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Microsoft found another way....

Gregg Bolinger
GenRocket Founder
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Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 15299
    
    6

I recieved this Email today from a guy who owns a company that sells study guides to exams (A+, N+, MCSE, etc). Microsoft talked the Texas County DA to bring charges up on this guy for selling the Microsoft Exams. This is kind of long, but very interesting. Please read...
To All TestKiller Customers,
My name is Garry Neale and I am the Managing Partner of TestKiller, LTD (formerly Troy Technologies). You are being contacted because someone at this email address has purchased or inquired about one or more of our study guides in the past. We hope you found them useful and that they have helped you progress in your career development. Since we have received numerous emails asking us what happened and the status of our case, I have decided to send out periodic updates to all of our former customers keeping them abreast of what is going on.
As you may already know, Microsoft has decided that they are going to shutdown and prosecute businesses that publish or distribute any kind of unauthorized study material for their IT exams. They have filed a complaint with the local County District Attorney's Office here in San Antonio, Texas and they have decided to prosecute us for "Theft of Trade Secrets", a felony crime. From what I understand, Microsoft tried to get the FBI involved, but apparently they did not think this was a criminal case. So instead, they went to the local authorities to try and have us prosecuted under Texas state law. Our County attorney is a very political animal and loves the headlines. Since all the problems with Corporate misconduct have been in the news lately (Enron, WorldCom, etc.), I think she saw this as an opportunity to get some headlines showing that she was tough on "White Collar" crime and hoping to assure her re-election?
My attorney feels that we can eventually win this case, but it is going to cost well over $200,000 to see it all the way through the legal process. Since the police have seized all of our assets and bank accounts, we are begging and borrowing money in order to defend ourselves (note that at this point and time I have not even been charged with a crime yet).
What follows is a description of what has happened so far. Please note that at the end of this description you will find a couple of ads for products that we highly recommend. If you are interested in one of the products, please click on the link and buy it from our source. These companies has agreed to share a significant portion of the profit with me so I can afford to fight this thing out in the courts. You will still continue to receive the case updates whether you buy or not, but I have purchased the products myself and highly recommend them. Purchasing one of these products can be your way of striking a blow against the Microsoft behemoth.
Here is what has happened to us so far:
6 June 2002: The San Antonio Police Department showed up at our business offices with a search and seizure warrant. They then proceeded to confiscate all of our furniture, computers, equipment and study guides. At the same time, another group of officers showed up at my personal residence and proceeded to confiscate everything I own; computers, automobiles, TVs, etc. I mean they took everything my family owned except some furniture and our clothing. They even took my baseball card collection and my son's video games! They have also seized all the funds that were in any bank accounts that I or the business owned.
11 June 2002: My attorney met with the County District Attorney. At that time they informed him that my arrest and criminal prosecution would soon follow. They indicated that I would be charged with Theft of Trade Secrets and Money Laundering. These are serious offenses with real jail time involved. They also indicated that at least 2 of our other employees would also probably be searched and charged.
20 June 2002: The Bexar County DA filed a civil suit in District Court requesting that all my seized business assets be forfeited. I bet you can't guess who will receive these assets?
28 June 2002: The Wilson County DA filed a civil suit in District Court requesting that all my seized personal assets be forfeited. Since my personal residence was in a different county from our business, they had to get the Wilson County DA to agree to help them in this prosecution. Why would Wilson county bother, guess who gets my personal assets?
2 August 2002: Our attorney filed a response to the Bexar County suit asking for Discovery, challenging the search warrant, and asking that the case be dismissed.
15 September 2002: Bexar County DA responded to our dismissal request and now we are awaiting them to request Discovery from us.
14 October 2002 (Projected): Our attorney will be submitting a response to the Wilson County suit asking for Discovery, challenging the search warrant, and asking that the case be dismissed.
That is were the case stands right now. To make a long story short, all of our funds have been seized making it almost impossible to defend ourselves in court. My attorney and I both think we can beat this charge if we have the funds to conduct a proper defense (i.e. hire investigators, subject experts, etc.). I have been able to scrape up $50,000 from friends and relatives. However, that is only enough to pay my attorney's initial retainer. My attorney is one of the best in this state at defending these type of cases and I truly believe we can win this thing if we have the funds.
Here is what Microsoft did in our case. They contacted the local county DA and they then told them a bunch a crap about us and the local DA bought it all. You see this way Microsoft is getting the Texas State Government to spend their money to criminally prosecute us and it doesn't cost them a dime. I'm sure if they win, they will be using the same strategy on others. Why would Microsoft do this, keep in mind that they also sell "Study Guides". Since TestKiller and several other companies have started selling really good study guides base on the actual exams, no one is buying their useless study guides or attending their useless training courses.
WHY I STARTED TROY TECHNOLOGIES: Back in 1997 I was a network administrator for a local company. I was in charge of our Microsoft NT network. Our company then came out with an incentive program that pay raises would be based upon Microsoft certifications (something that Microsoft has been successful in convincing companies they need). They also would not let me hire any others who did not have certain Microsoft certifications. At first, I didn't think too much about it. After all, I knew my stuff and was a damn good Microsoft NT administrator with 3 years experience. I figured that I and others could easily pass the exams if we new our stuff. When I took my first exam, I was in for a rude awakening. The exam was for Exchange Server and covered very few procedures that I performed on a daily basis. Most of the questions presented you with obscure scenarios that no one faces or that they might come across once in a lifetime? These situations would require any good !
Microsoft administrator to pull out the manual or go search the knowledge database to find the answers. Yet Microsoft expected me to solve these situations from memory. It was ridiculous!
I was the Exchange Server Administrator for our company network and had been working with it for 2 years. I failed the exam by over 200 points! So I thought OK, this is a racket. They apparently expect everyone to take the official Microsoft courses in order to be able to pass these exams. I then contacted a local training center and discovered that the course for my exam was $1500! Fortunately I talked my company into paying for the first one (I know many of you do not have that luxury) and I attended it the following week. To my surprise, the course just covered the basics of Exchange administration. None of the obscure situations I saw on the exam were covered. I kept having to ask the instructor questions like "Well on the exam this situation was presented, how do I answer that question." Nine times out of ten the (Microsoft Certified) instructor could not answer the question and told me to look it up in the manual or Tech Net.
I attempted to research as many questions as I could remember and I took the exam again and still failed by over 100 points. Totally frustrated, I called Microsoft to complain. Their suggestion was that I order the study guide for Exchange Server from Microsoft Press, or order their training kit! So I dished out another $120 to get this info. Now I have spent $1500 for the MICROSOFT COURSE, $200 to take the exam twice, and another $120 for the MICROSOFT study guide which was mostly stuff I already knew, and I still hadn't yet passed their exam (and I am a pretty smart guy). Something was very wrong here! Then it became clear to me...Microsoft was making a percentage on every dollar I spent in this whole process. Of course the exams are going to be ridiculously hard! This is a cash cow. I then became infuriated when I discovered that the average first time pass rate for the Exchange Server exams was something like 17%. I thought of all those people out there that di!
d not have the financial means that were at my disposal. This stuff could really hurt them.
It was then that I developed the idea to compile and rewrite braindumps into a study guide that I could sell to the average guy for $29 and keep Microsoft from profiting on these unfair exams. So on 1 December 1997 I started a company called Troy Technologies USA (named after my 3 year old son) with 3 NT study guides. With the help of a marketing course called "Insider Secrets of Marketing your Business on the Internet" (www.marketingtips.com/t.cgi/769129) I was able to start a business that offered a cheap study guide that really prepared people for the exams. Of course after a couple of months I was swamped with orders. Not only was I buried in orders, I started receiving very touching emails from people all over the world thanking me for the service that I provided and how our study guides had changed their standard of living. The rest is history.
Now I'm not going to pretend that I am some kind of great humanitarian who started this business just for the betterment of mankind. After all, writing and selling these study guides has been profitable and allowed me to quit my Network Admin job and do this full time. But, we have help thousands of people obtain their certifications that might not have otherwise been able to afford the process. We have also provided employment for the local community. If fact, we had 6 other full time employees who assisted me with taking and processing orders and writing study guides. These are all good and decent people who have had their standard of living raised as a result of working for me. That is until Microsoft put them all on the unemployment line!
I will be forwarding you updates as soon as another significant event occurs (like my arrest). The funny thing is, that since the asset seizure is a civil case, and the "theft of trade secrets" is a criminal case, I could actually lose all my assets and still be found not guilty in criminal court. Surely not in America?


