2 min read

Embarrassing!

Where have all the good VARs gone?

rnrnrnrn

I am embarrassed to report that Microsoft has yet again filed not one, but five lawsuits against resellers in the greater Toronto area.
Again the issue is hard disk loading. These dealers allegedly loaded versions of Windows, XP Professional, Office and even the unpopular Windows ME edition onto

desktop computers for customers without providing them licensed copies including certificate and authenticity labels and other copyright features intended to prove they had the genuine article.
Susan Harper, business development manager at Microsoft Canada, said in a prepared statement that these alleged acts continue to undermine the work of honest resellers.
Microsoft went even further by naming names, which the subsidiary tries to avoid.
In the past two years it has steadfastly gone after resellers for hard- disk loading.
It has successfully settled more than 20 cases relating to the practice in Ontario alone.
In a press release issued this month their names were released as was part of a settlement agreement.
As editor of Computer Dealer News and an editor of another channel publication since 1996, I am embarrassed to write in this space that I know a few of these resellers.
I have interviewed some of them and the magazine featured a profile of one of these resellers.
I am not very proud of this fact because I wish to only choose companies who are on the up-and-up. I apologize to our readers for this small indiscretion.
It makes me wonder if there any good resellers left in Ontario, where it seems most of the illegal activity happens in this country?
What I fail to understand is why these resellers continue to hard-disk load and challenge the wrath of Microsoft and its team of high priced lawyers.
Is it the money? With the margins on PCs so slim it can’t be just about money. The money is in services and solution selling.
Is it Microsoft’s complex licensing policy? I can’t see why this would be a factor since even honest resellers can’t understand it so what would be the difference?
Is it stupidity? We might be on to something here. What else could it be?
Resellers who are caught hard-disk loading are given a cease and desist letter from Microsoft Canada.
The subsidiary, based in Mississauga, Ont., only goes after these resellers when they choose to ignore this letter and continue the illegal practice.
I guess these resellers thought Microsoft wasn’t serious.
Guess again.