Microsoft taking legal action against UK retailer Comet for piracy [Updated]

In what can only be described as truly bizarre, it would appear that Microsoft is taking legal action against UK retailer Comet for "creating and selling more than 94,000 sets of counterfeit Windows Vista and Windows XP recovery CDs."

First spotted by The Verge, Microsoft states on their site: “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, Worldwide Anti-Piracy and Anti-Counterfeiting at Microsoft. “Comet’s actions were unfair to customers. We expect better from retailers of Microsoft products — and our customers deserve better, too.”

The suit charges Comet with producing the counterfeits in a factory in Hampshire and then selling the media to customers from its retail outlets across the U.K.

Update: Comet responds.

Comet unsurprisingly see themselves as the righteous party in the case. They don't deny creating the discs, but a company spokeswoman told The Mirror that “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.”

So, does Comet deserve what it's getting, or was it just trying to be nice and provide a cushy experience for its customers? Who knows, but this could end up taking a while to play out. Meanwhile, it was announced back in November that Hailey Holdings and Hailey Acquisitions would be acquiring Comet from Kesa Electricals, and it's unknown what effect the Microsoft suit will have on that. Legal troubles with one of the biggest companies on the planet could make anyone think twice before putting their money on the table.

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I *think* whats happen could be:

Dell/HP/PC Builders supplied computers/laptops to Comet to resell (Comet are middlemen) some possibly with a OEM (OEM is Dell/HP/PC Builders NOT Comet) Recovery CD, some without (Comet could have ordered them without OEM discs to reduce costs as you can charge a little as a OEM to make the CD I believe)
Then Comet made OEM CD's to sell direct to the consumer along with purchase which results in them receiving profit for a OEM only right, which is the company that produces the PC/Laptop for Comet to sell.
The PC's etc are all probably fully licensed with a stick on the case etc but the ability to produce recovery CD's is a right OEM's can only do, not third parties. Also a lot of recovery media doesnt have serials on them as large volume OEM's can embed stuff to verify its a dell on the motherboard and you always have the serial on the sticker on the PC which should activate fine with any copy (same edition) of install media.

Recovery CD's are used by OEM's to make it a simpler process for the home user to setup/reinstall their pc's and generally can come with preloaded software/drivers for the hardware sold. Some OEM's make great CD's with tools and no crapware preloaded but others dont.

I *think* that could be the case here.

I don't see the issue. Also, Microsoft didn't lose any money. If you buy a recovery disk, the licensed is already paid for. As long as they sold you the one for your particular system. Now if they sold them with a new PC, that doesn't come with a recovery disk, this is still legal.

The only way I see it's illegal is if they sold them as stand-alone disks, and in that case it would be illegal. But again, a recovery disk will only work with a certain PC makers hardware. So if I buy a Dell Vista CD..I can legal use it on any Dell I bought that came with that version of Windows. all I would then have to do is register it with the key on the bottom and download drivers and updates. How is that illegal?

TechieXP said,
How is that illegal?

The OEM license agreement is between the hardware manufacturer and Microsoft. If the store is selling 'recovery' discs, or copies of OEM discs, they are making a profit by circumventing that agreement.

It is up to the OEM to provide a means for the user to restore their system. This is why HP and other vendors typically have software installed in the base OS which will allow a user to make 'restore' disks to get the system back up and running as the OEM intended.

The recovery disks as created by HP are a last resort, as they also include a 'restore' partition on the Hard Drive, which includes the OEM licensed copy of the OS along with all of the necessary third party drivers.

BestBuy in Canada and the US, along with other North American retailers offer a service whereby they will use the OEM built-in mechanisms to create the restore disks on your behalf, but that is fully in line with the OEM license and support model.

Bypassing Microsoft and the OEMs is most certainly a grey area, and I believe Microsoft do have a case here.

Comet sell a lot of their goods via manufacturer pricing.

So at Xmas when they say on an advert £200 or a washing machine and £400 of a 3D TV

they still are making profit.

No excuse for what they did, so they should be convicted.

leesmithg said,
Comet sell a lot of their goods via manufacturer pricing.

So at Xmas when they say on an advert £200 or a washing machine and £400 of a 3D TV

they still are making profit.

