A huge haul of pirated Microsoft software – valued anywhere between $500-million and $2-billion, depending on whose stats you read – has been seized by the FBI and Chinese police in China's southern Guangdong province.
The raid is a result of a two-year joint-operation between the two law enforcement agencies and Microsoft, and culminated in 25 arrests and the seizure of 55 000 "sophisticated copies" of the company's software products including Vista.
The Register reports that Microsoft estimates the confiscated software to be worth in the region of $2-billion, but quotes Reuters as saying the FBI has valued it at around $500-million. Register readers, though, were quick to point out that if Microsoft's figure is to be believed, then each software package is worth more than $36 000. "No wonder it's pirated," says one wag.
Either way, the raid is noteworthy and should put a dent in international piracy, although Microsoft says it "represents less than 1% of counterfeit copies of its software being sold around the world".
The Register quotes Brad Smith, senior vice-president and general counsel at Microsoft: "This case represents a milestone in the fight against software piracy – governments, law enforcement agencies, and private companies working together with customers and software resellers to break up a massive international counterfeiting ring.
"This case should serve as a wake-up call to counterfeiters. Customers around the world are turning you in, governments and law enforcement have had enough, and private companies will act decisively to protect intellectual property."