Microsoft, with support from the Kenya Copyright Board and the Kenya Anti-Counterfeit Agency, is advising Kenyan consumers and software resellers to be aware of the high quality counterfeit Microsoft software that is currently being traded in the country. The pirated software, packaged to look like genuine software, is being sold below local market prices at rates that are often “too good to be true.”
According to a global Microsoft survey that addresses consumer’s attitudes on counterfeit software, more than 80% of consumers had concerns about using counterfeit software. These concerns range from risks of identity theft, virus attacks, and the fact that counterfeit products fund criminal activities. The high quality counterfeit Microsoft software currently being distributed in Kenya includes fake hologram CDs and fake Certificate of Authenticity labels that look like the real thing and which are sold as complete software packages. Customers who make the purchases in good faith believe that what they are purchasing is genuine when the product is in fact counterfeit.
International police-InterPol and governments have announced there is growing evidence of organized criminal syndicates with global reach manufacturing and distributing software via sophisticated networks.
“We’ve recently uncovered several counterfeit versions of Microsoft software said, Mr. Edward Sigei, Chief Legal Counsel of the Kenya Copyright Board, “Pirating software is often seen as a ‘cheap’ alternative to purchasing it legally. However, in the long-term it can be far more costly, and for businesses and government agencies, disastrous. We’re advising anyone who suspects they’ve purchased a counterfeit to report it to the Kenya Copyright Board or via Microsoft’s Anti-Piracy Hotline.”
Kenya is experiencing a rising number of what turn out to be ‘accidental pirates’ – people who unintentionally purchase counterfeit software from resellers and only later find out they have been duped. In doing so, they expose themselves to a plethora of risks, which in the long-run can prove extremely costly for individuals, and often disastrous for businesses. “Honest resellers, who sell only genuine software, are put at an unfair disadvantage, and ultimately, the whole economy feels the effects,” said Michael Berenju, Anti-Piracy Manager, Microsoft East and Southern Africa. “We are actively working to ensure our customers and partners in Kenya are protected from unscrupulous suppliers – this is a responsibility we take extremely seriously. When they come to us for help, we make sure they receive the necessary support from Microsoft and collaborate with local law enforcement authorities like the Kenya Copyright Board or the Anti-Counterfeit Agency to take appropriate enforcement action against resellers who are supplying counterfeit software,” added Berenju
It is becoming increasingly difficult to differentiate between genuine and non-genuine software, unless consumers are discerning and know what to look out for. Microsoft suggests following these tips to avoid being misled when purchasing software:
- Before you purchase software, ask resellers to confirm it will pass the Windows activation test. Activation and validation are the keys to genuine software.
- Beware of the common gateways of digital counterfeiting: websites advertising ‘cheap software’; online auction sites with links to download sites offering counterfeit software; and peer-to-peer (P2P) networks or other file-sharing technologies.
Buy from a trusted source. Research online or local sellers extensively before making a purchase. Microsoft always recommends that Resellers source their software from a Microsoft Authorized Distributor, and that Consumers check that their suppliers sourced product supplied by a Microsoft Authorized Distributor. A current list of Microsoft Authorized Distributors is available at Microsoft Authorised OEM distributors
- Compare the price. Counterfeit software is often sold at a much cheaper price, but can end up costing users hundreds or thousands of dollars.
- Be suspicious of products that lack some form of proof of authenticity – such as a hologram, CD, DVD, recovery media, manuals and Microsoft Software License Terms (MSLT).
- Be extremely careful when buying from software sellers in other countries as this complicates matters if the transaction goes awry.
- Keep your anti-virus program up to date. This reduces your computer’s risk of exposure to viruses and malware when downloading software.
- Say no to sellers offering backup copies or bundles of several programs.
Taking further steps to protect consumers, partners and resellers, Microsoft announced today two new programs aimed at combating software piracy in Kenya:
- Microsoft Anti-Piracy Hotline – a dedicated hotline where any suspected counterfeit software can be reported (Microsoft Anti-Piracy Hotline in Kenya: +254 286 8299) and authenticated.
- Genuine Reseller Program – a program for trusted and verified Microsoft resellers who have entered into an agreement to sell only genuine Microsoft software. Participants will be given ‘Clean Dealer status’ and provided with marketing support and promotions via Microsoft Africa website.