No excuse for what they did, so they should be convicted.

ouch lol convistion is a little hard for this. but it would realy hit them in the pocket if ms decided to withdraw comets rights to sell microsoft software and products becasue of this.

leesmithg said,
Comet sell a lot of their goods via manufacturer pricing.

So at Xmas when they say on an advert £200 or a washing machine and £400 of a 3D TV

they still are making profit.

No excuse for what they did, so they should be convicted.

You obviously haven't worked in retail, have you?

They don't make money on the items themselves, in most cases they make a loss, they make money from the "extras" i.e. cables, software and service agreements.

However, what Comet did was unacceptable and they deserve a fine for it.

Edited by neo158, Jan 4 2012, 6:08pm :

Go away Microsoft - its so annoying when companies do not provide OS discs with a genuine license. Actually, it should be law that any software purchased either comes with a hard copy and/or a downloadable version. Who cares if they are CD copies! The only exception is if Comet were charging a silly amount for these CDs.

Microsoft needs some serious competition ASAP - hopefully something like Ubuntu may one day seriously challenge them on the desktop.

ShMaunder said,
Go away Microsoft - its so annoying when companies do not provide OS discs with a genuine license. Actually, it should be law that any software purchased either comes with a hard copy and/or a downloadable version. Who cares if they are CD copies! The only exception is if Comet were charging a silly amount for these CDs.

Microsoft needs some serious competition ASAP - hopefully something like Ubuntu may one day seriously challenge them on the desktop.

comet are not authorised to re distribute microsoft software or reproduce it.
just becasue the n00b end user ballsed up there pc and lost the recovery partition does not gve comet the authorisation to copy microsoft software and sell it.

if the customer needed there pc reinstallng then they should have taken it in for repair to comet or else where. microsoft are only protecting there software. as a system builder OEM you arnt suposed to use copied disk to install the os or sell copies of the disks with a new pc. only orignial MEDIA is supsed to be supplied, be it disks or a partition.

xSuRgEx said,

comet are not authorised to re distribute microsoft software or reproduce it.
just becasue the n00b end user ballsed up there pc and lost the recovery partition does not gve comet the authorisation to copy microsoft software and sell it.

if the customer needed there pc reinstallng then they should have taken it in for repair to comet or else where. microsoft are only protecting there software. as a system builder OEM you arnt suposed to use copied disk to install the os or sell copies of the disks with a new pc. only orignial MEDIA is supsed to be supplied, be it disks or a partition.


as you cannot install windows from an USB stick with MS's support, but you can download a copy of Windows from the microsoft store or MSDN, how are you going to install this copy, you need physical media as a home user, dont think everyone is willing to buy a server first for remote installs?

Shadowzz said,

as you cannot install windows from an USB stick with MS's support, but you can download a copy of Windows from the microsoft store or MSDN, how are you going to install this copy, you need physical media as a home user, dont think everyone is willing to buy a server first for remote installs?

yes but that only applys to a download copy of windows 7 and MSDN is not intended for general public use on home systems it is used for testing enviorments. this case has nothing to do with users wanting to recover there sysems via usb.

I wasn't aware Comet was a system builder. Aren't they just a reseller, in which case those computers from HP, etc would already have an OEM license?

recursive said,
Should have put Ubuntu on them instead.

One of those Shoulda/coulda/woulda sort of things, fact is it's harder to find a pre-built *nix home system, so it's hard to fault either the retailer or their customers. Even then that's no guarantee the system builder wouldn't have tried to save a few cents by not providing a disc so customers could easily re-install.

mikiem said,

One of those Shoulda/coulda/woulda sort of things, fact is it's harder to find a pre-built *nix home system, so it's hard to fault either the retailer or their customers. Even then that's no guarantee the system builder wouldn't have tried to save a few cents by not providing a disc so customers could easily re-install.


here in holland a few retailers tried to sell prebuild ubuntu machines, with demo systems running. this project got canceled within a few months, NOONE buys them. even tho they where around 50€ cheaper then their windows counterparts. but offcourse, no MS office, no recognisable interface, no blue E called 'the internet'. just too different. and people buy for home what they use/see at work and others.

