Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer wants to stop software pirates.
An insurance company in Guatemala is suing Microsoft for allegedly raiding its offices with armed police officers to search for pirated software.
Paul Brinkmann of the South Florida Business Journal, first reported on the lawsuit on Monday.
Here's what the company, Seguros Universales SA of Guatemala City, claims happened during the April 2012 raid:
"Microsoft appeared with armed Guatemalan law enforcement officers and halted plaintiffs’ business operations. Microsoft then proceeded to extort Plaintiffs by demanding an on-the-spot agreement to pay $70,000 or Microsoft would remove all… servers containing ALL data and operational software."
Seguros Universales also alleges that Microsoft tried to strong-arm other Guatemalan insurance firms into paying on-the-spot fines for using pirated software, Brinkmann reported.
But Microsoft has a different version of how things went down.
"Seguras Universales confessed to a Guatemalan judge and prosecutor that it used illegal software and freely entered into an agreement to compensate Microsoft for its wrongdoing," a Microsoft spokesperson told us in an email.
"This suit is a meritless attempt to distract from its own software piracy, and we look forward to addressing the claims," the spokesperson said.
Microsoft is a member of the Business Software Alliance, an industry group that tracks usage of illegal software. In a 2011 survey, the BSA found that 79% of software in use in Guatemala is pirated, compared to 61% for Latin America as a whole, and 42% globally.
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