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How To Get The Best deals On Microsoft Software and Products online

Maruf Hossain
How To Get The Best deals On Microsoft Software and Products online

Without Microsoft's permission, many different online resellers market and sell Microsoft products. “Microsoft Software Swap” is dedicated to ensuring that you receive exactly what you paid for legitimate software that is recognized by Microsoft as a valid purchase in perpetuity.

The current Microsoft Office product line does not come with an installation disc. To download and activate the product, you must go to Setup in the official Microsoft Office Store and enter your 25-digit key code. Many software resellers have discovered flaws in the activation process, allowing them to sell counterfeit software at ridiculously low prices. If a price appears to be too good to be true, it most likely is.

Office 2013 downloads are no longer available since the release of Office 2016. You cannot legally purchase Office 2013 unless a reseller has copies of older retail boxes. An official Electronic Software Delivery (ESD) product can only be obtained by purchasing the actual SKU from an authorized ESD reseller. Part numbers for ESD products differ from those for retail products. Retail software is packaged in small boxes with product key cards and activation codes.

While Microsoft Software Swap does provide the option to deliver software electronically, we do so by providing ESD SKUs for current products or by opening a retail boxed product, scanning the product key card, and emailing the activation code to you so you can use the software right away, rather than having it shipped to you. We then store the physical product in a secure location and save the activation key in our system in case you need it for a reinstall, transfer, or audit. Simply send mail to [email protected] while keeping your order number handy, and our customer service team will locate your product key for you.

Resellers offering these low-cost downloads will not be able to provide you with an actual image of the Product Key Card and Certificate of Authenticity, nor will they be able to provide proof of purchase for an ESD SKU from Microsoft. Based on purchase information provided to us by customers who purchased from these resellers, we believe you are being sold the following:

• Academic Product: This product is only licensed for student use. In some cases, we discovered that these products had already been activated multiple times.

• Home Use Product: Large organizations that purchased Software Assurance licenses through the Open Business or Enterprise channels can assign an employee a key code for use of the products on the employee's "Home" PC. If you were sold one of these keys and contact Microsoft for technical support, they will ask for your Microsoft Authorization Number, which you will not have because that key has been assigned to another organization.

• Used OEM Product Codes: OEM products are provided by PC manufacturers and allow for multiple installations to ensure that the end-user has no problems. Microsoft provides no technical support for OEM products. According to our findings, when the Microsoft Activation Center discovers a key that has been abused, the key is turned off, rendering it invalid. When we tested these products, we discovered that some of the codes had been used up to five times. Also, if Microsoft decides to run a genuineness test on these products, as it did with Windows, and discovers that the key code you have is invalid, you will no longer be able to use the product you purchased. Microsoft will direct you to your original point of purchase, and if that company no longer exists, you'll be stuck with the invalid product key.

• MSDN Abuse: MSDN is for developers who write programs that use Microsoft products. MSDN allows them to obtain product keys for any Microsoft products they require, but these licenses are only for development. Many resellers sign up for MSDN subscriptions in order to gain access to product keys, which they then sell to unsuspecting customers.

While these were the four main areas we discovered, there are other ways to get around the rules. You may be wondering why Microsoft permits the activation of these products. According to our dedicated Microsoft representatives, it's all about the customer experience. Microsoft wants customers to be able to reinstall their products if necessary. The problem with the Electronic Software Delivery world is that it has allowed many unauthorized resellers to circumvent the activation process and unlock full versions of software.

We hope that Microsoft will no longer allow many of these forged product keys to function. Until then, here are some things you can do to ensure you get what you paid for:

• Buyer Beware/Use Common Sense. If you google a product, such as Project Professional 2013, and all of the sponsored listings show a price of $200 (the product retails for around $900) and all of the reseller's offer is a download, we can say with 99.9 percent certainty you are getting an illegal copy. These businesses do not obtain product keys from retail boxes. Microsoft Software Swap has the original factory key card and will email you a copy. When you call Microsoft with a question, the first thing they will ask you is how much you paid for the product. If you are a business and purchased five illegal copies of this product, you will receive the all-too-familiar audit letter and will be audited. The auditors will not let you off the hook if you believe you purchased legitimate products. They require a new purchase, and we've received hundreds of orders from companies attempting to pass an audit. Frequently, the resellers who sold the products have gone out of business or refuse to issue a refund. Then you've paid twice for the products and are listed in Microsoft's records as having purchased illegal software. Consider it like an IRS audit: if you are caught cheating, you must pay and, more than likely, you will be audited again. We don't have any inside information from Microsoft, but we've been told that thousands of small businesses will be audited in the near future.

• Send Microsoft Software Swap the product key that you purchased. As Microsoft Authorized Partners, we have direct access to the Microsoft piracy team. They can provide us with a thorough analysis of the product, which you can then take back to the place of purchase to request a refund.

• Yes, you do need to pay for software. You'd be skeptical of someone selling a Surface Pro 4 for $200 when it's normally $1500, and the same goes for software. People want the best hardware devices, but when they realize that the software can be even more expensive than the device, they begin looking for the cheapest option online. Illicit resellers are aware of this and cater to people who simply want something to work. Do the right thing and get a genuine copy so you don't have to worry about it.

Every day, we get calls from people who bought software somewhere else and need to reinstall it on a new device, only to discover that their product key is no longer valid.

Maruf Hossain
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