Since it was released as a public beta Microsoft has freely given away copies of the win7 setup disc ISO via download -- you still need a valid key to activate & overcome trial limitations. With Vista, XP & earlier that wasn't/isn't the case. For the most part Microsoft, like many other software companies does not let others distribute their software -- consumers can choose between downloads from the company site if/when available or purchase a retail disc. Right or wrong that's the way things are/were since the days of PCs running DOS. Reading the linked article from theverge.com, it would seem that's what Comet was sued for -- distributing Microsoft code without Microsoft's permission. If that is/was the case, then Comet might well have believed they were acting in their customers' interest, providing them with something they couldn't get elsewhere, i.e. Windows setup files -- if sold with new Windows PCs/laptops then those customers would have already purchased a Windows license & key. Ideally new retail PCs/laptops would have come with those discs already, but many [most?] of the companies producing new PCs & laptops elect to save themselves the $1 [or less] it would cost -- customers can often find plenty of advice on-line on how to contact the company that made their new hardware & request one. Having dealt with this myself as a consumer, having to ferret out install files from a backup disc or hidden partition, or having to deal with [usually incompetent & unhelpful] tech support requesting a Windows setup disc, I would have gladly paid a few extra bucks myself to avoid all that.

That said, I don't mean to absolve Comet of any blame or make them out to be nice people or anything -- I have no idea what the people running or working in the store(s) are like. As any biz they saw a need & sought to profit from fulfilling it -- no more, no less. If Microsoft's charges are true, they're likely more guilty of naivete than larceny or fraud -- they could have made loads more money producing illegal copies of Windows & other software if that was their intent.

mikiem said,
Since it was released as a public beta Microsoft has freely given away copies of the win7 setup disc ISO via download -- you still need a valid key to activate & overcome trial limitations. With Vista, XP & earlier that wasn't/isn't the case. For the most part Microsoft, like many other software companies does not let others distribute their software -- consumers can choose between downloads from the company site if/when available or purchase a retail disc. Right or wrong that's the way things are/were since the days of PCs running DOS. Reading the linked article from theverge.com, it would seem that's what Comet was sued for -- distributing Microsoft code without Microsoft's permission. If that is/was the case, then Comet might well have believed they were acting in their customers' interest, providing them with something they couldn't get elsewhere, i.e. Windows setup files -- if sold with new Windows PCs/laptops then those customers would have already purchased a Windows license & key. Ideally new retail PCs/laptops would have come with those discs already, but many [most?] of the companies producing new PCs & laptops elect to save themselves the $1 [or less] it would cost -- customers can often find plenty of advice on-line on how to contact the company that made their new hardware & request one. Having dealt with this myself as a consumer, having to ferret out install files from a backup disc or hidden partition, or having to deal with [usually incompetent & unhelpful] tech support requesting a Windows setup disc, I would have gladly paid a few extra bucks myself to avoid all that.

That said, I don't mean to absolve Comet of any blame or make them out to be nice people or anything -- I have no idea what the people running or working in the store(s) are like. As any biz they saw a need & sought to profit from fulfilling it -- no more, no less. If Microsoft's charges are true, they're likely more guilty of naivete than larceny or fraud -- they could have made loads more money producing illegal copies of Windows & other software if that was their intent.

sorry the 1st part of your post is incorect. the only version of windows 7 you can download from microsoft is a trial version of windows 7 Enterprise. and you cant use a normal Retail or OEM key to fully activate it once the trial is over.

xSuRgEx said,

sorry the 1st part of your post is incorect. the only version of windows 7 you can download from microsoft is a trial version of windows 7 Enterprise. and you cant use a normal Retail or OEM key to fully activate it once the trial is over.


windows.microsoftstore.com
you sure? i see windows home premium when i go there (i get dutch page, probably not much intereset to you no clue what you see) but you can buy & download windows 7 there and not only enterprise

Is that the Portwood branch? This is because Microsoft don`t supply recovery discs anymore, Comet just stepped in and did what it thought best for it`s customers...............yeh right, more like an easy buck was to be made!
Remember these are not retail or oem, but recovery discs, iv`e just searched and there are lots available, i wonder how many are similar to what Comet did...
Shouldn`t the people who bought these discs (they have allready paid for a license) be entitled to the disc free if they asked for it?

Riggers said,
Remember these are not retail or oem, but recovery discs, iv`e just searched and there are lots available, i wonder how many are similar to what Comet did...
Shouldn`t the people who bought these discs (they have allready paid for a license) be entitled to the disc free if they asked for it?

