NFR Software: Would you like KY with that?

Legal, Microsoft

Last paragraph is not for the faint of heart, you've been warned. Eric Ligman, the only person at Microsoft capable of explaining licensing, has posted about the NFR software and the few famous posts that we've drilled Microsoft over. He's in a firing mood, hopefully none of the PCM's get on his bad side today. To sum it up, he explains exactly what you're buying with the now infamous offer by Surplus Computers, which by the way still has SBS Premium available for $169. Eric breaks the offer down and explains what you're buying. Pretty entertaining read, even if you're not excited by Licensing. I do have a comment and a suggestion: Comment: It's not the Small Business Specialist going into the shop and selling SBS NFR to the customer. It's the customer hiring the Small Business Specialist to come and install SBS they purchased online. Illegal? You bet. But that Small Business Consultant has to eat. Will he starve for Bill Gates and walk away from the questionable (and illegal) software license, or will he turn the blind eye to how the software ended up in the customers hands and just finish configuring the network for the DIY business owner? Thats a bet for Microsoft to answer, considering the Surplus Computer still has this item on sale it appears clear that there may not be a punishment for this. Are you starting to see the problem with the NFR software now? Even if you are a bystander, everything you do and touch has a percieved value. Let's say you looked away as they installed $1,500 worth of software for $169. What do you think your chances are on upselling this client the time upgrade cycle comes around? Furthermore, what are your chances of collecting on the large job from that client when you already know they are a thief. Think they'll stop at taking money from Bill Gates? Ethics and integrity tend to disagree. Question: $150,000? What $150,000? The assumption that there is the $150,000 penalty for piracy is largely ignored by the business owner because there doesn't appear to be any punishment. Let me quote my college law professor:

"Law is only as valid as its enforcement." – Robert Emerson

If you don't enforce the piracy punishment, it becomes an acceptable practice. It is Microsoft's software, Microsoft's task to enforce. Partners should do their fair bit too, but partnership requires action on both sides. I've documented my actions and Microsoft has officially sued 30 companies. The people I reported? Still up and running. Vlad Advisory Services Bill, Steve.. this one is on me. How do we solve this problem? Well, Eric Ligman is famous for some very funny sites that help you show clients the value of Microsoft software, namely: and So whats our problem here Mr. Ligman? We don't have enough ways to show people that they might get punished for being pirates. Here are some of the names I would suggest for the piracy awareness campaign Microsoft should launch: – Show a pirate bent over in a prison cell. – Same as the above. – Same as the above but with a pimp smack. – I'm afraid of describing this one. – Exceeds the domain size but its a fun line anyhow. Oh, double score! You get the idea. Give me a martyr, slap him on a postcard, and send me a stack of 50 to give away at the next group meeting. Seriously. Look at Microsoft Piracy center. It's such a happy nice page. Piracy isn't that bad is it? Now show me Bubba and Frank in a prison cell and a geek hiding his privates behind a NFR CD and I think most think twice before calling the activation center to get that 50th activation key for the Windows XP Pro they got at Market Pro for $60.

17 Responses to NFR Software: Would you like KY with that?

  1. Bill Gates (yes really!) says:

    Please welcome the new Microsoft Antipiracy Czar, Vlad Mazek.

    Anyhow, time to squat those.

  2. Jackie Rish says:

    You do know all those domains are available, right?

  3. Vlad says:


    I did say I was giving it away for free, didn’t I? Just doing my part as a Microsoft partner.


  4. Vlad says:

    And thats not Bill Gates.

  5. Victor Menez says:

    I’ll second that but in a somewhat more business appropriate setting. I can understand Microsoft can’t hunt down every $2,000 piracy case but perhaps if we had some consumer facing threatening paperwork we could better show the consumer what they are facing by going against the law.

  6. mark says:

    Wonder when that “geniuine authenticity” will show up on the server. Something needs to put this to a stop.

  7. I just got off the phone with Rene Alamo. Essentially, he said that he couldn’t do anything, and that the time frame for action ranged anywhere from a couple of months to years. That right…YEARS. I asked him about Surplus Computers, and he made a vague reference to how websites selling NFR software go up and down all the time. Course, we all know that’s not the case with SC, being up for nearly 2 years now.

    We also discussed how this NFR software comes to be available so readily, and he made references to exchange rates causing software to be temporarily priced lower overseas, and then it’s imported at a lower rate. Yeah…I didn’t buy that one either. I brought up how this “foreign software” is conveniently in the English language with English labels with the MSFT holograms on the CD’s, and he took a pause…and then said he didn’t have an answer to that.

