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A German PC maker has defied Microsoft and started selling systems with second-hand Windows licenses.

Ettling-based Waibel pays up to 65 Marks ($31) for Windows 98, and 85 Marks ($41) for NT or 2000, through its site. The operating systems are then resold (for 95 Marks and 135 Marks respectively) as part of a Waibel computer system.

According to Waibel: "In Germany there are approximately ten million usable operating systems which will become worthless in the next few years, while the licensees buy their next PC again with an operating system or quite simply just dispose of their old PC along with the operating system," c't Magazine reports.

"Ten million operating systems, however, represents an economic value of at least two billion DeutschMarks, which shouldn't be wasted". It argues that this money should stay in Germany, and not go to fund an American company.

Sadly, Microsoft spin doctors were not able to cobble together a comment on the situation, despite having two days to work on it, but it seems the software giant can do little about the second hand licences as the practice has the blessing of the BGH (Germany's top court).

Meanwhile, Waibel faces a legal wrangle with Microsoft for selling a copy of Windows 98 to a c't test buyer without a certificate of authenticity. Waibel refused to respond to Microsoft's inquiries, resulting in a lawsuit - currently sub judice under a court in Mannheim. ®

Related Links

An English translation of the c't article can be found here
The original c't article is here.

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