The term "recovery disc" can mean almost anything. Comet's likely in trouble because they put Microsoft code on discs they distributed without Microsoft's permission -- you need to get their OK for something like that, whether you're providing a download or disc. As far as the customers go, the old adage: "Caveat emptor -- Let the buyer beware" says it all... You & I may think companies should include Windows install discs with the PCs/laptops they sell, but AFAIK the only way they're legally obliged to provide one is if they list it in the contents of whatever you're buying.

I don't understand this line: "In what can only be described as truly bizarre"

What is bizarre about MS taking these idiots to court for pirating their software?

Nashy said,
I don't understand this line: "In what can only be described as truly bizarre"

What is bizarre about MS taking these idiots to court for pirating their software?

I believe the bizarre part is that a retail chain would get mixed up in something like this...

I think the title and some of the text is a bit misleading. I bet Microsoft are suing because Comet were charging for providing recovery disks and branded them as if they were official Microsoft supplied ones. Which I would guess you aren't allowed to do.

I can't see them producing a load of fake copies/licences of Windows.

monkey13 said,
I think the title and some of the text is a bit misleading. I bet Microsoft are suing because Comet were charging for providing recovery disks and branded them as if they were official Microsoft supplied ones. Which I would guess you aren't allowed to do.

I can't see them producing a load of fake copies/licences of Windows.


Yeh customers would be wondering why the serial code isn't valid.

monkey13 said,
I think the title and some of the text is a bit misleading. I bet Microsoft are suing because Comet were charging for providing recovery disks and branded them as if they were official Microsoft supplied ones. Which I would guess you aren't allowed to do.
I can't see them producing a load of fake copies/licences of Windows.

They didn't have to add/use Microsoft labeling or anything -- though I've no idea what the discs looked like -- as you're not allowed to distribute copies of anything without the owner's OK, e.g. you can't buy 1 copy of a book & start selling copies & we all know about doing that sort of thing with movies &/or music. It doesn't matter if the only persons you sell or give it to already own a license or copy.

As far as fake licenses go, that's what a lot people apparently think of right off the bat because that's where you'd make the most money, but the article on theverge.com says the discs were only sold along with Windows PCs/laptops where a fake license key wouldn't be needed. I can't imagine many customers being gullible enough to buy a 2nd Windows key to go with the one that comes with their new Windows PC, can you?

Personally, FWIW, I think someone(s) at Comet realized they could make a quick, add-on profit by selling Windows setup discs along with PC/laptops the same way many stores try to upsell you an extended warranty, or supplies or cables to go with a printer etc. Why no one thought it through is anyone's guess, or they would have realized they'd get into trouble -- maybe they thought they could get away with it because they sold however many Windows systems & Microsoft wouldn't want to jeopardize those sales?... considering they got away with it for 64k copies maybe they were right, for a while anyway.

all these pcs sold (i assume) have windows installed, and have a code sticker, they just didnt have a recovery cd? is that right... i dont see a problem in what comet have done if this is the case, and as for currys raising prices if comet go under then currys will quickly be the next, i've already abandoned the larger retail shops for buying electricals when you can find everything they sell cheaper online, (play,com amazon so on) but also smaller shops that price match like richersounds

sakaspuds said,
all these pcs sold (i assume) have windows installed, and have a code sticker, they just didnt have a recovery cd? is that right... i dont see a problem in what comet have done if this is the case, and as for currys raising prices if comet go under then currys will quickly be the next, i've already abandoned the larger retail shops for buying electricals when you can find everything they sell cheaper online, (play,com amazon so on) but also smaller shops that price match like richersounds

It's likely that Comet were selling CDs they'd made themselves from a single copy of an XP recovery disc, consequently ripping off Microsoft and more importantly, consumers.
If, as you suggested and I suspect will be the case, the customer already owned a copy of XP, it makes what Comet have done even worse!

Good.
All these pirate copies end up the same way: the user doesn't know it's pirated, and wonders why his computer tells him Windows/Office isn't genuine...and ends up with tons of viruses because he can't update.

oceanmotion said,
Ha, couldn't have happened to a nicer company. We won't miss you Comet.

I don't have a fondness for Comet either, but they keep Currys prices low due to competition. If Comet go they can charge what they like and then we will all complain about the high prices.

tuckeratlarge said,

I don't have a fondness for Comet either, but they keep Currys prices low due to competition. If Comet go they can charge what they like and then we will all complain about the high prices.

