UK company resells Microsoft licences in US

Licences from insolvent companies are being resold at a profit to the seller and a discount to the buyer

A British company that has made a business out of selling pre-owned licences for Microsoft products has brought its products to the US for the first time.

Disclic recently closed its first deal selling licences it procured from companies going out of business in the UK to a company in the US, says Noel Unwin, a director of Discount-licensing.com, the website and trading arm of Disclic.

Discount-licensing.com sold licences for Microsoft Office that it obtained from two companies that divested their property in the UK — Food Brokers and Quidnunc — to WaferTech, a US semiconductor manufacturer, he says.

Discount-licensing.com also recently made its first deal selling licenses it procured from a US company to companies in the UK, Unwin says. Discount-Licensing.com sold preowned licences from an insolvent US company, Cornell Trading, to UK businesses in September and October.

The UK businesses that purchased former Cornell Trading licences were Benefit 2 Business, which purchased licences for Exchange 2003; Abnormal Loads, which purchased licences for Terminal Server 2003 CALs; 3D Computer Systems, which purchased licences for Exchange, Windows and Terminal Server 2003 CALs; and Orange IS, which purchased Office 2003 Professional licences.

Unwin says his company did not sell preowned licences in the US until recently because it believed there would be restrictions in reselling licences from one region to another. Discount-licensing.com worked with Microsoft to ensure this was not the case before selling its licenses, he says.

Microsoft could not be reached for comment, but it has acknowledged in the past it is legal to transfer product licences for software owned by companies that are divesting.

Disclic has built its Discount-licensing.com business since November 2005, gathering up Microsoft product licences from insolvent companies and distributing them through its website. The company recently updated its site with comprehensive product search and ordering features, so customers can do their entire transactions online.

Unwin says prices for US customers are generally 15% less expensive than prices for UK ones. The company sells pre-owned licences for about 35-40% less than the original cost of the licence.

Because of these discounts, software resellers have been purchasing software from Discount-licensing.com to sell to their customers so they can make higher margins, Unwin says.

Discount-licensing.com has added several hundred new customers so far in 2006, in addition to repeat customers. The most popular licences the company sells are for Office XP and other licences that do well include SQL Server and Exchange 2003, Unwin says.

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