Secondhand Software a Threat for Tech Industry

EU court ruling paves the way for sales of previously owned software.

As chief of computer systems for Berliner Volksbank, Joerg Bauske has long been dismayed at the amount he spends on software. Now he says he’s found an easy way to cut costs dramatically: Buying used programs.

Bauske plans to upgrade the regional savings bank’s copies of Microsoft Corp.’s Windows Server with secondhand copies purchased from a broker called Preo Software AG.

Bayer, Magna

Bayer Business Services, Bayer’s IT branch, says it is re- evaluating the use of secondhand software following the ECJ verdict. Magna declined to comment. Edeka didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Maintenance Model

While the most commonly traded programs have been Microsoft’s Windows and Office and Adobe’s Photoshop, makers of specialized business software have also fought resellers. A Dusseldorf court ordered SAP AG in 2009 to stop telling a prospective buyer it would violate the law by purchasing pre-owned licenses.

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