Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Microsoft Your Rights Online

Microsoft Shuts Auction Doors On Old Windows 403

mrv writes "Microsoft is keeping a more-vigilant eye on online auctions of old copies of Windows software, with people trying to offload it due to the upcoming release of XP. Also within the story is info and tips for donating a computer (and software licenses) to charity. (Charities must have site licenses for Windows 98 or newer!)" A lot of users seem to think that they can sell off their no-longer-used software to subsidize upgrades, but that's just not what the EULAs say (at least with pre-installed MS software). Time to go re-read what sellers of used software have had to say last year, and the MS method of shutting own eBay auctions.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Microsoft Shuts Auction Doors On Old Windows

Comments Filter:
  • by Svartalf ( 2997 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @11:40AM (#2431094) Homepage
    ...to NOT buy Windows. Really, it's very simple. People claiming that there's no applications on the alternatives aren't thinking clearly- there's applications on MacOS, Linux, and *BSD. Furthermore, all those applications would come your way real quick if you got off of the Windows platform. It's an addiction, like any other- you've got to quit it because it's becoming very obvious that the pusher's come a collecting all on all of you.
  • I delt with this. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by steveo777 ( 183629 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @11:43AM (#2431111) Homepage Journal
    I was told to "aquire" 10 new lisences for NT at my place of work. So, I loaded up my favorite place to find prices online [pricewatch.com]. I found some really cheap lisences for about 26 bucks. They said w/o CD, so I assumed that was the reason for the price being so good.
    When they arrived, all I got was the books that have the authenticity cert on them. Each one had the "For distribution with a new PC only. NOT FOR RESALE" stickers partially remmoved. There went 260 down the drain.
  • by Green Aardvark House ( 523269 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @11:46AM (#2431130)
    From the Yahoo article:

    Why does Microsoft care about 5-year-old software anyway? I think they want to prevent people from selling used software so others have to buy the latest and greatest from Microsoft."

    Why Microsoft is so worried about old software puzzles me. If users want the latest (and greatest?) Windows OS, they'll still have to buy it anyway. Newer software will not run on the old OS's eventually, rendering it useless.

    They're really overdoing it with re-selling old ssoftware. Even the RIAA does not seem to mind secondhand CD's in the marketplace.
  • by 4of12 ( 97621 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @11:48AM (#2431140) Homepage Journal

    So, since these licenses cause the software to become value-less, is this sort of depreciation of software in line with accepted accounting practices?

    If I'm a small business owner, can I depreciate the MS software that I purchase and thereby offset income and capital gains on my tax return?

    I just wondered, because, IIRC, there are strict rules on how this can be done for real property, etc.

  • by hAkron ( 448427 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @11:49AM (#2431146)
    well, why would I spend $500 on a copy of Office XP when I could buy a copy of Office 95 for $20 and then an upgrade copy of XP for $200
  • by Onan The Librarian ( 126666 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @11:51AM (#2431160)
    I still can't get past the fact that it's legal for the local CD store to buy & sell used CDs. The owner (I used to work for the place) makes an incredible amount of money by purchasing used CDs at $4 (tops) and selling them for $8. He keeps *all* the profit, not one penny goes back to the artists, the record labels, or the RIAA. So here's how it goes: it's illegal for me to *share* my CDs but it's legal for him to *sell* them ? Dylan described it best: "Money doesn't talk, it swears".
  • EULA's (Score:3, Interesting)

    by secondsun ( 195377 ) <secondsun@gmail.com> on Monday October 15, 2001 @11:51AM (#2431162) Journal
    For us 14-17 year old hackers out there, how binding are EULA's (since a minor cannot enter into a legally binding conract with out his or her guardian)?


  • by HaeMaker ( 221642 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @11:52AM (#2431173) Homepage

    While this has not be challenged in court, and it would be a tough battle. According to the letter of the law, Microsoft can not challenge copyright infringement on any of their products included in the antitrust case, since it used its copyright for antitrust purposes.

    This would not cover XP.
  • If, as the story suggests, MS really is going after those selling even single lisences, (I can understand them freaking if I sold 20,000 NT lisc. packs all at once, for example), they're doing themselves no service. A few reasons for my statement.

