I cut open candies in the candy box because I want to know what I’m getting, don’t you?  You want to make sure you are getting the Chocolate you want, right?.  I don’t like Chocolates with coconut inside… there’s just something about that texture that just …. ugh…

If you’ve ever gone to the doorway of Fry’s Electronics… breathed in the computer smell and then walked into the department that looks like computer guts are spilled all over the place and folks are waxing poetically about Intel this and AMD that… you’ll know the Motherboard section of the computer store.  Yet many of us may not realize out important that Motherboard is to the license of our operating system…. Mr. Licensing on the Mssmallbiz site [who will be at SMBnation in September], Eric Ligman posted a couple of gems about Motherboards and OEM software licensing…..

“Generally, you may upgrade or replace all of the hardware components on your customer’s computer and the end user customer may maintain the license for the original Microsoft OEM operating system software, with the exception of an upgrade or replacement of the motherboard. An upgrade of the motherboard is considered to result in a “new personal computer” to which Microsoft OEM operating system software cannot be transferred from another computer. If the motherboard is upgraded or replaced for reasons other than a defect, then a new computer has been created and the license of new operating system software is required. If the motherboard is replaced because it is defective, you do NOT need to acquire a new operating system license for the PC.”

“For reference, the above answer comes directly from the Microsoft System Builder Frequently Asked Questions Page: http://oem.microsoft.com/script/contentpage.aspx?PageID=553075.  It is the 4th question listed below the Refurbished/Used PCs section.“

When it comes to buying OEM software, it might be wise to review those folks that are authorize OEM sellers  http://www.microsoft.com/oem/authdist/default.mspxLike Eric said, if you buy OEM software outside that channel, the buyer beware sign should be flashing very brightly. 

Now Forest Gump may say “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get”, but I think it would be a pretty safe bet that if you see something that just is too good to be true price wise….it’s definitely too good to be true.  Like I said….I’m not a fan of Chocolates with Coconut in the middle.  Sometimes when you see offers for OEM software with a mere mouse or stick of memory …you can just smell the Coconut without cutting open the candy, can’t you?


One Response to Sometimes you can just smell the Coconut can’t you?

  1. Vlad Mazek says:

    Its very funny to watch system builders explain Windows OEM licensing to the general public. For example, OEM versions of Windows XP can be sold with any functional computer part. What falls into that… well, memory, hard drives, CD rom and generally anything that doesn’t change APIC.

    Now, this is HILARIOUS. One of the system builders I work with set out to get Microsoft’s explanation of what included a "functional computer part" and he dug long and hard until they basically broke out the legal terms. Apparently, you can sell someone Windows XP OEM with a bag of screws – They hold the case together, thus serve a function, do not alter APIC nor change bios.

    Very intriguing story, I somehow don’t buy the screw part but I guess every legal agreement needs to have a loophole.