OEM Microsoft Office and OEM Microsoft Windows licensing. The things you need to know and be aware of.

OEM Microsoft Office and OEM Microsoft Windows licensing is a topic that seems to again be generating questions and there are plenty of people out there who are illegally taking advantage of others to trying to make a quick profit by selling counterfeit or unlicensed software. Here are the facts and answers to many of the points of confusion around OEM Microsoft Office and OEM Microsoft Windows licensing so you are informed and can protect yourself from the scammers out there:

1. There are a lot of people and companies out there trying to sell counterfeit or illegal software and calling it “OEM” software. The only way to ensure you are buying legitimate OEM Microsoft software is to purchase directly from an Authorized OEM Distributor. The list of Authorized OEM Distributors is located HERE. Purchasing from any other source means you have no guarantee of receiving legitimate OEM Microsoft software. Internet searches for suppliers are not an advised approach.

o Don’t fool yourself into thinking you “found a really good deal” and can tell fake product when you see it. This reseller thought they could: "We buy our product from various sources throughout the USA and inspect it closely upon receipt." So did many others and you can see what happened to them. Not only that, but you put your clients at risk of audits, fines, viruses, data loss, trojans, etc.

o Check out this VIDEO for more information about the risks for you and your clients of the risks of buying online

2. OEM Microsoft Office and OEM Microsoft Windows software can only be sold with a fully assembled computer system. You can find this included in the OEM Microsoft System Builder Agreement located HERE. It cannot be sold with just a cable or just a hard drive, or just a “piece of hardware.” Many people out there are listing counterfeit OEM Microsoft Office and OEM Microsoft Windows software (or some other bogus form of software) and claiming it is legal if they sell it with some piece of hardware. FALSE! Here is the excerpt from the OEM System Builder License:


§ 4.1 We grant you a nonexclusive right to distribute an individual software license only with a fully assembled computer system.

o NOTE: If you are a System Builder, you can acquire OEM Microsoft Office and OEM Microsoft Windows separate from a fully-assembled computer system for pre-installation on your computers for resale to your clients. You would purchase these through an Authorized OEM Distributor. (For OEM Office 2007, you would purchase the new 2007 Office OPK Master Kit) As noted in the OEM System Builder Agreement:

§ “System builder” means an original equipment manufacturer, an assembler, refurbisher, or pre-installer of software on computer systems.

3. Some of the unscrupulous sites and vendors out there will tell you that the definition of a fully assembled computer system is “open to interpretation.” FALSE! The definition of a “Fully assembled computer system” is clearly defined in the OEM System Builder License as well:

o A “fully assembled computer system” means a computer system consisting of at least a central processing unit, a motherboard, a hard drive (internally mounted (Solid State) NAND and/or internally mounted revolving magnetic-based hard drive), a power supply, and a case.

4. OEM Microsoft Office and OEM Microsoft Windows software must be pre-installed onto the fully assembled computer system before distribution to a customer and it must be installed using the included OEM Pre-Installation Kit (OPK). This means you can’t just throw the OEM Microsoft Office or OEM Microsoft Windows software into a box with the computer and send it to a customer. You can find this listed in the OEM System Builder Agreement as well:

o 6. PREINSTALLATION REQUIREMENT. When you distribute an individual software license for a desktop operating system or application software, you must preinstall it on the fully assembled computer system’s hard drive using the OEM Preinstallation Kit (“OPK”) provided in this package or otherwise made available by us.

5. No, OEM software cannot be sold to a client by itself as a way to “get legal” if they purchased illegal software or unlicensed PCs.

o Clients needing Genuine Windows software would need to do one of the following:

§ Go to the Windows Genuine Advantage website and purchase the genuine download

§ Acquire a retail ("full packaged product" or "FPP") version of genuine Window software from a reseller

§ If eligible, acquire a Get Genuine Kit for Windows XP Professional from their reseller

· Resellers can acquire this through an Authorized OEM Distributor

Something else to keep in mind with OEM software, your licensing rights are much different than buying through programs like Open Business or Open Value. We have the “Difference in licensing rights” video available to help explain more on this.

Hopefully this helps answer these questions for you regarding OEM Microsoft Office and OEM Microsoft Windows software.

I have some other Blog posts designed to answer other OEM questions that you might want to check out as well:

- OEM Office for Terminal Services? You might want to check that EULA...

- Adding Software Assurance to your OEM Office licenses. What you need to know…

- OEM Microsoft Server software. New short video answers top questions about adding Software Assurance.

- Is it worth it to try to save a few dollars? Internet searches are probably not your best bet for buying software...

Thank you and have a wonderful day,

Eric Ligman
Microsoft US Senior Manager
Small Business Community Engagement
This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights

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