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Amazon’s fake problems are bigger than just Microsoft Office

A wonderfully independent article in the Washington Post reveals a big problem with the sale of fake and pirated products on Amazon. Our articles on fake Microsoft Office products is just a tiny part of a bigger problem.

The Washington Post is owned by Jeff Bezos, the head of Amazon so it’s great to see editorial independence demonstrated in the article How Amazon’s quest for more, cheaper products has resulted in a flea market of fakes  .

For a long time, there’s been a market for fake designer label goods.  Street markets across the globe have plenty of fake handbags, belts, perfumes, watches and more. Illegal software was widely sold on the street.  These days the fakes have moved online.

We’ve seen many examples of obviously fake Microsoft Office sold on Amazon and Ebay. One lady needed help from her local TV station after buying an illegal Office from Amazon.

The problem is so bad we wrote about how to Protect yourself buying from Amazon or Ebay .

According to the WaPo article Amazon relies on brands to let the company know about frauds, but even when the company has custody of counterfeit items, it doesn’t always take action. ”

Policing fake handbags etc can be difficult but it’s a lot easier with many of the fake Microsoft Office products that appear on Amazon, Ebay and other sites.  Often the name of the product is enough to confirm that its an illegal sale and a risk for the buyer.

Where is Microsoft?

Which is why we don’t understand Microsoft’s apparent lack of action against fake MS Office posted on Amazon.  Finding these fakes isn’t hard (see below), finds examples in less than a minute whenever this topic comes up.

Why doesn’t Microsoft have someone check Amazon, Ebay etc regularly and report problems?

There’s lots of talk about fighting software piracy yet this obvious ‘low hanging fruit’ goes untouched.  Why?

Whenever we highlight some illegal Office products on Amazon, they are removed within a day or so.  You’re welcome, Microsoft.

Latest examples of dubious Office on Amazon

We said it wasn’t hard to find fake or dubious Microsoft Office on Amazon.  For this article we checked and it took less than a minute.

There were some strange postings which might be illegal or just badly worded. For example, Office 2019 sold with ‘CD’ media, when all Office products are now downloads.

Here’s two offerings of Office 2019 Professional Plus that should raise ‘red flags’ at the very least.

Really low price

Office 2019 Professional (not ‘Plus’) retails for US$440 so prices $70 and $20 are well below wholesale.  At the very least, Microsoft and Amazon should query the suppliers on price alone.

Non Retail product

More importantly ‘Professional Plus’ is NOT sold retail, it’s only part of a volume licence package.  It’s a breach of licence to on-sell a volume licence product. For the buyer, there’s the risk that Microsoft will deactivate an illegal licence.

Found on – 19 Nov 2019.

Amazon could block sales of products like ‘Professional Plus’. If not, Microsoft could detect these flagrant breaches and complain to Amazon.  Neither of those things are happening.

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