    #1 - a lot of the software in question can NOT be purchased new any more, so its not like MS is missing out on a Win95 sale - there's plenty of legitimate uses for old Win9x OS, esp if you have a machine that has limited RAM or CPU (ie my toshiba libretto, a P75 with 16MB). IE no loss. So why spend the $

    #2 - people buying used OS's are not buying them to get the disks. Come on, everybody and their brother has a CDR and will burn you off a copy of the Windows cabinet files. I'd like to see a geek version of Survivor, where we get dropped into a foreign country and have to come up with a CDR filled with Microsoft Juarez as quickly as possible. It would be a half-hour show, unedited. Point: people are buying these things on EBay because they want to be quasi-legitimate, ie "I should buy a copy of the software that I use!". Remove that as a possibility, and how many people are really going to spend $150 on an OS for a $150 computer? Arrr, Billy, time t'uh fire up me CDR!

    #3 - Given that many computer buyers pay extra for their copy of Windows (ie, it was an option for $100 or so - most system builders do this in the US, yes?). If I pay extra for a feature, can I not sell it off seperately? I (as joe computer buyer) didn't sign or agree anything beyond that flimsy click-through contract at startup, and who's to say it was even me that set up the computer instead of my 7 year old daughter?

    I can't see this being a smart idea. All it does is make M$ look bad, and encourage those who want to go legit but don't want to buy, or cant use, the latest OS, to pirate.

    Smart move, Billy....
  • by Kruemelmo ( 21012 ) <moritz@nOSPam.daneben.de> on Monday October 15, 2001 @11:56AM (#2431200) Homepage
    Indeed, the rules of ebay Germany [pages.ebay.de] do not say a word about OEM or pre-installed software, whereas the matching ebay.com page [ebay.com] states explicitly that you "generally cannot sell the software to someone else unless you are also selling them the machine it came on."

    Can you or somebody give a reference to more info about the legal situation in Germany? Is it completely legal to sell OEM licenses separately? Does Microsoft agree on that, or do they still hunt people who do so?

  • by garcia ( 6573 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @11:58AM (#2431209)
    if it came bundled w/your computer I don't see how it isn't yours according to a "REAL" definition. Just b/c if came w/your computer does not mean that you didn't somehow end up paying for it.

    They do that to be sneaky. Blah. If you paid for a computer w/an MS product installed you paid for Windows someway, somehow.
  • by sqlrob ( 173498 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @12:00PM (#2431221)
    Property rights of the seller?

    What about property rights of the buyer, aka right of first sale?

  • Re:By definition... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by RWarrior(fobw) ( 448405 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @12:01PM (#2431228)
    > That has _always_ been required (with the specific
    > exception of WordPerfect) for all PC software as
    > long as I can remember.

    Borland's licence used the "like a book" model. You could install the software on as many computers as you wanted, but you could only use one copy at a time, just like a (paper) book can only be read by one person at a time.

    It was an interesting system. I run a 100% Microsoft-free system here, so I have no recent Borland products to look at to see if they've changed it in recent years.
  • by JenovaSynthesis ( 528503 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @12:03PM (#2431243)
    Why is this even an issue for people? It's not as if this is the only company that does this. Alias|Wavefront is another company that does this. So good luck to anyone who has an EBay copy that A|W will not support. You can have the original discs, dongle, etc and Alias will say you are not lisenced and will not grant you a decryption key.
  • by sirgoran ( 221190 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @12:04PM (#2431249) Homepage Journal
    If they prevent people from making a profit, or trying to re-coup expenses when getting rid of old equipment (hardware and software) then how could anyone not think that they are a monopoly. I think that the courts really need to define just how far the EULA extends, and not Microsoft.

    If I buy a computer that comes pre-installed with Software, use it for a year or two, I should be able to sell it lock, stock and barrel.

    It's how I buy a car, furniture, music, or anything else I have. I sell off or trade in my old crap to finance the new stuff. Maybe if Microsoft would offer trade-ins on the old stuff they wouldn't have to whine so much on the sales of older software. I for one would be willing to trade in my old copies of Win 3.1, 3.11, and 95 disks for some newer stuff.

  • Fuck EULA (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 15, 2001 @12:05PM (#2431258)
    EULA does not override the local law. For example in Finland can legally resell your Windows, because Microsoft EULA is in conflict with the local laws.
  • by mpytlik ( 304502 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @12:06PM (#2431259)

    I'd love to know what my rights are here.

    I recently spent about $1000 on PARTS for a complete system which I put together myself. I went back to the same store a week later, looking to buy an original copy of Windows 2000, and the guy sold me an OEM (no receipt, cash only) on the basis that I'd basically bought a system there the week before. I think he sold it to me for $280CDN. Fine.

