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Cheap Software

By sidvail ·
Is discount OEM software legal? You know, the stuff from Russia and eastern europe?

We are getting ready to build about 30 new machines for our company and will need operating systems. My boss, wanting to save money, asked about buying the software from one of those places you get email spam from. Todays email was a company that claims legal OEM versions at a 1/10th of the price of retail.

Personally, I have bought a copy of Quicken through a discount house out of Czechoslovakia - and it worked out fine. It was a real disk with real CD Key. I registered it and have had no problems. I'm still unsure though of it's legallity.

And the place my boss is looking at doesn't even look that good. You have to download it and are provided a CD key through email.

I just feel like this is wrong for some reason. But not quite sure.

Any ideas or advice?

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Unless it's not legal software

by awfernald In reply to IT must be oriented to bu ...

and you get hit with a large fine (if I remember right, up to $100,000 per incident which would be per software per computer, so... 2 softwares on 100 computers would be 200 incidents).

Then how does that affect the bottom line?

You must practice due diligence to avoid legal liability, and when you get to the point where the offer seems too good to be true, then, you have to start asking yourself if it really is true.

However.... as companies oftentimes have different pricing structures in different countries, then there may be a different price in Russia then in the US, however, the licenses purchased in Russia may not be legal (due to EULA) to use outside of Russia.

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Open Source instead

Have you considered Open Source software instead? You avoid the legal issue and get the cost savings.

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Very easy answer to this...YES and

by TomSal In reply to Cheap Software

I'll simplify this as much as possible.

First off, I know the sites you are referring too I get *at least* an offer for their business 3 times a week, and sometimes twice that often.

Those guys are shady...and I can all but guarantee you they acquired that software for resale through non-legitimate means. Think of it in logical simple terms if you need to rationalize -- how else could a vendor support their business selling software with an MSRP of $500 for $50 - $85? For them to even cover the costs of overhead to turn a profit they'd have to charge more than that alone IF THEY PLAYED BY THE RULES THEMSELVES when buying the software for resale.

I know the standard line they feed for their prices....

A) Well we do all our business exclusively online and because we keep our costs low we can afford to pass savings onto our customers?

YEAH RIGHT...I'll buy that if the savings is say 25-30%, but 75-90% savings? (Why is that old line " if it seems to good to be true it usually is" playing in my head now?)

B) Volume. The good ol'...oh we get very low prices due to our enormous purchasing power...line.

Yeah and your business is so boomingly big, your purchasing power so great that your spam emails have more grammar errors than a 100 word essay written by a 4th grader and the professional look (and effort) of the newsletter you send out or the website I go to looks like something my technology-phobic sister whipped up in 5 minutes. Nice try.

OEM software is not allowed to be sold as retail software is, without accompanying a hardware purchase of some kind (that's the loop hole).

I got XP Pro OEM through, but it was legal since when I bought the OS I also bought a hard drive and a CD-RW drive with it; meeting the hardware requirement.

Another thing to note is OEM software is tied to the machine its installed on originally.

I'm not going to kid you, I bet you 90% (if not 100%) of everyone violates the **** out of that rule with regards to software use at home; but in a business -- don't violate that OEM rule.

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Well put

by sidvail In reply to Very easy answer to this. ...

Thanks T.

Makes sense to me. :)

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Quite Correct

by GovTech In reply to Very easy answer to this. ...

TomSal has hit the nail on the head! OEM software error is the responsibility of the vendor, NOT M$. This is a case of - let the buyer beware. For personal use, I would still stick to known U.S. vendors or distributers.

For business purposes, stick with the OEM rule and buy the software and hardware as a bundle. The military buys from a variety of vendors (including Newegg) and we have received great service in software replacement or equipment replacement when errors occur (usually a freebee, shipping included.)

As stated earlier, it is a cost of doing business and can be amortized or written off.

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Potential Savings

by JamesRL In reply to Very easy answer to this. ...

I worked for a time for a Canadian Government agency, and bought about 4000 copies of MS Office 2000. The contract between MS and the Government had a guarentee that the price paid would be the lowest offered in Canada at the retail level(including OEMs). The price was still higher than those SPAM artists - so I have a hard time thinking they do more volume that the Canadian Federal Government and their million odd employees.


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by brentkwilcox In reply to Very easy answer to this. ...

The fines are way out of sight. It is just not worth it to skimp on properly licensing software. Last I checked the fines were $500K for each software publisher product you are abusing, AND the suggested retail price of each node you are using. And THAT does not make you legal, it is just the fines.

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Get it from the horse's mouth

by brichardson In reply to Cheap Software

Microsoft and other companies that are subscribers to the BSA (Business Software Alliance) are the best resources as to the validity of licenses on their products. One could email "" and get a pretty quick reply to any questions they may have about this.

It's just one of those's not a problem until you get caught. Then, it's a HUGE problem...

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From the horse's...

by AcesKaraoke In reply to Get it from the horse's m ...

For business, always play it on the up and up, the liability factor will always outweigh the savings.

Always make sure of what you are getting (including guarantees, updates, support, etc.) AND who you are dealing with (what's their reputation, history, and how do they rate with prior customers).

Like they said get it from the horses other equine orifice will do.

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Responding to Spam Offers of Software

by pdouglas4294 In reply to Cheap Software

I do not like the idea of purchasing software (either for home or business use)from Spam solicitations.
To me, it seems along the line of the scam (Note: rhymes with "Spam") of a tradesman knocking at your door with the offer of "We just finished a job down the street and we have some left over material. We can take care of your roof/painting/wallet real cheaply."
I want to do business with someone I can initiate the contact. I want to know where they are (not just 1-800-scam-you or so I can contact them.

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