"A nice little earner" is how Arthur Daly would describe it. And it's legal.
Exploiting the difference between the full price and the upgrade price of most popular products - notably Microsoft's MS Office 97 - some resellers are encouraging buyers to buy an outdated version of a product to qualify for the cross-grade/upgrade version of the new Microsoft product. The price, if the outdated software is nominal, is generally between $10 and $15.
Steve Perkins, managing director of Software Library, has sold several hundred copies of Harvard Graphics to dealers that sell it on to end users who then qualify for the upgrade version of MS Office. The full price for MS Office is listed in Tech Pacific's catalogue for an RRP of $746 - the upgrade version is $369.
"So long as the end user keeps the copy of the software that qualifies him or her for the upgrade, it's all perfectly legal," said Perkins.
If the end user decides to sell the software, he/she also has to bundle in the original product that qualified for the upgrade version of the product.
Of more concern to Perkins is that some resellers are retailing the upgrade version for the price of the standard version. And that certainly is a nice little earner.