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Microsoft Responds to E-Waste Recycler's Prison Term: "He Faked Windows Software"

In response to stories about the 15-month prison sentence for Eric Lundgren, Microsoft has written a high-profile blog post explaining his perspective on the case. The article, titled "The Facts About a Recent US Government Forgery Case," consists of several allegations derived from the case itself, the e-mail evidence submitted for it, and Microsoft's own take.

Microsoft vice president of communications, Frank Shaw, begins reaffirming Microsoft's support for refurbishment and recycling. But the main task of the Post is to reassert the findings of the court. After realizing that the US government, not Microsoft, had brought the case, Shaw notes that Lundgren pleaded guilty. He also argues that Lundgren's emails contain strong evidence that he actually wanted to benefit from the fake Windows.

The article contains several emails detailing how Lundgren not only provided software disks, but also used "long lengths" to make these disks look like they were from Microsoft or Dell would come.

This morning we published an interview with Lundgren detailing his side of the story. Although he pleaded guilty, he directly blamed Microsoft for his jail term. He believes it's more about protecting the profits from selling Windows to Sanierer than faking counterfeiting or piracy.

Microsoft obviously contradicts. Shaw completes this article as follows:

Mr. Lundgren's plan was simple. He faked Windows software in China and imported it to the United States. Mr. Lundgren intended to sell the software to the Refurbishers community as if it were a legitimate, licensed copy of Windows. It was not. The evidence in this case shows that Mr. Lundgren used his knowledge of the PC recycling community to cheat exactly the community he championed and evade the law. If he just wanted to help this community, why did he set up a whole lot of counterfeit production in China to make the CDs legitimate? And why did he charge his counterfeit product and try to make a profit at the expense of the community he was supposed to help?

One of the core problems of the case was the value of the software that Lundgren tried to distribute. Lundgren and an expert witness claim that the value was essentially zero. Because, they argue, the actual value of the software should have been in the license to use the software, not in the restore software itself – which can be downloaded for free from Microsoft own website.

This is how Lundgren characterized the problem:

They compared it to a new license. You will not get a license with the Recovery CD. The government treated the injured item as if it were a licensed product, the license itself, what Microsoft sells, and that's not it. … I got Microsoft's multi-multi-million dollar business model to get in the way of people charging for computers that already have an operating system.

Although Microsoft's response does not directly refer to the distinction between the recovery software and the license to use, it appears that the company claims that this distinction is misleading. Shaw writes:

If a refurbisher installs a new version of Windows on an outdated PC, we charge a discounted price of $ 25 for the software and a new license – it's not free. Thousands of refurbishers participate in this program legally and without confusion, and the program works.

Whether it's necessary for rebuilders to pay the $ 25 license fee for a new license to Microsoft is still highly controversial in the larger community. That's the number on which Lundgren's sentence is based. Lundgren is resigned to serving his 15-month sentence. As he said The Verge : "I want to write a book in prison about trying to find happiness."

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