Clayton Noble, attorney at Microsoft Australia, told iTWire "we bought two test PCs [from LFO]... we know they were unlicensed." He admitted that Microsoft had not tried to determine whether or not copies of Windows supplied by LFO contained any malware or other "nasties", but pointed out there was a risk of that happening in cases such as this since "pirated" copies of Windows circulating on certain download sites and torrents are known to be contaminated.
He said that while it may be possible for a retailer to clone an inadvertently infected system image onto a computer that is then sold with a Microsoft licence (as opposed to following the mandated procedure and installing directly from the individual disc provided by Microsoft to accompany the licence), "it wouldn't be worth the risk" to do so.
In addition to paying damages to Microsoft, LFO has agreed to provide previous customers with a factory-fresh copy of Windows and the corresponding certificate of authenticity at no extra charge.
"If a certificate of authenticity affixed to your new PC appears used or tampered with, or names a PC manufacturer that doesn't match the PC you bought, this is an indication of counterfeit software pre-loaded onto your PC," said Mr Noble.