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MS takes big stick to Dutch resellers

OEM licensing policy outrage

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At least a hundred Dutch hardware resellers are facing legal action by Microsoft for violation of the company's OEM licensing policy.

OEM software is a special version of software that must be distributed pre-installed on the hard drive of a PC when it's manufactured or bundled with computer hardware. OEM software should never be distributed without a corresponding PC or computer hardware, Microsoft says.

However, several Dutch resellers are distributing OEM software without the corresponding hardware, or they do not pass on the Certificates of Authenticity (COA) and documentation to their clients. All they receive is a PC with an operation system. "This way resellers can install many copies of the OS without paying the license fee," a spokesman for Microsoft told The Register.

Some resellers offer licenses only, a Certificate of Authenticity (COA) label or sticker, without the corresponding software, manual and other documentation. This isn't allowed either, Microsoft claims. "Stand-alone" COA labels are often used to induce businesses and consumers into acquiring counterfeit or unlicensed software.

According to Dutch news site Webwereld at least one reseller is likely to pay €40,000 in damages. However, many of the resellers claim they did nothing illegal and have called for legal aid. ®

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