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Dave Vick
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 10, 2001
Posts: 3244
I hate Micor$oft as much as the next guy but it looks like this company was selling actual test questions that they gathered from brain dumps.
They were sued last year by compTIA for doing the same thing.
I would think that Sun would do the same thing to a site was selling the actual questions from any of their exams too.
just my $.02


Dave
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 05, 2000
Posts: 13974
There is more to this than meets the eye:
http://certcities.com/editorial/news/story.asp?EditorialsID=316
Police Seize Assets of TestKiller.com

7/10/2002 -- On June 6 San Antonio police seized assets of TestKiller Ltd., the company that runs the practice exam Web site TestKiller.com.
According to a police report filed with the Bexar County, Texas District Court on June 20, the raid was prompted by Microsoft, who alleged that the site was selling Microsoft certification exam questions.
In his affidavit, seizing police officer Daniel Flaharty, a detective in the Special Crimes Unit of the San Antonio Police Department, wrote that he was contacted by a representative from the anti-piracy office of Microsoft. The unnamed representative alleged to Flaharty that TestKiller Ltd. was selling Microsoft "trade secrets" in the form of questions and answers to Microsoft exams.
According to the report, Flaharty began an investigation based on Microsoft's complaint, which led to the June 6 seizure of $408,566.84 in cash as well as several phones, printers, computer equipment, software and other items from at least one location.
No charges have been filed in this investigation. Calls made to the Bexar County district attorney's office to determine whether the investigation was ongoing were not returned as of press time.
Garry L. Neale, one of Testkiller Ltd.'s owners, politely declined CertCities.com's request for an interview, referring all questions to his attorney, who is out of the country this week.
A spokesperson for Microsoft confirmed that the company was aware of the investigation but said he could not comment on it due to the legal nature of the story.
The Testkiller.com Web site has been offline since early June.
Neale is the former owner of Troy Technologies (TroyTec.com), which in December settled a civil copyright and trademark infringement lawsuit brought by certification vendor CompTIA (see "CompTIA v. TroyTec Settled; Company Pulls CompTIA-Related Products from Site, Denies Wrongdoing").
CertCities.com will continue to follow this story and bring you further updates as they develop.


In other words, this guy makes money by selling real test questions which is a violation of copyrights. Sun would be suing him also if he was selling Java exams.
As far as his note goes, it is just self serving garbage. Does anyone really believe that this is true? Since TestKiller and several other companies have started selling really good study guides base on the actual exams, no one is buying their [Microsoft's] useless study guides or attending their [Microsoft's] useless training courses.


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Gregg Bolinger
GenRocket Founder
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Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 15299
    
    6

Interesting. Thanks for the extra research guys. Makes more sense now.
 
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