    I've since stopped using Windows 2000 (long story) on my PC, and since I wasn't using the OEM at all, I figured I'd get rid of it on eBay. I was completely unfront about my item in the auction - mentioned that it was an OPEN OEM copy, and that it had the original manuals, certificate of authentication, etc. and that I was no longer using it on my PC. Lo and behold, eBay pulled the auction about 12 hours later.

    I guess my question involves rights. Did Microsoft + eBay have a right to pull my auction? And, if so, why?

  • by kiwimate ( 458274 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @12:30PM (#2431424) Journal
    Unless you're knowledgeable enough to build a PC on your own from parts, generally any pre-built PC you buy from any name-brand PC company is required to have Windows bundled in with it. You can't buy a PC from Compaq, Dell, or Gateway without Windows included in the price.

    Yes, and this really irritates the CRUD out of me! Like most /. readers, I actually happen to be knowledgeable enough to build a PC on my own, having worked as a network engineer for the last *cough-wheeze* years. Unlike most /. readers, I usually don't want to; for me, it's simply not worth the time involved to get the parts and put it all together. I'd rather spend that time actually using the dratted thing. So I want to buy a pre-built PC and put Linux on it. What are my options? Yep, that's right -- bugger all!

    To me, this is one of the most objectionable parts of this sordid little tale. All the guff about "pre-loaded software" sounds very nice, but where on earth do I go to get a pre-built PC without pre-loaded software?!? If I want a nice, plain, simple little PC which I can use for testing various distros, for example, I don't know of any place I can go to buy one without a pre-loaded OS from Microsoft. How does this not qualify as extortion?

    I think it's high time that PC manufacturers gave you the capability to order an OS as an option. I can go to Dell's web site and check off whether or not I want a monitor; why not an OS? Imagine how silly it would be if I had to buy a monitor, when I can instead just buy one monitor and use a KVM switch. Why can't I buy a PC from Dell (or HP, or IBM), choose the "no pre-loaded OS" option, and then go down to the local bookstore and pick my favorite Linux packaging off the bookshelf?

    And just how did this ridiculous practice become not only commonplace, not only de rigeur -- but accepted unquestioningly?
  • by The_Rook ( 136658 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @12:35PM (#2431466)
    oem windows licenses are gradually turning into the computer equivalent of all those packets of duck sauce, soy sause and mustard that come packed with chinese take out. you buy them (indirectly) and they pile up on a counter or in a drawer somewhere because you never use them.

    microsoft wants eveyone to somehow buy a windows license whether they need one or not. they try to block the sale of peecees without a license, they try to block the sale of dual boot machines, and they try to prevent the recycling of old licenses.

    in this case, the most hard hit victims are businesses who end up buying two windows licenses for every computer, the site license and the license that unavoidably comes with each computer.
  • by DickBreath ( 207180 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @12:38PM (#2431489) Homepage
    At the time I write this, there are two other posts under the parent (siblings to this) that suggest that you are a bad guy for contradictory reasons.

    1. You [parent poster] are a bad citizen because you (rightly) suggest that people might get away with pirating MS products if you stay under a certian dollar threshold. It seems to me that you're merely passing on information, not telling anyone to start pirating.

    But then...

    2. You try to "sabatoge" competitors who take unfair advantage by blatently pirating software. Implication, you should do the "right thing". Stop turning them in, and start pirating software yourself. This would be the honorable thing to do.

    A very intresting contradiction. Damned if you do, and damned if you don't. That's slashdot.

    Either you pirate software like your competitors do so you are not at a competitive disadvantage, or you "sabatoge" them..

    But if you choose not to pirate, and to "sabatoge" your competitors who do, then you are a bad citizen because you rightly point out MS's lack of interest in cases under $50,000.

    The tone of the parent post seemed to suggest the latter. (One of be honest, turn in competitors using unfair methods.) He didn't say to start pirating. He just said "I get the feeling...".

    This is slashdot. We are anti-capitalist. In the future please observe the following. Be quite about your competitors illegal actions. Don't engage in piracy yourself. Suffer being at a competitive disadvantage. Keep your mouth shut about MS's inaction. There. That should keep slashdotters satisfied.
  • by No-op ( 19111 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @12:38PM (#2431491)
    I'm just pointing out that Microsoft's heavy handedness really only extends to other businesses. I routinely set up machines for non-profits, churches, and the like by using older operating systems, with the original licenses. I feel that there is nothing wrong by charitably donating them, and it's good to know that you can do so without actually risking any danger with MS and the BSA.

