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Summary:

I reported yesterday that computer reseller Dynamism is offering the Tablet Edition as an option on the Sony UX Micro PC line they are selling, a fact that surprised me.  I was not aware that Microsoft had an OEM version of the Tablet Edition that could […]

I reported yesterday that computer reseller Dynamism is offering the Tablet Edition as an option on the Sony UX Micro PC line they are selling, a fact that surprised me.  I was not aware that Microsoft had an OEM version of the Tablet Edition that could be licensed and sold on its own so a little digging has shed more light on the subject.  A Froogle search for “tablet xp oem” shows a long list of computer resellers that are offering the OEM version of the Windows XP Tablet Edition 2005 operating system.  There are two versions available, a single license version and a “3–pack”.  The single license version is going for around $160 and the 3–pack for about $450.  Interestingly, I couldn’t find any of the listed resellers showing the 1–pack in stock but all had the 3–pack ready to ship.

I was curious about what requirements Microsoft has put on the resellers to qualify for selling the license so I drilled down to see what restrictions there might be.  On the ProVantage web site, they offered a link to describe what qualifies for an OEM license and clicking it took me to the Microsoft OEM System Builder web site where I hoped to find out about any restrictions for the license.  The MS site required a login to access all of the information on the site and since I am not an OEM I couldn’t access it.  There is a fair amount of information that is available without registration and I was surprised to see no Tablet Edition on the list of operating systems available under Windows.  All of this indicates that it is not possible for end-users who want to upgrade their touch-screen PCs to the Tablet Edition to do so with these OEM licenses.  I believe you have to be a reseller or OEM to qualify for the license, but if anyone has any information to add about this please chime in.  One of the most frequent questions I am asked by ultra-portable computer owners is whether they can license the Tablet Edition and as far as I can tell the answer is no.

  1. Vendors often stretch and twist the OEM requirements… for example, if you bought any piece of PC equipment such as an IDE cable you were able to buy Windows Media Center Edition OEM. Though more recently, NewEgg seems to sell quite a bit of OEM stuff without requiring additional components to prove you’re building something. Many folks have picked up MCE to run on their existing hardware without probs. And it looks like Buy.com has the Tablet OEM version for sale: http://www.buy.com/retail/product.asp?loc=105&sku=202859090

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  2. So far that’s what I have seen, you can buy any OEM software when you are buying any PC Parts.

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  3. This is relatively new though as previously MS has never allowed the Tablet Edition to be sold retail. The only way to get it was either be an OEM actually making Tablet PCs or to buy a Tablet PC. This is a big change in philosophy, apparently.

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  4. I’ve seen this for the past year or two with the MCE of XP, but this is the first I’ve seen for the Tablet PC Edition. I’m wondering if Microsoft is quietly changing their philosophy since Vista will include Tablet PC functionality in most versions.

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