Responses to the Beltug Consultation on second-hand software licences

In March 2019, Beltug carried out a Consultation on second-hand licences. The text of the Consultation request was:



"Do you have experience with second-hand software licences?


Some of our members are interested in finding out about experiences of other companies with second-hand licences, including Microsoft.


1. Do you have experiences to share? (Bullet-style answers are fine.)

2. Can the members contact you about your experience?


Thank you very much for your contribution,


The Beltug team"



Below are some of the key responses are summarised and anonymised:



“Within our company, we have been using MS second-hand licences for a few years. We purchase them in Germany at a price that is cheaper than the ‘official’ prices. We had a Microsoft Audit and the second-hand licences were accepted.”


“The big milestone was the decision of the European Court of Justice: . These principles are currently being tested again (and may be overturned) by the EU court of justice (CJEU) in the Tom Kabinet case (Case C-263/18 lodged on 16 April 2018).


You need to consider:  


 “I have a negative experience to share: an organisation bought 20 MS Office Professional Plus 2016 licences, but they needed to be installed manually and could not easily be deployed.”


“We have purchased second-hand Microsoft licences.  These are cheaper than new ones (even compared to the discount from an enterprise-level agreement) and are especially interesting for environments with ‘old’ versions (Windows XP, SQL2000, etc.) where the software guarantee is not important and normal execution/follow-up from a Microsoft Enterprise Agreement is difficult to organise (strong separation).  There is more supply of recent licence versions compared to very-old versions, though, so it was more cost-effective to buy a more recent version and then downgrade it to the version we needed, rather than buying the matching older version itself. The purchasing process itself follows standard commercial processes.”




In addition to the Consultation question on second-hand Microsoft licences, some participants were also interested in other licences:



"We are interested in sharing experiences on buying second-hand licences for ERP applications, in particular SAP."






Based on the responses we received and discussions with various members, we can make the following conclusions: