What’s the deal with Software?


Short Answer:

Installed Software is for Testing Purposes Only


Long Answer:

Equipment resold by BIZmarts generally consists of machines de-installed from major corporations in the Southeast and North Central US. As such they generally have a wide assortment of application software installed on the machine’s fixed disk drives. Furthermore, almost all PC's we receive with installed software use some version of Microsoft Windows, with a tiny portion using Linux. There are no other choices.

Some companies instruct us to remove the software from their machines prior to reselling them; however, the over-whelming majority have no interest in the hardware and software after it is removed from their facilities. Buyers on eBay frequently ask us what software is installed on the machine, yet if we actually state exactly what is on the machine's hard drive the listing will be removed by eBay as a violation of the VERO program.

This is in spite of the fact the original buyer of the equipment paid for the software installed on the machine when they bought it from the manufacturer, and has the Certificate of Authenticity to prove it - with the COA attached to the computer. Yet Microsoft has been allowed to assert that when that equipment is sold to a third party, the installed software is no longer "authentic". They suggest the third party buy a retail package of the software which currently sells for $275 instead of being able to "re-register" with Microsoft for a reasonable fee.

Thus, it is somewhat easy to see why OEM computer manufacturers liked the discrepancy between what they paid Microsoft for OEM licensing, and what an end user would have to pay for the exact same software. And this is a huge part of how Microsoft became the monopoly it is today. It is also a large reason for the churn in MIS software and hardware.   

In our twelve years of reselling computer equipment, we have never been specifically threatened with legal force to comply with EULA software licensing arrangements except by Microsoft Corporation.

In short: Microsoft has become the problem, not the solution.

 Individuals who buy equipment from BIZmarts want to test and evaluate their purchases for basic functionality. With the wide assortment of hardware devices available, and since a significant portion of that hardware has no drivers available on any other operating system platform, we, and thousands of similar enterprises,  must have some type of Microsoft software installed on the machines for testing purposes. Microsoft has spent the better part of twenty years making that happen. The problem is what qualifies as acceptable use of the operating system software.

We know the vast majority of the computer users in America are using legally purchased or assigned copies of Windows on their PC’s. In fact, over 90% of the computers sold in this country in the past five years were originally sold with an OEM version of Windows installed, and for which a Certificate of Authenticity was attached. This means that the software cost was paid by the manufacturer and "sold" to the computer buyer.

In addition,  just as we generally throw away manuals, warranty cards, and ID stickers on other products we buy, we generally don’t retain ‘proof’ that we did purchase software, when, where, or what version. In addition, the functional lifespan of computer software has shrunk from several years to an semi-annual reinstallation. 

As presented by Microsoft, there are dozens of licensing options and cost schedules available for operating system software, yet not one readily available version of a basic operating system which would make it possible to setup a minimally configured system with Windows focused drivers capable of being 'upgraded' to a full version at a later date. A Windows Lite.

In addition, MS charges over $275 for a single OS installation software disk set of Windows XP Pro sold at retail, which they further claim can only be installed on one or at most two machines! This is idiocy!

There are so many limitations, exclusions, exemptions, and prohibitions in the standard software disclaimers and licensing agreements that no one except the lawyers read it, until the police show up at their door. Then you’ll read that software is/is not a product, it is/is not assignable/transferable, is/is not ownable, is/is not user modifiable, and failing to be able to prove legal rights to software can be sufficient grounds for the authorities to confiscate machines using that software, your datafiles, records, papers, phone records, et al related to that software.

We are convinced a legal remedy to this situation is required. We believe Microsoft has a monopoly on PC operating software, has, and is continuing to exert inappropriate force on the information technology industry, and has harmed consumers by their practices.

To comply with the preferences of Microsoft with regard to computer resellers, we should delete all software from the hard drives prior to sale. As the buyer of these machines, you would be immediately affected. If you think we should do so for your purchases, please let us know and we will. If you think not, then why not inform your local government representatives of your considered opinions?

In the meantime, we have made a decision to leave whatever software was on the machine when we purchased it in place, and leave it up to the buyer to remove all software on the machines they receive from us after the testing cycle, if they are not licensed user of that software. The default settings on any machine we have reconfigured is: Username: administrator, and Password: admin 

Last Update: Spring 2009

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