    And keep in mind while the BSA sends out it's threat letters all the time, it rarely ever follows up on any of them. it's a scare tactic. No good press would be won by Microsoft trying to prosecute a church group in court for using windows 95 on their donated pentium 133's, or the non-profit trying to improve inner-city literacy rates on those same sorts of systems.

    If you are a reseller who pawns pirated software off on your customers so you can undercut the market, then by all means you should be busted. You may have higher ideals than I do when it comes to this, but I also have to put food on the table for my kids.

    but that's a digression from the point of the article :)
  • Re:By definition... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Just Jeff ( 5760 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @12:41PM (#2431514) Homepage
    On the other hand, M$ has no qualms about forcing customers to purchase a second copy of Windows when they want to install a peripheral that their OEM copy didn't include.
  • Charities and Win98? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by M-G ( 44998 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @01:02PM (#2431591)
    So the article mentions that charities need to have a site license and need to be running at least Win98. Uh, sez who?

    If, as a charity, I'm using 10 PCs, all of which were (properly) donated with properly licensed copies of Windows 3.1, or Windows 95, I'm perfectly legal...
  • by dbretton ( 242493 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @01:05PM (#2431618) Homepage
    Here's a thought that should stir the pot.

    Let's assume that a person is selling, on Ebay, Windows 95, which was pre-installed on a PC or whatever the case may be.

    Why not simply state, at the beginning of the ad, that the seller acquired the PC, but does not agree to the EULA.

    Why might this work? Well, if Microsoft is as lax about EULA refunds as many claim, then I am fairly certain that Microsoft is showing failure to agree on the contract.
    This will, at the least, put Microsoft in a somewhat unfavorable position legally, as it could be shown they were neglegent to a degree.

    All the seller wishes to do is to sell his "property" for a fair market value, given that the distributor has not fulfilled on the agreement.

    I believe that most lawyers at MS would just as soon agree that it would be financially easier to simply turn a blind eye toward that sale, and focus on other, easier cases.

    What do you all think??


  • by maxpublic ( 450413 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @01:17PM (#2431691) Homepage
    So far as I know this 'policy' - which isn't law and never has been - hasn't been tested in a U.S. court. Just because MS saws it's legal and fair doesn't make it so; even the fanboys can't argue this point (or they could, I suppose, but they'd look like idiots trying to pass themselves off as judges).

    It's part of the MS philosophy that however they proclaim the world works, must actually be the way the world works - and they'll crush anyone who says different. This whole idea of 'bundled software' is, remember, something that MS just made up to cut prices on mass orders to distributors while still being able to prosecute 'piracy' in the future. Imagine if a publisher sold OEM 'bundled' books which a customer couldn't resell after they read them.

    If it were a book, or pretty much anything else, you'd say "what a crock". But since it's software and most of you've been bludgeoned about the head with propaganda stating "this is the way things are because we say that's the way things are", a good many people have actually come to believe that software is, in some strange fashion, actually different from other commodities.

    It isn't. Certain corporations and industries would like us to believe that, since it results in an ecology of artificial scarcity which drives up prices. But this ecology is, indeed, *artificial* and completely imaginary; it has nothing to do with real-world scarcity of any kind. If software were licensed like a book (use it, resell it as you would) then some small amount of profit would be lost; but more importantly, *people wouldn't automatically give credence to bizarre and nonsensical EULA's*. They might actually start asking a few pointed questions concerning pricing and idiotic use restrictions.

    Companies bent on turning a profit on artificial scarcity can't have the sheep questioning the system, now can they? Give those damned consumers and inch and they'll take a mile!

  • by dprice ( 74762 ) <daprice.pobox@com> on Monday October 15, 2001 @01:25PM (#2431740) Homepage
    Ever since the mid 1980's, I have claimed that Microsoft's operating systems have basically been toys. I still haven't changed that opinion. They are good at providing a way for games to boot and access the hardware. For applications beyond games, the productivity and stability of Microsoft's products are measurably poor relative to more serious OS's. Even for business applications, Microsoft products feel like toys. Just watch some of the "suits" playing with Powerpoint sometime. I work in a mixed MS and *NIX environment, and all the serious software and hardware development is done on some flavor of *NIX.

