Microsoft's New OEM License

  PaulB2005 14:09 25 Oct 2005

This is NOT an Anti-MS / Bill gates rant. Nor is it an accusation of anything other than maybe a bit of mis-guidance. I spend a lot of time defending MS and BG to my customers but now MS has made me unhappy.

Before the new OEM changes i understood i could upgrade a PC to Windows XP using an OEM copy if a substantial piece of hardware was also replaced. Example from a while back was a new hard drive and 512 Mb RAM. None of this " a Printer Cable is all you need to buy."

Now the license says i can only use OEM on new systems builds which i never do because i can't compete on price. So i have to use Retail copies of Windows XP at 3 times the price! At £180 for the software plus labour for installation, updates and testing it comes close to the price of a fully loaded Dell PC!

I've already had one phone put down on me and one customer tell me where to go because i tried to explain the new license laws. He came back 2 hours later and told he got an OEM copy elsewhere for £60 saving him £120....

I remember 7 or 8 years ago buying my first 56k modem for £50. Now that modem costs £12. Our first PC cost £1300. Now you can buy them for £250.

I can't believe that a retail copy of XP still costs so much!! I know it includes support from MS but surely, like buying toasters and microwaves, we should be able to buy XP without MS Support for say £50 and with Support for £180? At least in Dixon's i can say no to the salesman. Seems MS won't let you say "no" and you have to buy the support package even if you'll never use it.

This decision to limit the use of OEM software like this is bad for a number of reasons. Customers come in with dead hard drives on out of warranty PCs with no original OS CD or a recovery disk that needs a "tattooed hard drive" and also want XP installed (something about iPods needs XP??). A new hard drive, maybe a bigger stick of RAM and a OEM copy of XP was all it took to get it running again. Now that copy of Windows will cost 3 times as much and it won't be worth upgrading the PC. It'll get thrown away and increase the amount of electronic waste we are producing instead of reusing a PC with one faulty component. Same goes with people who bring in PCs they have running pirate copies of XP. It won't be long until someone tells me they'll keep the pirate copy instead of installing a legal version or go to someone who will install an illegal OEM copy of XP.

As i said in the beginning, i am not an MS basher but i feel this is wrong. MS makes plenty of profit so why are prices so high?? Why are we forced now to offer only the retail packs?? It's not like i have much of an alternative other than to use MS Windows with my customers. I was told it was an anti-piracy measure but that doesn't hold much water. Also been told it's to stop the abuse of the qualifying hardware clause where printer cables were wrongly being used as qualifying hardware. Surely this could have just been clarified or clamped down on??

  Chegs ® 14:51 25 Oct 2005

I agree to alot of what your saying.Why cannot MS have just tightened up on qualifying hardware.

  €dstowe 14:55 25 Oct 2005

This move by MS will do the opposite of what is intended.

Small builders will be more tempted to use Singapore-Sling versions of XP bought for about tuppence a dozen, complete with activation key than pay over the odds for a full retail version.

  ventanas 15:55 25 Oct 2005

While I welcome the tightening up and clarification I do have to agree with what you are saying in that what is likely to happen is a move away from OEM copies as they become increasingly unavailable, to full blown pirated copies. We can only hope that one day MS gets it right with its activation and valaidation procedures and blows these installations away. I have absolutely no objection to paying the going rate for a retail copy of XP, which I do not think is excessive. And if small builders are going to use these "Singapore-Sling" versions I sincerely hope they get caught. There is nothing to stop them using OEM if they attain Microsoft certification, and I wouldn't buy a pc from anyone who wasn't.

  €dstowe 16:08 25 Oct 2005

Don't get me wrong, I've no objection to MS tightening up the OEM purchase requirements but, as so often happens, there seems to have been an over the top reaction.

More sensible would have been to restrict sales to, say, the joint purchase of a motherboard (which ain't much use without an operating system).

  Forum Editor 18:31 25 Oct 2005

as I feel that Microsoft have acted without due regard for the needs of the self-build market. Perhaps they don't care, and in an effort to find out I've written to the Press Office for some background on the decision.

Let's see what they have to say for themselves.

  PaulB2005 18:51 25 Oct 2005

"I have absolutely no objection to paying the going rate for a retail copy of XP"

I wouldn't but i can't understand why the price is still so high when the other components of a PC have come down.

The lack of a viable alternative to Windows doesn't help either. With MS making mega-profits and pretty much sewing up the desktop OS market there's no alternative for the less techno-savvy customer to consider.

I know I'm opening myself to a barrage of "anti-capitalist" labels and cries of "why shouldn't MS make so much profit" or "you don't understand the economics of major software builders" but sometimes like think that MS open themselves up for criticism and I find it harder to defend them.

  PaulB2005 18:51 25 Oct 2005

That will be interesting.....

  PaulB2005 19:25 25 Oct 2005

the OEM "rules" before and after the changes.

I understand that in order to even install an OEM copy BEFORE the changes i should have been MS Certified. Correct? I know there is such a thing as a MS Certified System Builder but didn't realise you HAD to be one?

What if you are doing your own home build? Was OEM OK then?

What about replacing a dead Hard Drive with a new one and an OEM copy of XP?

  amonra 21:07 25 Oct 2005

We will await the result of your little chat with MS Press Office, but I think we already know the reply "In the interests of all our customers - - - -" blah blah blah ! They control the market, a big monopoly, take it leave it. As Cdstowe says ^, the eastern market will clean up.

  ventanas 21:46 25 Oct 2005

Home build for own use, OEM was fine. To build to sell on the certification was required. Those were the rules as I was told them by these people click here of course the only body that can say this for certain is Microsoft. I'm looking forward to what the FE finds out.

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