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Action Pack Abusers

Microsoft is cleaning house in its Action Pack subscription program. The company unveiled seven lawsuits against nine individuals for alleged abuse of the program, which offers Microsoft Partners about $50,000 worth of software for $299.

If you obey the rules of the program, you only sign up for one subscription per partner, and you only use the software internally. Turns out -- surprise, surprise -- some people appear to have found the $49,701 gap between the cost to partners and the retail value of the software a little too tempting.

In fact, Microsoft alleges that certain people used fraudulent sign-ups to get hundreds of Action Packs, then turned around and resold the software. In federal court, Microsoft is seeking return of the software, return of the proceeds, triple damages, attorneys' fees, court costs and injunctive relief.

By publicizing the lawsuits, Microsoft is hoping to prevent others from abusing the program in a similar fashion. Go Microsoft. The Action Pack is truly a pro-partner program. Defending the authenticity of the program ensures that it can continue to serve partners, while the enforcement helps protect partners from the predatory scenarios that abuse of the Action Packs can enable.

For the most complete account of the cases online, see our story here.

Misbehaving Action Pack subscribers aren't the only ones Microsoft is chasing in court. Microsoft also filed lawsuits against three companies accused of selling counterfeit versions of Windows.

Gates’ Time
Time magazine announced its Persons of the Year for 2005 on Sunday, and Bill Gates is among them -- not for the business savvy that made him a giant in the computer world, but for his charitable work. Gates, his wife Melinda and Irish rocker Bono share the Time magazine honor. According to Time: "Bono charmed and bullied and morally blackmailed the leaders of the world's richest countries into forgiving $40 billion in debt owed by the poorest … The Gateses, having built the world's biggest charity, with a $29 billion endowment, spent the year giving more money away faster than anyone ever has."

The article has some interesting details of the alliance between Bill and Melinda Gates and Bono. (Warning: If you’re not a Time subscriber, you’ll have to sit through a Flash ad before you can read the full article online.)

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AOL Jilts Microsoft
The joint funding of a computer-science lab last week notwithstanding, Microsoft and Google are still engaged in a death match. The latest arena is in the deal to buy a stake in Time Warner's AOL unit. Microsoft negotiated heavily with Time Warner and appeared close to a deal last week, but Google managed to begin exclusive negotiations with AOL on Thursday night. Apparently the deal is being finalized for the approval of the companies' boards on Tuesday night. The Wall Street Journal describes the deal as a double blow to Microsoft. In addition to losing in negotiations, an AOL-Google deal seals off any possibility of Microsoft getting a bounce in additional advertising revenue by getting AOL to use the MSN search engine instead of Google's.

Microsoft Dynamics SL Generally Available Today
Another of the Microsoft Business Solutions products has made the jump to the Dynamics brand. Microsoft Dynamics SL, formerly Solomon, became generally available in the United States and Canada Monday.

Posted by Scott Bekker on December 19, 2005


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