    Now, all that being said, Rene isn’t the problem. He’s actually on our side, and seems to be doing what he can. The problem is that MSFT’s Legal department isn’t being instructed to make this a priority. They’re the ones we need to take action.

    In order to affect them, we need to find the decision makers inside MSFT (Allison Watson, for example) and convince them to change the flavor of the kool-aid.

    We need to teach these decision makers about 2-way partner relationships that aren’t about giving away software, but about providing resources and services in exchange for partner loyalty and quality.

    We need to teach them that NFR software does a great deal of short-term as well as long-term harm, while providing little if any benefit.

    We need to teach them about the value of raising the bar and the cost of entry for being a Microsoft Partner, making it something less than easy to get an Action Pack (say, requiring all Partners to at least be an MCP)

    Most importantly, we need MSFT to enforce the rules they already have in place, and STOP SCREWING WITH MY BOTTOM LINE.

  8. I couldn’t agree more with the spirit of your editorial but I think MS needs to take more blame here than you appear to be throwing at them.

    Back in DOS and Windows 3.0 days software licensing was a joke. A few years later everyone knew you could enter all 1’s to authorize Office 95.

    We all knew the big joke called MS licensing but we also knew that someday they were going to eventually try to collect our addiction to free MS products.

    MS has only recently taken piracy seriously. I guess all the departments haven’t gotten the memo yet.

    Case in point: I have a copy of Windows XP that bought on the first day XP was released to the public. Over the past few years I have put that copy of XP on several PC’s. As one computer would either die or I would buy a new one I would take it off and put it onto my new one. Yep, I have to call MS licensing and get a new key each time to finish the authorization process, but sheesh, what a joke that is!

    MS licensing can be easily thwarted and I think that MS likes it like that. Historically they always have.

    I call it “wink wink nudge nudge” enforcement.


  9. Vlad says:


    For the record, sales side has always been and always will be a wink-wink, nudge-nudge institution. I expect that of them, but not of doctors.

    Either way, I am in complete agreement with you and I do blame Microsoft for this situation and the lack of enforcement. However, there are just so many times you can beat the dead horse, we need a solution.


  10. Without actually coming out and SAYING it, he (the above referenced guy, I don’t want to get him into trouble) suggested that we (i.e., Vlad, Myself, other Certified Partners and GCP’s) go to Boston for the Partner conference and get up on open Mike and shame Allison Watson into answering why MSFT has essentially ignored the situation. I’m beginning to think it’s a good idea, if for no other reason than to spend a couple of days drinking with Vlad

  11. Vlad says:

    Man, if Rene is gonna back me in going and kicking Microsoft Licensing ass we may as well just go to Redmond and hang out with Eric Ligman. At least he’ll do something about it.

    My bday is on August 19 and my partner in crime, Chris Rue, is getting me a kevlar vest lined with NFR copies of One Note.

    I’m trying to represent Microsoft partner concerns here and you guys are breaking my you know what!


  12. I’ll do whatever it takes – I’ll go to Redmond if they’ll take a meeting with us.

    This situation is starting to really affect my bottom line from the service end, and seeing as my marginal dollar on service is very high this makes me very unhappy.

    This is a long-term problem that gets exponentially worse the longer it’s left unaddressed, so if you’re serious about going out there I’ll go also.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Vlad, I don’t see why they would want to kill you. Hell, I’m sure they would kill for feedback like this from their partners. Do you realize how much is spent to get people to fill out surveys – and to get honest and constructive criticism?

    You’re organizing, encouraging and delivering feedback to Microsoft for free. They are not killing you boy. If I were Bill Gates I would put a huge NFR billboard in front of your house to piss you off into getting more of this kind of anti-piracy grassroots effort out there.


  14. happyfunboy says:

    couldn’t agree more with ya on this point…which you already know…and which was easily evident over at the funcave, at least until blogger ate my response post during their last spurt of outages.

    sheesh..can’t believe they can’t stay up 24×7/365, considering what i’m paying them…

  15. Anonymous says:

    Please add this site to the scammers list:

  16. DUIT Dale says:

    What does Kentucky have to do with this?

  17. Pingback: Latest rounds of lawsuits to help protect Partners selling legitimate software posted - Noticias externas

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