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Should you buy an OEM * version of WordPerfect from an Internet source?
* Original Equipment Manufacturer
There are several reasons why you should
not consider buying an OEM version of WordPerfect
Office, unless it comes bundled with a new computer (in which case it
was virtually free of charge to you).
OEM editions -- the "CD/DVD only" or "purchase a registration key (or serial number)" software you
often see for a few dollars on eBay,
etc. -- usually are
missing useful (some would say, critical) third-party, add-on
utility programs. They might even be missing many fonts, graphics,
etc., that Corel includes with various editions of WordPerfect Office.
OEM editions have special serial numbers.
A December 2013 post on
OfficeCommunity.com indicates that serial numbers that start with
WP??B22 are OEM editions ("??" = major version number, such as 17 for WPOX7, 18 for WPOX8, etc.).
Using an OEM serial number when attempting to
install a downloaded version from the Corel site will cause the installation to
fail because it -- like the Home and Student, Academic, and Not for Resale editions -- is NOT eligible for an upgrade.
Hence, if you purchase
a download version on the Internet, it's best to stick with a
well-known retailer like Amazon.com (look for "ships from" in the description), who presumably has an actual
business relationship with Corel and do not sell OEM editions.
few) resellers on Amazon seem to try selling OEM products with images
and descriptions that make the product seem legitimate. I suppose if
enough buyers complain then Amazon will investigate; such practices are
not something a company will want to be associated with.
Remember the old saying that "if it sounds too good to be true it probably is."
(Also note that you can usually buy a Home and Student edition very inexpensively on Amazon; see Notes below.)
To explain further:
The particular items that may be included in an OEM version vary from one computer seller to another. Most often, many add-on "utility" programs are omitted.
Why? OEM versions are packaged with computers because computer manufacturers want to add "value" to their products, and they want to do so as cheaply as possible. It's a matter of economics to them.
So it is the computer manufacturer, not Corel, who decides which utility programs they will bundle with WordPerfect on their computers. Since these add-on programs are licensed by Corel from third parties, omitting them saves the computer manufacturer money when they, in turn, license their OEM bundle from Corel.
Note that some program features might also be removed to produce something like a trial version, since Corel (or any software vendor) will want you to upgrade at some point to the full version. They are, after all, in the business of making a profit. No profit, no company, no product.
This leads to another little-understood fact
about of this business: OEM versions are not supported by Corel
but by the computer manufacturer -- and they are notorious for
denying support for a program they know very little about.
Corel probably will refer you to the computer seller, who probably will refer you back to Corel. Around you go, trying to find help. (If you are caught in this loop, try the forums at Corel's OfficeCommunity or the peer-support site WordPerfect Universe for help.)
On top of all of this is the fact that Corel-issued Service Packs (i.e., program "updates" or "patches") might not be issued for some OEM versions. If you have one of those OEM versions you might -- or might not -- be able to update it to fix some bugs or improve some features.
[From a post on a Corel newsgroup:]
Selling, buying, and/or installing OEM copies of WordPerfect Office, separate from the PC or peripheral for which the OEM copy was licensed, constitutes "...trademark infringement, copyright infringement and inducing copyright infringement, and may result in civil penalties against the seller as well as the End User".
[From a post on WordPerfect Universe by a Corel manager:]
Corel software products are protected by U.S. and Canadian copyright laws. Corel software products are licensed, not sold, to you as the end user. Your use of Corel software is subject, at all times, to the in-product end user license agreement. Corel Corporation and its licensors own all copyrights and related intellectual property rights in Corel software products; it is copyright infringement to make a copy of a protected work without the copyright owner's permission. Unless you have a valid separate and fully executed license agreement with Corel Corporation, you may not sell, resell, rent, lease, loan, copy, and/or distribute Corel software (or any portion or component in any Corel software product) in your possession or under your control to any person or entity. Corel asks that you respect such copyrights and other intellectual property rights in our software products.
Moreover, as Jan Berinstein (owner and moderator of WordPerfect Universe) said:
Think of an OEM version as a special sample of
the WordPerfect program that came bundled with the computer you bought.
If you like it you should uninstall it and get a full, retail (i.e., legitimately boxed or downloaded) version from Corel or well-known retailer such as Amazon (see Reason #1 above). You will be much happier with the full product -- which still will be less expensive than competing products.