Microsoft has filed 15 civil lawsuits, 13 in the US and two in the UK, against alleged spammers targeting the company's customers.
The US lawsuits allege that the defendants are responsible for flooding Microsoft's customers with more than two billion deceptive, unsolicited e-mail messages, according to senior vice-president Brad Smith.
"Spam is a growing problem and it's a global problem, and it requires a global solution," he said.
Smith said spam must be addressed through improved technology; more collaboration among companies, and better collaboration between Internet companies and government.
He added that Microsoft believes stronger legislation is needed to combat spam, as long as any new measures don't stifle the opportunity for new business.
Some defendants are alleged to have used misleading subject lines to disguise e-mail messages containing pornography and other adult services.
One case involves e-mail messages that include a false virus warning and in others Microsoft alleges defendants "spoofed" a sender's e-mail addresses, misleading recipients by making it appear that an e-mail message originated from Hotmail.com or other another familiar e-mail account.
According to Microsoft, some of the defendants are listed as known spammers on internet registries that track spam activities worldwide.
Linda Rosencrance writes for IDG News Service