-priced 5-year warranties for goods that already have 5 year cover under Sale of Goods. Given the choice between who's at fault Comet will win here.
c) Ed Bott explains on Zdnet their "cunning plan" and it stinks. (thanks for the link @milliganp).

Curry World and Comet are truly awful. The UK deserves a better place to buy electrical goods but these guys have had it easy far too long and have become arrogant enough to do what they like. Well they've been caught and I hope MS take them to the cleaners. Comet has no defence, morally, legally or economically.
/rant off

By John2008 on 9 Jan 2012

OMGG

or oh my good god! Robert905 (and many others) yes you missed the point. Whilst PC Pro have an article thin on facts, I can say
a) Microsoft has a responsibility to provide an OS. If your PC fails it won't be the OS at fault.It will hardware OR some bad software the owner installed AFTER.
b) This is Comet we're talking about. The people who flog over-priced 5-year warranties for goods that already have 5 year cover under Sale of Goods. Given the choice between who's at fault Comet will win here.
c) Ed Bott explains on Zdnet their "cunning plan" and it stinks. (thanks for the link @milliganp).

Curry World and Comet are truly awful. The UK deserves a better place to buy electrical goods but these guys have had it easy far too long and have become arrogant enough to do what they like. Well they've been caught and I hope MS take them to the cleaners. Comet has no defence, morally, legally or economically.
/rant off

By John2008 on 9 Jan 2012

OMGG

or oh my good god! Robert905 (and many others) yes you missed the point. Whilst PC Pro have an article thin on facts, I can say
a) Microsoft has a responsibility to provide an OS. If your PC fails it won't be the OS at fault.It will hardware OR some bad software the owner installed AFTER.
b) This is Comet we're talking about. The people who flog over-priced 5-year warranties for goods that already have 5 year cover under Sale of Goods. Given the choice between who's at fault Comet will win here.
c) Ed Bott explains on Zdnet their "cunning plan" and it stinks. (thanks for the link @milliganp).

Curry World and Comet are truly awful. The UK deserves a better place to buy electrical goods but these guys have had it easy far too long and have become arrogant enough to do what they like. Well they've been caught and I hope MS take them to the cleaners. Comet has no defence, morally, legally or economically.
/rant off

By John2008 on 9 Jan 2012

OMGG

or oh my good god! Robert905 (and many others) yes you missed the point. Whilst PC Pro have an article thin on facts, I can say
a) Microsoft has a responsibility to provide an OS. If your PC fails it won't be the OS at fault.It will hardware OR some bad software the owner installed AFTER.
b) This is Comet we're talking about. The people who flog over-priced 5-year warranties for goods that already have 5 year cover under Sale of Goods. Given the choice between who's at fault Comet will win here.
c) Ed Bott explains on Zdnet their "cunning plan" and it stinks. (thanks for the link @milliganp).

Curry World and Comet are truly awful. The UK deserves a better place to buy electrical goods but these guys have had it easy far too long and have become arrogant enough to do what they like. Well they've been caught and I hope MS take them to the cleaners. Comet has no defence, morally, legally or economically.
/rant off

By John2008 on 9 Jan 2012

OMGG

or oh my good god! Robert905 (and many others) yes you missed the point. Whilst PC Pro have an article thin on facts, I can say
a) Microsoft has a responsibility to provide an OS. If your PC fails it won't be the OS at fault.It will hardware OR some bad software the owner installed AFTER.
b) This is Comet we're talking about. The people who flog over-priced 5-year warranties for goods that already have 5 year cover under Sale of Goods. Given the choice between who's at fault Comet will win here.
c) Ed Bott explains on Zdnet their "cunning plan" and it stinks. (thanks for the link @milliganp).

Curry World and Comet are truly awful. The UK deserves a better place to buy electrical goods but these guys have had it easy far too long and have become arrogant enough to do what they like. Well they've been caught and I hope MS take them to the cleaners. Comet has no defence, morally, legally or economically.
/rant off

By John2008 on 9 Jan 2012

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