17 Aug 2022



Used Software

Why more and more companies are discovering and benefiting from the advantages of second-hand software

The European market for pre-owned software has developed very dynamically in recent years and continues to do so. Following a landmark EU Court of Justice ruling on the lawful use of second-hand software, the estimated market volume rose from around 15 to well over 60 million Euros in the period from 2012 to 2019 alone. Germany is by far the strongest sales market within the EU. No wonder, high savings can be achieved when buying used software licences and additional income can be generated when selling them, which contributes measurably to the company result. 

In this blog post we explain how this works in a legally compliant way, with a transparent licence chain and how your company can also profit from trading with second-hand software. 

Trade with second-hand software - successful only with needs analysis

First of all, a precise analysis of the status quo in the area of your software asset management should be carried out in order to determine existing and required capacities and to uncover the resulting optimisation potential. What equipment is required at which workplaces? What is available, what is needed and what is oversized or undersized? In addition, there is the forecast of your future software needs. Both your own corporate planning and the expected developments on the manufacturer side play a decisive role here. The key figures obtained in this way form the basis for determining and subsequently realising the optimisation potential in your company through trade in second-hand software.

What you should bear in mind when buying or selling second-hand software licences

When buying or selling used software in the European market, the following criteria are decisive and their observance is indispensable so that all software licences are transferred in a legally secure manner, a manufacturer audit is mastered without any problems and a resale is possible at any time:  

  1. The software was placed on the market in the territory of the EU or another contracting state of the European Economic Area (EEA) at the time of first sale with the consent of the manufacturer.
  2. The software licences are perpetual and the licence chain, including security patches and updates, is fully and completely documented. 
  3. All previous owners of the used software licences must have demonstrably permanently deleted their respective copies on their computers.

PREO - Your partner in trading with second-hand software

As a pioneer in the trade with second-hand software, PREO supports you from the very beginning and advises you on all questions concerning the purchase and sale of second-hand software licences. PREO guarantees you a legally verified transfer for all licence products offered as well as transparent, complete and thus audit-proof documentation. In addition, PREO will be happy to advise you on the licensing optimisation of your software projects in your company.


Refrain from experiments and do not buy software licences whose origin cannot be clearly proven and whose licence chain is not fully documented. Cheap can quickly become expensive here. Especially the big software players, such as Microsoft, pursue such cases vigorously, which can lead to high fines.

That's why more and more IT managers rely on second-hand software

In the past 10 years alone, the sales volume of the used software market in Europe has more than quadrupled and the market potential is far from exhausted. Current estimates put the volume at around 1.4 billion euros, whereby more and more IT managers are discovering the previously untapped potential in the trade with second-hand software. The reasons are usually the same across industries and companies:

  • Advantage 1 - Direct cost savings: Particularly with common standard software, such as used MS Office licences, savings of up to 70 percent can be achieved compared to the latest manufacturer version. 
  • Advantage 2 - More efficient use of the IT budget: The entire digitalisation of company processes and business procedures requires regular investments in the IT infrastructure even from smaller medium-sized companies. The need for investment grows with the size of the company. This makes it all the more important to regularly review the software equipment and to identify and consistently use savings potential or refinancing options. 
  • Advantage 3 - Avoiding overcapacity in digital workplace equipment: A company-wide software rollout with hardly or not at all required functions is uneconomical if previous versions are already more than sufficient for processing daily business processes.
  • Advantage 4 - Less user support and training effort: As a rule, older software is much more mature. It has usually already been updated several times, runs more stably and the applications are better known, especially with standard programmes such as MS Office. This relieves your user support and reduces the effort for internal training.

Convincing arguments and therefore no surprise that enquiries from potential customers as well as the development of our existing business also confirm this growth trend at PREO. 

Trade with second-hand software for small and medium-sized enterprises 

How Swedex GmbH from Essen saved around 100,000 Euros in licensing costs compared to the cloud solution with second-hand, audit-proof Microsoft products from PREO.  


The cloud model can increase software costs unexpectedly. Swedex also made this experience and came across the possibility of used software in its search for savings potential. The Essen-based company did not want to compromise on security, functionality and installation.


Swedex opts out of the Microsoft cloud model after three years and opts for pre-owned software from PREO. The purchased server and office licences are installed quickly and easily and are in no way inferior to new software in terms of functionality.


The IT manager had not expected the amount of potential savings. Staying in the cloud would have cost around 400,000 Euros over the next three years. The savings advantage in terms of licence costs is around 100,000 Euros. The second-hand licences cost only 47% compared to new goods. PREO provides 100% audit security for the licences.

Interested in the complete case? Click here to go to the download area with this and other company successes through the trade of second-hand software.

Your PREO advantages when trading with pre-owned software

You are looking for a strong and experienced partner who will advise you and your company holistically in the area of software asset management and licensing law when trading in second-hand software and support you right from the start. Then PREO is the right partner for you. We offer you:

  • Personal advice on all questions relating to licence transactions or the integration of used software licences into a hybrid software architecture with a cloud combination. 
  • Legally and audit-proof licence acquisition with maximum transparency of all processing steps. 
  • The expertise from the legally secure transfers of well over one million software licences.
  • The capacity to manage large software projects with thousands of workstations and various locations.
  • The experience of 15 years in the European trade with second-hand software and the innovative strength of a pioneer in a young, dynamic market environment.

It all sounds promising, but something still makes you hesitate. Then our reference projects for numerous well-known companies should convince you.

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