Microsoft Director of Sales Excellence - Eric Ligman

Eric Ligman, Microsoft Director of Sales Excellence Blog

OEM Microsoft software clarifications, plus, “If it’s labeled OEM, you should stay away from that,” Neil MacBride of the BSA (Business Software Alliance) about buying software online.

Based on some questions I’ve seen recently about buying OEM software and qualifications of doing so, I wanted to provide the following information to help address these.

Have you seen the latest VIDEO from the BSA regarding software piracy, the risks for customers, and the penalties for pirates?  In it, some of the key items they state to watch out for: low price and software labeled as OEM.  When buying OEM software as a system builder, Microsoft provides a list of Authorized Distributors for you to use to ensure you receive legitimate Microsoft software.  If you are not a System Builder, the only legitimate way to purchase OEM Microsoft software is with a fully-assembled computer system.

The Microsoft OEM Team has posted a web page that lays out the OEM licensing policies that were changed back in 2005 and highlighted on our Blog in the following 2 posts:

1)     OEM Microsoft Office Licensing Changes You Need To Know About!

2)     OEM Microsoft Windows (including XP Pro and XP Home) Licensing Changes You Need To Know About!

Here are some of the items you will find on the OEM web page listed above:

OEM system builder software packs are intended for PC and server manufacturers or assemblers ONLY. They are not intended for distribution to end users. Unless the end user is actually assembling his/her own PC, in which case, that end user is considered a system builder as well.

OEM Windows Software: If the pack is opened, the enclosed individual software license(s):

·         must be distributed with a fully assembled computer system and

·         must be preinstalled.

The individual software license(s) inside the pack can no longer be distributed with a non-peripheral computer hardware component.

With the new 1-pack, the unopened package can be distributed to another system builder by itself, without any hardware requirement.

OEM Office Software: If the pack is opened, the enclosed individual software license(s):

·         must be distributed with a fully assembled computer system and

·         must now be preinstalled.

Plus, if you read the current OEM System Builder Agreement, you will see it states:

4. SOFTWARE DISTRIBUTION.

4.1 We grant you a nonexclusive right to distribute an individual software license only with a fully assembled computer system. A “fully assembled computer system” means a computer system consisting of at least a central processing unit, a motherboard, a hard drive, a power supply, and a case.

And

6. PREINSTALLATION REQUIREMENT. When you distribute an individual software license for a desktop operating system or application software, you must preinstall it on the fully assembled computer system’s hard drive using the OEM Preinstallation Kit (“OPK”) provided in this package or otherwise made available by us.

So remember, purchase OEM software from an authorized Distributor to ensure you are receiving legitimate software, it can only be sold with a fully assembled computer system (NOT with a memory stick, hard drive, or other hardware component), and must be preinstalled on a fully assembled computer system.  The only time OEM software can be sold without being preinstalled on a fully assembled computer system is when it is being sold unopened, to another system builder.

Know someone running illegal Microsoft software?  The BSA is currently offering a reward of up to $200,000 for qualifying reports of illegal software.  Not familiar with the BSA, you can check out:

1)     BSA home page

2)     BSA audits online video

Thank you and have a wonderful day,

Eric Ligman
Microsoft US Senior Manager
Small Business Community Engagement
This posting is provided “AS IS” with no warranties, and confers no rights