True, but Curry's also have other competitors from the likes of John Lewis and to some extent the large supermarkets. Then of course, there are Internet retailers...

tuckeratlarge said,

I don't have a fondness for Comet either, but they keep Currys prices low due to competition. If Comet go they can charge what they like and then we will all complain about the high prices.

But Currys/Comet/PC World/Dixons (Online) are all the same company, are they not?

True to some extent. John Lewis doesn't have a shop on every retail park like Comet and Currys do. Yes there is the t'internet but like me, a lot of people like to see and touch a product before purchase.

ckempo said,

But Currys/Comet/PC World/Dixons (Online) are all the same company, are they not?


Currys/PC World/Dixons yes all part of DSG - Comet owed by OpCapita (they got it for £2)

Comet are also big sellers of Monster Cables. My Mother-out-Law went to buy a TV and I told her not to be bamboozled by the salesman regarding HDMI cables, I told her Tesco do one for £4 - needless to say the slippery salesman conned her into paying £75 for a Monster one.

Then I overheard a Comet "salesman" telling a customer that only the 360 elite was capable of 1080p and the 60Gb only did 720.

But on the flip-side Microsoft should include a recovery CD, they're only pennies to make.

Edited by tuckeratlarge, Jan 4 2012, 1:12pm :

tuckeratlarge said,

Currys/PC World/Dixons yes all part of DSG - Comet owed by OpCapita (they got it for £2)


Comet are also big sellers of Monster Cables. My Mother-out-Law went to buy a TV and I told her not to be bamboozled by the salesman regarding HDMI cables, I told her Tesco do one for £4 - needless to say the slippery salesman conned her into paying £75 for a Monster one.

Then I overheard a Comet "salesman" telling a customer that only the 360 elite was capable of 1080p and the 60Gb only did 720.

But on the flip-side Microsoft should include a recovery CD, they're only pennies to make.

why excatly should MS inculde recovery disks? if you know anything about mucrosoft software licensing you would know that it is down to the OEM to provide the recovery disks/partition.

comet are not an OEM they may have a OEM partner like the DSG group do with there shoddy laptops/pcs and they provide recovery disks for the windows xp systems they sold.

comet did not sell customers pirated licences with there systems, its the recovey disks that were sold to customers which were made from orignial OEM disks
this is why comet are in hot water. becasue they were selling to customers
copies of the orignial disks. not a true "recovery" disk like those that come with dell
systems.

microsoft do not supply any recovery disks and never have done. best they can do
is sell the end user replacement media.

What I am saying is Microsoft should sell Windows to retailers or OEM in a format similar to Retail. As in include the disk and maybe a getting started pamphlet. You are paying a lot of money for something you cannot re-install. Discs are cheap, especially in the quantities Microsoft would need.

I bought a Dell PC and a lappy and both came with media so it's possible.

Then again I bought my daughter an HP netbook and it didn't - maybe it had something to do with no optical drive :-)

My mate works for Comet, he told me they can get up to £15 commision for selling a monster cable. Thats why the sales people are deparate to sell them. They will do anything and say anything to sell them, they're just a bunch of stone cold liars. I was told that I HAD to have an HDMI "1.4" cable to watch 3D which is just utter balls. I'm glad I'm tech savvy or else I'd get ripped off like those poor people that don't know any better. It's really discusting and lame.

I was also told that they only make around £6 on ipads 2s and all the focus is on Apple accessories. He could be wrong with his numbers but I know for a fact that I could go to a wholesaler agent and still make between £40-£80 profit depending on the model without even looking around for the best profit margin.

Comet's buisness model is shocking from what I've been told. Its no wonder they're in trouble. Once you start selling on a lie, it IS going to spiral downards to the inevitable pit of liquidation.

Ah recovery CDs. It would be interesting to know more details... at a glance it sounds like customers with already purchased PCs with Windows requiring recovery CDs, which means the customers will already have licenses just the discs themselves have been illegally burned/copied.

lt8480 said,
Ah recovery CDs. It would be interesting to know more details... at a glance it sounds like customers with already purchased PCs with Windows requiring recovery CDs, which means the customers will already have licenses just the discs themselves have been illegally burned/copied.

