Debullshitifying Microsoft's smear campaign against the recycler it helped send to prison

Eric Lundgren is the PC recycler who is going to jail for 18 months for having a Chinese factory duplicate the obsolete Windows restore CDs Microsoft lets you download for free and authorizes recyclers to distribute.

Microsoft's expert testimony was key to putting Lundgren behind bars, with the company arguing that Lundgren (who was wholesaling the discs to other recyclers for $0.25/each) was a "commercial infringer" and insisting that distributing a copy of Windows that couldn't be activated without a license key was the same as pirating the operating system.

After Microsoft prevailed in its campaign to see Lundgren sent to prison, the company was taken aback by the negative publicity it received, so it started issuing public statements further smearing Lundgren with selective half-truths and out-and-out lies.

Tech Crunch's Devin Coldewey has provided a detailed, point-by-point rebuttal of Microsoft's smears.

When a refurbisher installs a fresh version of Windows on a refurbished PC, we charge a discounted rate of $25 for the software and a new license – it is not free.

But if they're not installing a fresh version of Windows, because the machine already has a licensed copy on it, as so many do, the software is free. There's no limit on how many a company can make on its own; Microsoft only charges for the licenses. Here, go make one yourself in case you need to do it.

Mr. Lundgren's scheme was simple. He was counterfeiting Windows software in China and importing it to the United States. Mr. Lundgren intended the software to be sold to the refurbisher community as if it was a legitimate, licensed copy of Windows.

There's the key right there. "As if it was a legitimate, licensed copy of Windows."

These are not licensed copies of Windows! They're discs anyone can make, and that manufacturers and refurbishers can print as many of as they like, to give to customers who already have a copy of Windows. These discs are for repairing or re-installing a copy of the OS. They did not come with licenses and Lundgren was not selling or providing licenses.

Don't let Microsoft fool you the way they helped fool the judges. A recovery disc is something you or I or a refurbisher can make right now for free. A license to operate Windows comes from Microsoft and costs good money. They're not the same thing and Lundgren was going to sell the former, not the latter.

Microsoft attempts to spin its role in counterfeiting case [Devin Coldewey/Tech Crunch]

(via /.)