Mexican cartel selling counterfeit Microsoft software

Microsoft is reporting that a Mexican drug cartel is selling fake copies of Microsoft Office and is branding it with their own FMM cartel insignia. The cartel is reportedly selling fake copies of Office 2007 and is flaunting it in authorities faces.

The low risk, high profit crimes are helping to fuel the cartel's influence in Mexico, according to SeatlePi.com and Bloomberg.com. But it goes beyond a street vendor selling a few copies to make a couple bucks; the counterfeit ring is vast in size and profitability. In a blog post today by David Finn, associate general counsel for Microsoft's anti-piracy unit, he states:

According to an analysis by the Mexico Attorney General published in other articles, the group's illegal counterfeiting activities involved a sophisticated distribution network of 180,000 points of sale in stores, markets and kiosks, earning more than $2.2 million dollars in revenue every day. It's no wonder that enforcement agencies and governments are deeply concerned about this trend.

Counterfeiting is a serious crime as it pulls resources away from corporations who could use the funds to further R&D efforts. Not only that, but in Mexico, if you buy from the cartels, you could be funding the ongoing drug wars.

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58 Comments

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with Microsoft you know your going to loose an arm and a leg when you buy there product , with the cartel you may not .

They probably don't know it is a counterfit copy. The media is probably shrink wrapped and everything to make it look like a legitimate copy. Sometimes the counterfit copy will come pre-installed on a new computer. The user may think he is buying something completely legit, only to find out later that it is not. That's when S/he finds out why it was so cheap buying it from the used record store instead of buying it at the serious retailer.

Good luck in getting a refund from the drug cartel after you have been swindled.

Why ohhh why do people PAY for counterfeit copies?!!?!? Can someone explain that to me PLEASE....
The cracked copies are all over the web for free, why pay?!?!
People are straaaange :\

djesteban said,
Why ohhh why do people PAY for counterfeit copies?!!?!? Can someone explain that to me PLEASE....
The cracked copies are all over the web for free, why pay?!?!
People are straaaange :\

Well normally this are people that are not very familiar with technology, and wouldn't find a good cracked copy of Office 2010 if their life depended on it, let alone install a torrent client, use a good tracker and all to get it.

It is really amazing piracy in Mexico. I have seen big concerts for bands like U2 and Metallica, and outside the venue where the concert is taking place, they have endless amount of bootleg merchandise, including unofficial tshirts, wristbands and all that stuff to the whole artist's discography and videography, right in front of the authorities.

there are full markets dedicated to sell bootleg material. Everyone knows where they are, but the police or authorities refuse to do anything. Guess it is better to have them selling bootleg material for a living, than to having stealing houses, cars or kidnapping people.

djesteban said,
Why ohhh why do people PAY for counterfeit copies?!!?!? Can someone explain that to me PLEASE....
The cracked copies are all over the web for free, why pay?!?!
People are straaaange :\

it come down to cost MS want xxxx $ for their products but alot of people can't afford what MS wants to charge so along come the pirates and say hey we only want x $ for the same thing that and the fact not everyone has broadband could imagine trying to DL office 2010 on per hour dialup it'd proly cost you more than the actual product would have in the first place

djesteban said,
Why ohhh why do people PAY for counterfeit copies?!!?!? Can someone explain that to me PLEASE....
The cracked copies are all over the web for free, why pay?!?!
People are straaaange :\

They probably don't know it is a counterfit copy. The media is probably shrink wrapped and everything to make it look like a legitimate copy. Sometimes the counterfit copy will come pre-installed on a new computer. The user may think he is buying something completely legit, only to find out later that it is not. That's when S/he finds out why it was so cheap buying it from the used record store instead of buying it at the serious retailer.

Good luck in getting a refund from the drug cartel after you have been swindled.

I like Microsoft, but I don't see how this should be of any concern to me. If a commodity has value, people will seek to make a profit from it. Mexico is such a messed up country right now, I'm sure this is rather low of their priority list.

Does the $2.2 million a day there estimates based on the cost of retail versions of office like they always do. I can't see them making that much money: be funny to see the sweat shop, wonder how there cooling all the computers... Maybe there's a kid there with a big leaf waving it in the wind

LOL, in crime/mafia games that we'll play 50 years from now, your characters are going to have to pick up copies of MS products and distribute them in similar fashion to cocaine.

someone should pirate the pirated copy ... purchase it from the cartel and then upload it to a torrent site.

that'll show em!

timster said,
someone should pirate the pirated copy ... purchase it from the cartel and then upload it to a torrent site.

that'll show em!

+5 internetz sir

What we need is another Godfather film where he has to give them a free copy of microsoft office on his daughters wedding.

Gaffney said,
What we need is another Godfather film where he has to give them a free copy of microsoft office on his daughters wedding.

I want you to say hello to my little friend.

