Hands up if you saw this coming because we definitely didn't - Microsoft is suing Comet for allegedly making and selling counterfeit Windows Vista and XP recovery CDs.

Redmond alleges that Comet has created and sold over 94,000 of the discs and it is not happy about it.

"As detailed in the complaint filed today, Comet produced and sold thousands of counterfeit Windows CDs to unsuspecting customers in the United Kingdom," said David Finn, associate general counsel, worldwide anti-piracy and anti-counterfeiting at Microsoft.

"Comet's actions were unfair to customers. We expect better from retailers of Microsoft products - and our customers deserve better, too."

Money money money

If true, it's likely that money is the reason why Comet would do such a thing - 94,000 is no insignificant number, and Microsoft will be after licence fees for each copy sold.

Update: It looks like it wasn't money but 'the very best interests of its customers' that was Comet's motivation.

Microsoft stopped supplying recovery discs some years ago, instead opting for partition-based recovery which many users are not familiar with. Comet's position is that it was simply creating the discs to make life easier for their customers.

The company's official statement reads:

"We note that proceedings have been issued by Microsoft Corporation against Comet relating to the creation of recovery discs by Comet on behalf of its customers.

"Comet has sought and received legal advice from leading counsel to support its view that the production of recovery discs did not infringe Microsoft's intellectual property.

"Comet firmly believes that it acted in the very best interests of its customers. It believes its customers had been adversely affected by the decision to stop supplying recovery discs with each new Microsoft Operating System based computer. Accordingly Comet is satisfied that it has a good defence to the claim and will defend its position vigorously."

Whether a fact-loving judge in a court of law will see things Comet's way remains to be seen - we'll be watching this case with interest.

From Microsoft via The Verge