Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Lowering the boom on South African software pirates

Efforts led by Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit (DCU) and Anti-Piracy teams have led to the successful arrest and conviction of local software pirates.

In cooperation with the South African Police Service’s (SAPS) Directorate Priority Crimes Investigations (popularly known as The Hawks), the teams have executed raids on the premises of various resellers who have been identified by Microsoft piracy prevention programmes as being involved in the selling of counterfeit and/or unlicensed Microsoft software.

In the most recent enforcement actions around 100 counterfeit disks containing Microsoft software were seized along with a number of PCs, which were operating on unlicensed Microsoft software.

One suspect was arrested on site, whilst others were also rounded up. These suspects are now due to appear in the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court for dealing in Counterfeit Goods, which is an offense that carries a penalty of R5 000 per disc and/or 6 months imprisonment.

More anti-piracy success in Pretoria
In yet another case last week, the Magistrate handed down a custodial sentence to Mr Guo Liaxuang of E-Café in Hatfield, Pretoria. Liaxuang was sentenced to correctional supervision for 2 years, during which he will be placed under house arrest for a period of 12 months. He will also be required to complete a behaviour reform course and perform community service, without compensation.

“At any given time, we have a number of active cases being investigated by the SAPS or being prosecuted by the National Prosecuting Authority. This is proof that the wheels of justice do turn and we’ve achieved several notable convictions of late,” says Marius Haman, DCU lead for the Sub-Saharan Africa region.

Beyond the criminal enforcement actions, the DCU also prosecutes civil cases through its Outside Counsel resulting in several successful actions.  These civil legal cases follow investigations where resellers had been warned of wrong doing, yet were not prepared to change their behaviour and continued to put consumers and businesses at risk. They’re often initiated in response to customer complaints directly to Microsoft.
“Microsoft is determined to protect our intellectual property as well as our customer and partner ecosystem from the threat and losses associated with software piracy. Our goal is to reduce those incidents in which customers end up buying PCs with unlicensed copies of Microsoft software and create a fair playing field for all partners,” explains Mr Haman. “Often cybercriminals exploit the vulnerabilities in counterfeit software through malware and spyware, which exposes consumers and businesses alike, to identity theft and/or cyber-attacks.”

Customers, partners as well as internal Microsoft employees are encouraged to submit any piracy leads to

For more info about piracy, visit Microsoft’s anti-piracy website at Users who need to be able to tell whether their software is genuine or want to learn more about the identification of counterfeit and unlicensed Microsoft software can go do so at

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Opportunity for Designers courtesy of Samsung

Inspire Design, a search to discover South Africa’s Top Talent
Creating real opportunities, through the power of technology

Inspire Design is a new campaign launched by Samsung Electronics South Africa - with the purpose of discovering South Africa’s best up-and-coming designers from a spectrum of creative industries and helping to turn their dreams into a reality.

Samsung will run its first ever design talent search programme in South Africa, based on the company’s global strategy to strengthen its commitment to unleash the dreams, passions and potential of individuals with brilliant ideas through innovative technology. In order to ensure the success of this initiative, Samsung has partnered with some of the country’s most esteemed designers in the creative space, to help identify talent.

The campaign aims to unearth creative talent across five design categories: fashion, furniture, homeware and décor – and was launched during Africa's first international design fair The GUILD, at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC).

The four judges chosen to search and ultimately choose, South Africa’s best emerging design talent include successful Jewellery designer Kirsten Goss, premium artist in Homeware and Décor, Susan Slee of Maneki, internationally celebrated Fashion designer, Shaldon Kopman of Naked Ape, and CEO of premium Furniture store Bakos Brothers, Ryan Bakos.

Globally, the brand is associated with similar programmes that unleash potential of individuals in various creative categories which encourage individualism, from music to film. Locally, as an icon of originality and true self-expression, Samsung is using the design platform to find the creative talent of these four disciplines.

Michelle Potgieter, Director of Corporate Marketing and Communications, explains, “Samsung’s culture of innovation is reaching beyond product to help people everywhere realise their potential. With beautiful design at the heart of Samsung’s philosophy, we are proud to partner on an initiative that will discover and showcase our next generation of upcoming artists.”

