Improperly licensed software being installed on refurbished PCs by unscrupulous dealers not only puts purchasers at risk and deprives them of the benefits of being a legitimate software licensee, but also makes it difficult for legitimate refurbishers to compete effectively against pirate prices. In response to concerns expressed by legitimate refurbishers worldwide, and as another measure being taken to thwart software piracy, Microsoft launched the Microsoft Authorized Refurbisher (MAR) program. Under the program, a refurbished and re-licensed PC would typically get the latest version of whatever operating system was previously installed, as well as a new Certificate of Authenticity to attach to the PC that reflects the unique product ID for the newly licensed software. "Microsoft Canada tracks about 3,000 technology partners across Canada, and more and more we are seeing those partners selling used equipment as an option for their customers," says Robert Santin, Director, OEM Business Development & Strategy at Microsoft Canada. The MAR program gives authorized partners a cost-effective alternative for re-licensing refurbished PCs with genuine Microsoft software–a lower price point makes refurbishment more viable by enabling refurbishers to compete more effectively. For purchasers, the MAR program offers a visible 'assurance' program–they can see the MAR license and CoA sticker, so they know the reseller has a direct relationship with Microsoft and that the software installed on their refurbished computers is properly licensed and offers the same level of performance they would expect when purchasing brand new machines. One Microsoft partner, Compugen Finance, which acquires and refurbishes tier-one equipment as part of its IT asset reuse and recycling program, was authorized as Microsoft's first MAR in Canada. Items that can be refurbished, made warrantable and put back into service are sold to the education market, small businesses and major chains such as The Source, for example, where consumers can pick up excellent value in used equipment as well as in new PCs. "The MAR program makes it easier for us to show customers that their purchases are fully legitimate, warranted and they are protected down the road," says Kevin Luff, Vice President of The Source. "We back what we sell, and Compugen makes it easy for us to do this with the refurbished equipment they provide."
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