    With the Xbox, I see a shift back to a real toy paradigm for Microsoft. It will be interesting to see how much Xbox canibalizes the market which buys PC's mainly for a few application types, like gaming. The majority of users out there don't see computers as development tool. They see computers as an appliance that allows them to do email, web browsing, word processing, and games. I don't think that the majority of end users really care what OS is running. The choice of OS is mostly based on what the majority of people are using so that everyone can speak a common user language ("click on this, now click on that, now click on this"). A full fledged MS OS is more than most people need for daily computer fiddling. Most users would rather not be clicking through hardware profile and registry settings.

    If a major shift occurs toward an Xbox model for end-users, there won't be much demand for used copies of old MS OS's, except for maybe "classic gaming". Are people selling old copies of MSDOS 5.0 anymore? Most people upgrade now because each new MS OS is perceived to be less crappy than the previous one. Since Xbox is a more controlled environment, and potentially more stable, will there be much motivation to upgrade?

    One possible vision is that one would have an Xbox for playing games, checking on email, looking at multimedia web sites, etc. (appliance stuff); and if one wants to do more serious development, one would have a PC with possibly a MS OS or Linux or something else. There will definitely be a niche of "just click on it" multimedia developers that continue to use their MS OS and MacOS based computers. The more serious infrastructure developers will continue to migrate to more productive OS's.

    If the Xbox does start to canibalize Microsoft's revenue stream from selling OS's for PC's, I wonder what they might cripple in the Xbox to keep people continuously buying and upgrading PC's.

  • by TGK ( 262438 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @01:26PM (#2431752) Homepage Journal
    -=But=- if the software comes with the computer, and you don't agree to the licence you've had no say in its purchace. Try buying a mainstream computer that doesn't come with bundled software.

    Somehow, an agreement I never signed on to is preventing me from selling the software? Where did I concent to this contract? That's the gap in the logic. Send forth the lawyers.
  • by supabeast! ( 84658 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @01:28PM (#2431765)
    Microsoft's attacks on ebay extend beyond simple software, to just about anything they produce. Twice this year I have tried to sell a Microsoft Sidewinder joystick, specifically stating that it was just the hardware with NO software. Both times Microsoft had ebay shut the auction down because the M$ search bot told ebay that I was selling software innaproprietly. I replied to Microsoft's email stating that I was only selling hardware, and threatened to sue for libel. My email was ignored, and the auction unable to proceed.

    My only real recourse to this action would have been to actually sue Microsoft. Unfortunately I do not have the time to sue Microsoft over a small matter, especially given that they could likely blame the software and get away on technicalites.

    This incident was what really pushed me away from Microsoft. I have had mixed opinions about the company for a very long time, and over the years moved away from Windows anyway, but when they pushed me around with legal muscle, I decided to just walk away for good. Of course, it worked out well in the end, as I now get to enjoy Apple's OS X.
  • Re:By definition... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ncc74656 ( 45571 ) <scott@alfter.us> on Monday October 15, 2001 @01:30PM (#2431790) Homepage Journal
    Does anyone else remember the good old days when OS upgrades were free? When newer version of the OS for the Apple ][ line were released
    The difference here is that Apple had already made its money when you bought your computer. An Apple II or a Mac can be thought of as a complete system comprising hardware and software, so it would follow that updates to ProDOS 8, GS/OS, or MacOS ought to be free. (For MacOS, that changed somewhere around the time the Mac clones first surfaced (or maybe a bit earlier), when a more Microsoft-like situation was possible.)

    With Windows, you're dealing with software from a source other than the manufacturer of your machine. This isn't all that different from the earlier years...when I built my first x86 box about ten years ago, I bought DR DOS 6.0 separately (more goodies than MS-DOS 5.0).

    (FWIW, the final versions of ProDOS 8 and GS/OS are still free downloads from Apple's FTP site. The only snag is that they're archived in a Mac-only format. Grr.)

  • by tlk nnr ( 449342 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @02:04PM (#2431964) Homepage
    "The federal court stated, that there is "no way to deduce from Copyright a right to control distribution channels.""

    But copyright IS a right to control distribution channels!

    Only for the first sale.
    After the copyright owner sold one copy, the new owner of that copy can resell it, unless the is bound by other contracts. And the EULA is not a contract, since it was not signed. (I'm not a lawyer, check the ruling for the exact wordening and details. And remember that this was a German court.)
    In the US, some courts accepted EULAs as contracts, but IIRC the refund clause was a central point the the courts arguments why it was a valid contract.

  • by Sique ( 173459 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @02:17PM (#2432025) Homepage
    But copyright IS a right to control distribution channels!