The search will unfold in two phases: the national recruitment, entry and judging process will take place between March and May. The four  judges will then select eight winners – comprising the top two designs in each category of the five disciplines. These candidates will then have the opportunity of a lifetime to showcase their talent through extensive media exposure and network with distinguished South African buyers.

“The South African design industry has gained huge momentum in recent years, and now some of our best designers compete on a global stage with their peers. Samsung’s Inspire Design will provide a sustainable and credible platform to some of South Africa’s top talent, and offer a unique and exciting opportunity for designers already working in the various design spheres. It’s not only about technology, but about realising the potential of people with dreams and passion,” concludes Potgieter.

For more information on how to enter visit T&Cs apply.

Meet the Inspire Design Judges:
Kirsten Goss - Jewellery design:
A style icon in her own right, Kirsten cites her Scandinavian heritage and South African roots as important influences. It is her rare talent for tapping into contemporary lifestyle trends that has seen Kirsten Goss jewellery becoming one of this country’s most talked about designer brands. Kirsten’s flagship boutique is nestled in leafy Kensington, while design and production are headquartered in a state-of-the-art design studio in Durban.  A truly global business, with African roots servicing an international clientèle.
Shaldon Kopman - Fashion design:
Shaldon Kopman is a well-recognised name in the fashion Industry. His career to date has spanned the globe. He is director and founder of the bespoke men’s brand Naked Ape. Shaldon’s comprehensive knowledge of the fashion industry as a whole is complementary to his creativity and uses this experience to conceptualise in a refreshing and artistic way. He has a special talent for interpreting trends and his passion for Africa is manifested in his designs.
Susan Slee - Homeware and Décor design:
Susan Slee is the owner of Maneki van Staal, a well-known jewellery designer and manufacturer. Her fascination with the simplicity of instant drawings led to the birth of Maneki van Staal, an instant success with an engaging story behind each product and character. In the last five years, Maneki have opened three outlets in South Africa. Currently the Maneki product range includes sugar spoons, teaspoon sets, salad and cutlery sets, ceramic tableware, leather handbags and jewellery.
Ryan Bakos – Furniture Industry Leader:
Ryan Bakos was born into the Bakos family business and took over the reins in 2008.  The first step in this process was the recent opening of a 4500m2 factory in Wynberg, a brave move that has enabled Bakos Brothers to compete on a larger scale, as well as cut out the middlemen. The factory buys fabrics and leather in bulk, direct from the wholesalers, which has dramatically reduced costs, resulting in reduced prices on its sofas especially. Ryan has also introduced a new, cutting edge internal information system, which disseminates information and enables interaction between employees, creating a sense of family for the 100 staff located around the country

To discover more, please visit

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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Psssst want the bbm pins for some big brands?

For brands and businesses, BBM Channels provides a new way to interact and connect with a highly engaged and targeted mobile audience and build a community around their channel.
Thousands of major brands and business are already using BBM Channels to engage with their customers, including:
·         Disney - C002AB885
·         Mercedes Petronas - C00011785
·         Shaun the Sheep: C00124C49
·         E! - C00123A79
·         BMW SA – C00013EF1
·         Mr.Price – C00035FB5
·         PriceCheck – C000188FF

Here’s what one of our Channel owners had to say after using BBM Channels in Beta with BlackBerry users:

“The Desigual BBM Channel set-up was very simple and instantaneous. The interaction with our followers is nearly real-time, and the engagement level is high compared to traditional social networks. We’re seeing followers participate from all over the world and they are truly enjoying the direct contact with our brand. Our channel is also easy to manage as it is well-integrated with the rest of our social networks – in fact, the real-time feedback we get via our BBM Channel helps us to improve our content planning on the other social networks we manage. In just two weeks we had a strong and really engaged community of more than 10,000 followers. Our BBM Channel is currently in the top five of our social media networks that drive traffic to our e-commerce site, so we’re already seeing that it is generating sales.” 
Boris Mercier
Global Social Media Manager
Desigual - C0006E26C
Check out this video to watch BBM Channels in action.
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