This is what I thought at first... ie comet was selling computers and just shipping ripped off copies for "recovery cd's" when someone called in or showed up needing one. But the story make it seem like they were definitely 'selling' said recover disks. The first MS may have only scolded them for (ie licenses were there but the cd's were not official) the second however was is someone profiting off of said disks, that's something ms never ever tolerates.

[quote=knighthawk said,]
the story make it seem like they were definitely 'selling' said recover disks. [/quote]

I think this is the case, however to my understanding everyone they sold one to already had a license. I'm not sure on the "correct" procedures for selling recovery discs, so from the news article its impossible to understand what exactly Microsoft is claiming they did wrong.

according to the original source:

[quote]
Update: Comet has responded to Microsoft's suit with the following statement:

"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.

"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. It believes its customers had been adversely affected by the decision to stop supplying recovery discs with each new Microsoft Operating System based computer. Accordingly Comet is satisfied that it has a good defence to the claim and will defend its position vigorously."
{/quote]

lt8480 said,

I think this is the case, however to my understanding everyone they sold one to already had a license. I'm not sure on the "correct" procedures for selling recovery discs, so from the news article its impossible to understand what exactly Microsoft is claiming they did wrong.

according to the original source:


Interesting. I have to say that I agree with them now that more is known about this. Microsoft SHOULD be including recovery media with computers still. I am not a fan of the practice not to at all.

M_Lyons10 said,

Interesting. I have to say that I agree with them now that more is known about this. Microsoft SHOULD be including recovery media with computers still. I am not a fan of the practice not to at all.

Yeah, I agree they should be included. From what I can gather/ guess I think the issue may be how Comet represented the media - rather than the fact they were selling recovery discs.

eg. if they presented / sold them as "authentic Windows XP Discs" for a retail-like free or whether they sold them as "PC specific recovery discs" for a nominal fee.

M_Lyons10 said,

Interesting. I have to say that I agree with them now that more is known about this. Microsoft SHOULD be including recovery media with computers still. I am not a fan of the practice not to at all.

Whether or not to include recovery discs with the PC is up to the OEM - not Microsoft. Besides, didn't two rather large OEMs (HP and DELL) get roasted right here on Neowin for failing to include recovery discs with their prebuilts?

M_Lyons10 said,

Interesting. I have to say that I agree with them now that more is known about this. Microsoft SHOULD be including recovery media with computers still. I am not a fan of the practice not to at all.


windows 7 doesnt need a recovery disk. it has it build in. (altho the build in is lacking some functionality) and the actual recovery disk is an installation disk

Shadowzz said,

windows 7 doesnt need a recovery disk. it has it build in. (altho the build in is lacking some functionality) and the actual recovery disk is an installation disk

Understood, but how does that help you if your hard drive craps out? It doesn't...

M_Lyons10 said,

Understood, but how does that help you if your hard drive craps out? It doesn't...


if your hdd dies, what you need that recovery disk for? afaik you cannot (with xp and previous windows OS's) install a new OS, it just fixes it. dont know every OEM, but HP and dell at least.

[quote=lt8480 said,]

I think this is the case, however to my understanding everyone they sold one to already had a license. I'm not sure on the "correct" procedures for selling recovery discs, so from the news article its impossible to understand what exactly Microsoft is claiming they did wrong.

according to the original source:

The Update did not exist when I commented.

Shadowzz said,

if your hdd dies, what you need that recovery disk for? afaik you cannot (with xp and previous windows OS's) install a new OS, it just fixes it. dont know every OEM, but HP and dell at least.
Huh?? Nope, sorry, you can absolutely use the HP or Dell recovery discs to install the OS from scratch. Out of the set of discs one is bootable. It'll usually run through some scripted install procedure or restore a factory OEM OS image to the drive. That's the whole point of a "recovery" disc after all. What good is it if you can't install your OS from it? Just run it from within Windows for drivers and diagnostics? That would be pretty useless if your OS is hosed. Just find the disc that says it's bootable and you can use it to install the OS. Back in the day you used to get a bootable OEM disc to run the scripted procedure as well as a traditional XP disc (which was also bootable) but nowadays thanks to .wim everything is image based.

