Microsoft is asking OEMs to dob in their competitors over software piracy.
But if OEMs spoken to by Reseller News are any guide, Microsoft's appeal will be met with a deafening silence.
Although they support Microsoft's antipiracy drive, OEMs say they are unlikely to hear of competitors who are pirating software and have plenty of their own problems to deal with.
"We tend to mind our own business and be concerned with the direction we're heading rather than interfering in other people's business," says just departed Total Peripherals Group New Zealand manager Jullie Jeal.
John Gould, director of Ultra Computer Company, says the chances of his company coming across an OEM that is pirating software are minimal: "We certainly don't condone piracy. We wouldn't do it. I can't think of any OEMs who we're close to who do."
Gould says he does hear from dealers who suspect a competitor is pirating because of low prices that dealer is offering. "I've had the odd dealer complain of competitors loading software very cheaply in the past. They'll swear their competitor is up to something. So from our point of view it's more from the reseller side," he says.
According to Microsoft's OEM manager, Brett Roberts, while most OEMs are "straight up and down", there are just a few guys out there that screw it up for the rest.
"I need to know from the good OEMs who the bad guys are and we'll sort them out. I want to make sure the good guys are rewarded for doing the right thing," Roberts says.
He claims OEM and reseller losses through piracy amount to $40 million a year. He says Microsoft only has a limited number of people on the street so if nobody tells, then it will not find out who the pirates are.
But Roberts says he has no carrots to wave in the faces of honest OEMs.
"You don't reward people for obeying the law. The smart thing is if the piracy level decreases people's business improves," he says.