    Not quite right. Copyright is what it states: The right to copy a work of art. This is restricted to a certain juristical entity, which can license it to other people. But it is not about distribution of those copies. That means: If someone buys a truckload of MS-CDs to plaster his walls, then this may be against an EULA, but it is not a violation of the copyright, even it is kind of a distribution.

    In Germany there is the Urheberrecht (Author's right), which does basicly the same. The Urheber (better translation is "The final cause" ;) ) has all rights to his work and can license them to other people. But he can never sell or donate the Urheberrecht itself to anyone else. There is no such thing as "work for hire" in the German law. There are other rights (Verwertungsrechte, translated to "Rights to Use"), which can be bought by other persons or entities.

    The Federal Court ruled, that the ownership of even the Urheberrecht doesn't entitle Microsoft to control, how other people handle the licenses, they bought from other sources than Microsoft, as long as they don't violate the Urheberrecht.

  • by DocJTM ( 452653 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @03:30PM (#2432592)
    I'm wonder if M$'s apparent apathy regarding what seems to be blatant online software pirating is really due to a monetary value threshold not being reached or perhaps due to "special" deals they have with some vendors.

    Here's my experience:

    I needed to buy two copies of MS Visual Studio 6 Enterprise. I did an internet search for Visual Studio (using the M$ search button on the toolbar in IE 5) and the top listed result was www.office2000pro.com. So I go there and am amazed to find it on sale for $899 with free shipping, woohoo! One of my employees (who does a lot of purchasing for us) then makes a bet with me that he can beat the price by calling a person he frequently deals with a Micro-Warehouse. I take the bet. They can't beat the price and she wants to talk to me. She says that the software is likely pirated and I shouldn't buy it and I should report the site to M$. I tell her it was the top search result and to report them herself and she gives me some line about how I should do it so I can get rewarded by M$ (pfft, yeah right). My bullshit/FUD-o-meter is dinging away at this point, so I decide to check for myself. So I tell her I'll call her back if I find out it's a pirate site.

    I call up the M$ pirate line and give them the URL www.office2000pro.com and tell them the almost half-price rate for VS6 Ent. The guy tells me he's taking down the info, checks the site himself, and tells me 80-90% of the M$ software sold online is pirated. So I ask him to tell me whether this site is legit. He claims they will have to check it out. I say fine, here's my email contact me when you guys decide if they are legit, because if they are, I want to pay the $899 price instead almost twice that. He says they can't contact me to let me know, it's some other division that does the checking, yada, yada, yada, and feeds me some bullshit.

    Well by this time I figure if M$ doesn't care enough to contact me to keep me from purchasing pirated versions of their software, I don't really care if it's pirated either. So I wait a couple weeks to see if the site stays up so I won't be ripped off, and sure enough it's still there. So I buy the software and it promptly arrives in nice shrink-wrapped boxes and surely looks legit to me. I haven't tried to register it yet so I guess I'm not sure it's legit, but it looks the same as my registered version (only newer).

    Anyway my point is, this seems like it might be:

    1) Price fixing amongst all the people that sell M$ software and one company decided not to go along

    2) M$ has some "special" deal with this site because they move super high volume or sell only M$ software.

    3) A pirate site that M$ is too lazy to prosecute (but if their client list is for real, they're likely WAY over $50,000 in sales).

    4) It's a front for M$ to sell their software online at a big discount and get a lot of direct sales with a BIG restocking fee (30%) without pissing off their sales partners or their big corporate clients for gouging on the restocking fees.

    Or maybe it's something else altogether, I dunno, but if you want to buy M$ software cheap, www.office200pro.com has the best prices I've seen and the shipping is free and it's been over two months since I reported them and they've not been taken down yet, curious...
  • by coats ( 1068 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @03:53PM (#2432731) Homepage
    And existence of secondary markets is a primary characteristic of capitalism: those who use the power of the government to prevent re-sale are not capitalists; in the technical sense of the term, they are fascists.

    So it is technically at least half-right to declaim,

    Bill Gates is a fascist pig!
  • New EULA (Score:2, Interesting)

    by slight42 ( 263682 ) on Monday October 15, 2001 @10:12PM (#2434355)
    When I started Outlook tonight (what can I say - it was bundled with my computer), M$ made me click through a new EULA. They did a good job hiding the EULA after I clicked through it - I can only find the old version (6/2000) on my hard drive...
    It did go into excruciating detail on resale rights (or lack thereof), especially with OEM software. Maybe Bill reads /. in between trying to take over the world...

All laws are simulations of reality. -- John C. Lilly