Second-hand Microsoft licences take off

A company selling second-hand Microsoft licences says it has been surprised by the amount of interest it is receiving

A company that began trading in second-hand licences for Microsoft software last autumn has been attracting business from within the UK and internationally.

Disclic has been able to sell over 2,500 second-hand software licences from insolvent or downsizing firms to other businesses through discount-licensing.com.

"As long as we stick to Microsoft terms and conditions we can pretty much do what we want," Disclic director Noel Unwin told ZDNet UK. "We've had interest from America, Australia, India — which is quite surprising as we've specifically focussed our marketing in the UK," added Unwin, who estimated that discount-licensing.com offers savings of around 35 percent.

It emerged last November that it was legal to trade in used licences for Microsoft software, thanks to a loophole in British insolvency laws and a clause within many Microsoft licences that permits disused or unwanted volume licences to be transferred.

The success of the controversial business model was a "no-brainer — businesses are going to get the same version of Microsoft software at a cheaper price," said Unwin.

The licensing company has sold licence agreements to over 50 customers since November. The biggest seller has been Microsoft Office 2000, followed by XP, Office 2003, Windows Server, SQL and Exchange.

Some software vendors were angered by the launch of the scheme, but more than 20 resellers have now contacted Disclic to discuss purchasing licensing agreements for customers, Unwin said.

Unwin also insisted that the company has a cordial relationship with Microsoft.

"The relationship is fairly good. Everybody seems to be winning. Microsoft are trying to attract businesses to volume licensing, as a lot of companies out there aren't licence-compliant," said Unwin.

"About 5 percent of our sales revenue now comes through resellers, which is quite large considering they were initially worried," Unwin added. "Rubbishing our business model died a death quite quickly once we got resellers involved."

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