*Hands you an Office package*

If there was not the demand for drugs there would be no drug cartels
If there was no demand for office there would be no counterfeit office
We the user of there products are the fuel that supplies the fire

exit said,
If there was not the demand for drugs there would be no drug cartels
If there was no demand for office there would be no counterfeit office
We the user of there products are the fuel that supplies the fire

Those are completely unrelated things. Demand for something legal does not mean that you have to obtain it illegally (you can buy office from MS legally). Now, the reasons for someone buying a counterfeit product can be many and it is better to understand why this happen and provide a solution (MS Home and Student 3 license pack is a great option, as it allows for 3 people to pay a lower price and get the same product)

exit said,
If there was not the demand for drugs there would be no drug cartels
If there was no demand for office there would be no counterfeit office
We the user of there products are the fuel that supplies the fire

yeah and if nobody was breathing there's no need of air. This is a throll comment

sviola said,

Those are completely unrelated things. Demand for something legal does not mean that you have to obtain it illegally (you can buy office from MS legally). Now, the reasons for someone buying a counterfeit product can be many and it is better to understand why this happen and provide a solution (MS Home and Student 3 license pack is a great option, as it allows for 3 people to pay a lower price and get the same product)


Allot of people are forced to use licensed products which they cant afford... rather have them going on wealthfare then using a pirated copy of office?

wonder what would cost more.

exit said,
If there was not the demand for drugs there would be no drug cartels
If there was no demand for office there would be no counterfeit office
We the user of there products are the fuel that supplies the fire

Not exactly. Greed fuels the fire.
If there wasn't a demand for money...material wealth, there would be no drug cartels, counterfeit office software or anything of the like.

Everyone wants the mighty $ so they can maintain a state of perpetual laziness. People throw money at the problem of not having cocaine... people throw money at not having excel. People figure out how to capitalize on peoples problems.

I live in Mexico and this has been well known for some time, the cartels muscled in on the old piracy rings and took over their operations. Anything that you BUY pirated is money going towards them (DVDs, Software, CDs, etc.).

Argote said,
I live in Mexico and this has been well known for some time, the cartels muscled in on the old piracy rings and took over their operations. Anything that you BUY pirated is money going towards them (DVDs, Software, CDs, etc.).

How is this different from downloading those online?

thenonhacker said,

How is this different from downloading those online?

Because if you download online (not a pratice I support), at least you are not giving money to them, you are only not paying for the software. In this case, you are paying for the software, but not to the rights owner and the money goes to fund other criminal activities.

sviola said,

Because if you download online (not a pratice I support), at least you are not giving money to them, you are only not paying for the software. In this case, you are paying for the software, but not to the rights owner and the money goes to fund other criminal activities.

and the difference between the drug cartel and MS are????

seriously though most drug cartels own or out gun local law enforcement hence why nothing much happens when they break the law thats why the Mexican govt has made deals with the US DEA and the like to help

Let them take each other out and let Satan sort it out. Bunch of scum.

That country needs to wake up and start doing something about this. These gangs murder without so much as a blink.

this needs more investigation.They're probably creating powerpoint charts to figure out cost-profit ratio of dope and use excel to change its price for the current exchange rates.

seebaran said,
Nice to see them expanding their product offerings. Kudos.

Customer: "Thanks for the weed"
Catel: "Whilst we're on the subject - may I interest you in some Microsoft software? my brother Vinnie is a bit of a tech head and he'll can help you out with the details...."

david13lt said,
$2.2 millions dollars per day? I think this is more profitable than selling the drugs and much less risk.

The drug cartels have 0 risk from the authorities. Their risk is rival gangs who are just as willing to kill for software piracy as they are for drug turf. The people who get caught by the authorities at the border are not gang members, they are patsies.

qdave said,
Better that than drugs.

Not only that, but in Mexico, if you buy from the cartels, you could be funding the ongoing drug wars.

Teebor said,
Licenses? we don't need no steenkin licenses

Why don't they just sell StarOffice??? It's based on OpenOffice which is better than Microsoft Office??? I HATE THE RIBBON, BRING BACK THE MENUS!!! </SARCASM>

thenonhacker said,

Why don't they just sell StarOffice??? It's based on OpenOffice which is better than Microsoft Office??? I HATE THE RIBBON, BRING BACK THE MENUS!!! </SARCASM>

The ribbon is the best idea they've had for a long time

boumboqc said,

The ribbon is the best idea they've had for a long time


How could you possibly miss the sarcasm WITH the sarcasm tag?

thenonhacker said,

Why don't they just sell StarOffice??? It's based on OpenOffice which is better than Microsoft Office??? I HATE THE RIBBON, BRING BACK THE MENUS!!! </SARCASM>


ye it kinda sucks having a fully functional office application instead of an outdated one! \o/

boumboqc said,

The ribbon is the best idea they've had for a long time

How could it be the best idea when they didn't even invent it?

ZekeComa said,

How could it be the best idea when they didn't even invent it?

LOL.. I know some person that wrapped presents back in the 13 hundreds invented ribons!

Azyr said,

he had this HUUUGE sarcasm tag

To be fair with boumboqc, ther was no opening sarcasm tag, no way to know where the sarcasm started. If boumboqc was a an Excel Spreadsheet it would have colored the closing parenthesis in RED. :-)

boumboqc said,
The ribbon is the best idea they've had for a long time

I second that - I'd love to see the ribbon used in more places - I'm on a Mac and I love how they've implemented it in Office 2011. Funny enough through the use of the ribbon on Office 2011 is looks more like a Mac application than it did in previous versions.