I wonder how many phone calls this post is going to generate but rest assured: If you call me, I will be asking the questions. Why such a polite post? Well, it appears that our friends from SurplusComputers are back selling Microsoft Windows 2003 Small Business Server Premium NFR for $169 with free shipping. Note the NFR tag which means, ironically enough, not for resale. How does that make sense, how is someone selling software thats not for sale? You already know the answer to that question. Now riddle me this: Why has Microsoft done nothing to stop this? Here is how a fellow Microsoft Certified Partner reacted to the news of this:
How they are able to continue doing this without Microsoft coming down on them with a lawsuit I have no idea – hence my utter frustration with Microsoft. I am making this note not to inspire piracy, but rather to BEG anyone from Microsoft to please stop this. It really impairs our ability as legitimate partners to consult and deploy the product (charging $2k or more for the deployment) when the software itself can easily be obtained for $170!!! Not only that, but unethical computer people go in, sell the illegal product, and then we're called in to fix or deploy and we have to give clients the bad news that they have an illegal copy!!! I'm including the link so that Microsoft can (hopefully) take swift action.
Now what would have certainly sent Rick right over the edge would be the news that I reported this very same company to Microsoft and BSA back in October (as a matter of fact, the blog post on mssmallbiz.com is a direct consequence to us informing the Microsoft small business licensing watchdog about Surplus Computers who at the time was selling the SBS NFR for $169 and Office XP NFR with the GE mouse for $69). So lets face it – Microsoft has done nothing – yet.. I'm sorry, Surplus Direct is a major electronics outlet in United States and believe you me, it does not take months for someone in Microsoft to write a cease and desist letter. So don't deceive yourself with the "well, I am sure its happening, we are just not plugged in to the behind the scenes of Microsoft legal and licensing enforcement." We are not talking about something that started last week, last month… We are talking over three months here. So I'll get to my point: Where is Surplus Direct obtaining Microsoft NFR software? How is it that a major electronics outlet is allowed to illegaly distribute Microsoft software for months, and more importantly, where are they getting such a big stock of NFR media? Microsoft Licensing – please stand up and protect your partners and your customers before you lose both.