Windows 10 and Microsoft Office, cheaper for hundreds of euros and easy at the supermarket checkout: The little-known company Lizengo and its incredible range made headlines last summer. Now there was an unpleasant surprise for the company.
The deal seemed too good to be true. While you can quickly pay hundreds of euros for licenses for Microsoft products such as Windows 10 or Microsoft Office, the supermarket chain Edeka offered them in addition to the Amazon and Netflix vouchers at the cash register at a low price. Already at the first reports last summer he warned star before the possible problems for customers. Now there are the first legal consequences for the distributor Lizengo.
“Heise” reports that the private and office rooms of the management in Cologne were searched by the criminal police last Tuesday. The criminal complaint had therefore been made directly by Microsoft, the software giant accuses the key dealer of fraud. According to the report, the public prosecutor’s office confirmed the search, but did not want to comment specifically on the accused due to ongoing investigations. It is about “investigations at an online retailer” who have sold license keys for programs “without having granted buyers an actual right to use the computer programs.”
Business model with open questions
This is exactly what Microsoft accuses Lizengo of. The keys that the dealer sold online in addition to the supermarkets came from overstocks from large customers who had purchased more licenses than they needed, Lizengo explained last year. Company licenses often contain usage rights for hundreds of computers. The company then bought these keys in large quantities and then offered them itself.
Microsoft initially reacted cautiously and pointed out that having a key does not necessarily mean a valid license. Product keys are not synonymous with a usage license, the company explained. “They only serve to ensure that the customer who has already received the right to use a computer program can install and activate it,” Microsoft explained to “Heise”. The apartment key does not replace the rental agreement either, the company illustrated last summer.
Licenses were already used
Microsoft then encountered inconsistencies in an examination of the keys. According to this, some of the randomly examined keys have already been activated in order to activate programs. And that before the key was put up for sale by Lizengo. So the license was already being used by someone when the key landed in stores. Microsoft decided to take legal action. According to “Heise”, the company did not want to comment on the current investigations.
Lizengo also confirmed that there was a civil case. The company is only named as a witness in the criminal proceedings. However, companies are not prosecuted in Germany; the investigations are always directed against individuals.
The business of keys
The company is not alone with its approach, other sites also offer software keys at bargain prices, and keys are also repeatedly found on Ebay and other platforms. Lizengo was an outlier because the company was the first to get its offerings into stores. After the press reports, however, Edeka was no longer entirely at ease with the business: In October last year, Lizengo and the supermarket chain ended their cooperation. At that time Lizengo had emphasized that legal problems were not responsible for the end.
It remains to be seen what the determination of cheap keys means for customers. Theoretically, Microsoft could block the keys, but then the legitimate owners of the license would also be affected. Anyone who purchased a key from the offer should nevertheless consider acquiring a valid license for the program in order to prevent possible problems. And Windows and Office are guaranteed to be legally clean to use.
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