OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) “… can be used as an adjective to describe software licensed only for a particular system. OEM software is purchased alongside a system or hardware parts.” (source: Wikipedia).
Recently I come across number of websites that advertise so-called “OEM deals”, where you can buy cheap software. They offer popular titles for about half of the price, claiming that you’ll receive perfectly legal and working copies.
Allow me to explain why this is not true.
Developers use knowledge, time, patience and fingertips to create software. Customers decide that they need (want, like, …) the software and use money to buy a licence. If software is good, more customers buy it to make a better compensation for developer’s work, and everyone is happy, supposedly.
Then there are Hackers, who use their special kind of knowledge and some time to release a crack, patch or keymaker. Developers fix the leak, but hackers always can find another one (it’s common knowledge that every software can be cracked). This is a closed circle, almost some kind of a “mental game”.
Then Pirates use hacked software for free, risking getting a virus, trojan or worse. 🙂 That’s their decision – I’m sure they think they have perfectly normal reasons to do this (although there are often legal alternatives).
It’s always been like this, and that’s something every software company should count on.
What bothers me much more is new category of people, who think that they are smarter than all groups mentioned above: OEM Dealers. They decide to use cracked versions of software (combined developer’s work and hacker’s special knowledge) and other people money and trust to sell software in half of the price.
Except them, everyone else is betrayed:
- developers lose money
- hackers feel that someone else is making a profit on their “job”
- and honest people think that they have purchased legal licences, while they are actually becomming pirates, getting all risks that come in the package, including possible legal consequences
Speaking as a founder of software company, we can take losing some money. No problem with that. And I personally don’t care about hacker’s feelings. But I do care about honest and innocent people thinking that they found a “great deal”, just to realize what’s behind it first time they contact technical support.
As OEM means buying software in package with some other product, these websites are obviously a fraud. So take our advice: don’t take the bait! Software companies sometimes run promotional deals (I know we do), so if you are desperate, ask and thou may receive. 🙂