Microsoft Director of Business & Sales Operations - Eric Ligman

Eric Ligman, Microsoft Director of Business & Sales Operations Blog

If you see someone trying to sell "AE" software to businesses, RUN!

A Partner forwarded me an email earlier showing a website offering Microsoft Office “AE” Edition:


(Click image for larger size)

The “AE” stands for Academic Edition, and unlike what they state in the image (circled in red), there are special requirements on who can purchase it and who can use it.  If you look at our “Are you eligible for Microsoft academic discount pricing?” page, you will see these qualifications spelled out. 

One thing you need to know about academic software is that is CANNOT be used in a corporate environment.  So, if your client were to purchase this software, regardless of what gibberish the online retailer has on their site, and then install it in their business, they would be running an unlicensed copy of the Microsoft software since they cannot use academic software in a corporate environment.  This means that they could be liable for the up to $150,000 per incident fines associated with running unlicensed software.  In addition, it just takes one phone call from someone interested in the up to $1,000,000 reward from the BSA to potentially put their business in a very bad place.

So please DO NOT have your clients purchase any software labeled as “AE” or “Academic” if they are not a qualifying educational institution.  Plus, if your clients are asking if they should buy other items from these types of companies that are trying to pass academic software off as corporate editions of software, remind them of the type of organization they are dealing with (putting the client’s business in harms way by selling them licenses they can’t use just to make a few dollars) and ask, “Is this really the type of company you want to work with?  Do you really think their other items are legit?”  If they say, “Yes,” then maybe you’re interested in the up to $1,000,000 reward from the BSA.

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

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