Deloitte & Touche has joined the fight against gray market IT solutions and services. Specifically, Deloitte & Touche has joined the AGMA (Alliance for Gray Market and Counterfeit Abatement). The effort strives to battle gray market products and services. Here's a look at the challenge.

Generally speaking, gray market is a slang term used to describe distributors who sell equipment or product without having obtained authorization from the manufacturer to do so. The term is used to describe unauthorized DVD, CD, software or computer hardware sales, notes Webopedia.

Information technology manufacturers lose up to US$10 billion in profits annually to the gray market, with as much as $58 billion of technology products passing through the gray market each year, according to a 2008 study from KPMG LLP and the AGMA.

We realize associations often publish big, scary numbers to attract members to their cause. But there's no doubting the gray market problem. Cisco Systems does a good job describing the issue and various media coverage in this blog post.

The gray market involves more than hardware and software. Deloitte & Touche's concern involves counterfeit warranty and service abuse. PricewaterhouseCoopers and Sideman & Bancroft also are active in the AGMA.

The AGMA collective is designed to make it more difficult for gray markets to offer false services, and also make it unprofitable at the same time.

Recent additions to AGMA include AMD, and active participants include Microsoft, Cisco Systems and Hewlett-Packard.

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