A HUGE company such as Comet doing this? That's disgusting. And what happens to all the customers? They paid for what they believed (and were sold) was a legit copy. Are they left high-and-dry?

nik louch said,
A HUGE company such as Comet doing this? That's disgusting. And what happens to all the customers? They paid for what they believed (and were sold) was a legit copy. Are they left high-and-dry?

If the OS fails the test they can get a real key from MS etc, or just use it like it is but without any support from MS. XP isn't getting anything outside of the odd critical patch at this point in it's life, Vista is still supported but ya, only critical security updates go out to pirated copies that MS knows about.

GP007 said,

If the OS fails the test they can get a real key from MS etc, or just use it like it is but without any support from MS. XP isn't getting anything outside of the odd critical patch at this point in it's life, Vista is still supported but ya, only critical security updates go out to pirated copies that MS knows about.

its not a pirated copy if you just never enter a serial number just have to deal with the ocasional popup and no backgrounds

comet realy did drop the ball on this one. they knew excatly what they were doing.
i just goes to show MS dont mess about when it comes to protecting there software
and even that little man who owns the computershop in the highstreet isnt safe.

why were comet selling the disks anyway, is down to the OEM to supply the orignal media.
they will properly just end up with a huge fine. but it would be very bad if they had to shut down.

lordofangels said,
could this be why Kesa sold Comet for £2 in November last year?

The mountain of debt Comet's built up is probably why

Oh dear.. UK retail stores like this are REALLY struggling at the moment and I suspect, if they get hit with a large fine, they're gonna fold. Not good.

Chicane-UK said,
Oh dear.. UK retail stores like this are REALLY struggling at the moment and I suspect, if they get hit with a large fine, they're gonna fold. Not good.

Really? That's all you have to say? Lol

Chicane-UK said,
Oh dear.. UK retail stores like this are REALLY struggling at the moment and I suspect, if they get hit with a large fine, they're gonna fold. Not good.

What else do you want me to say? I'm so sorry that Microsoft lost out on 94,000 Windows licenses? Terrible shame.

From my point of view, watching our economy go slowly down the toilet, it was more of a concern to me than a fractional difference to Microsofts gargantuan profits.

Chicane-UK said,
Oh dear.. UK retail stores like this are REALLY struggling at the moment and I suspect, if they get hit with a large fine, they're gonna fold. Not good.

To be fair KESA usually sells off parts of retail stores before shutting them down anyway, from what I hear, so Comet was doomed to begin with. Some electronics stores faired well during the Christmas period, others not so much. Hopefully Comet made enough extra money vs. last year to cook the books well enough to cancel out this silly mistake.

Chicane-UK said,
FWIW - I'm not defending what Comet did.. it was very stupid. Just depressed seeing all these companies going down the pan!

I agree that it's a shame to see all these stores disappear, however Comet is one of the few stores that I'm surprised are still going, as their prices are so bloody high, and they hire staff who are illiterate and just plain rude.

If they are in fact going to be hurt from the law suit, it is quite possible that Microsoft would allow them to settle by simply purchasing the missing licenses.

JustinN said,

I agree that it's a shame to see all these stores disappear, however Comet is one of the few stores that I'm surprised are still going, as their prices are so bloody high, and they hire staff who are illiterate and just plain rude.

If they are in fact going to be hurt from the law suit, it is quite possible that Microsoft would allow them to settle by simply purchasing the missing licenses.

Hmmmm....sounds very similar to U.S. electronics retailers like like Circuit City (now dead) and the current market leader Best Buy! Personally I prefer Best Buy and glad to see they are doing well but still it suffers from employees that don't know much about the products they're selling.

NPGMBR said,

Hmmmm....sounds very similar to U.S. electronics retailers like like Circuit City (now dead) and the current market leader Best Buy! Personally I prefer Best Buy and glad to see they are doing well but still it suffers from employees that don't know much about the products they're selling.

You prefer BB yet CC is the one who usually had employees that knew what they were selling? Now that CC is gone their arrogance has gone through the roof.

PeterTHX said,

You prefer BB yet CC is the one who usually had employees that knew what they were selling? Now that CC is gone their arrogance has gone through the roof.

Ummm...that may have been the experience where you live but where I live (Metro DC) Circuit City and Best Buy staff both have a lack of knowledge about the products. The reason I prefer Best Buy was solely because of the atmosphere of their stores which looked far better than Circuit City stores.