Microsoft Sues Companies, Individuals for Stealing Software

Microsoft Corp. said Thursday it had filed its first-ever breach-of-contract lawsuits against several members of a software subscription service.

The Redmond-based company alleges that nine people in California, Maryland, New York, Texas and Virginia obtained Microsoft Action Pack Subscriptions, then tried to sell the software on Internet auction sites.

Microsoft, the world's largest software maker, said the alleged abuses involved falsifying information to receive program benefits and software titles multiple times.

The MAPS program provides partners with discounted Microsoft software for product evaluation and internal use, not for resale.

"Our honest partners have asked us to intervene to help protect those who abide by laws and rules governing software use and distribution," Mary Jo Schrade, a senior attorney at Microsoft, said in a statement released Thursday. "We want to protect the business of honest resellers and try to ensure a level playing field for our partners."

Microsoft also sued three companies, in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, accusing them of pirating software.