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Microsoft Announces PC Refurbishment Program for 133 Countries across Europe, the Middle East and Africa

Published 04-07-04

Submitted by Microsoft

PARIS - Microsoft announced today a program to establish a vibrant community of computer refurbishers across 133 countries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) who will be authorized to re-install its Windows operating system in donated pre-used PCs destined for schools, charities, non-profit organizations and under-served communities.

Through The Microsoft Authorized Refurbishers (MAR) program, Microsoft is authorizing commercial, public and non-profit computer refurbishers across EMEA and has initiated a recruitment drive for the program.

Computers donated by large companies are typically three years old and the MAR program upgrades the software to newer versions of Windows that donated PCs can support, for a nominal charge that covers materials and program operations.

Through the EMEA MAR program, Microsoft will provide re-installation of Windows 98 Second Edition and Windows 2000 Professional in over 18 languages. The refurbished PCs will be accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity (COA) and a special End User Licence as evidence of a legally installed operating system.

The MAR program complements Microsoft Unlimited Potential, a global initiative designed to promote digital inclusion through education, lifelong learning and IT skills development. Through MAR, community technology learning centres funded by Unlimited Potential will be able to increase their technology capacity through access to low-cost computer hardware and software.

"The MAR program builds on pilots in Norway, the Netherlands and South Africa, and a successful four year initiative in the UK that has provided more than 12,000 Windows licenses. In the last 12 months alone refurbished PCs re-installed with Windows have been supplied to more than 1,000 UK schools, colleges and charities," says Jean Philippe Courtois, CEO Microsoft EMEA.

"Many communities are prevented from realising their full potential by a lack of access to affordable technology. The EMEA MAR program is a key component of our company's commitment to digital inclusion, education and lifelong learning," he adds.

Elena Bonfiglioli, Microsoft EMEA Corporate Social Responsibility and Community Affairs director adds: "By working with refurbishers we are extending the life-cycle of otherwise redundant PCs. It is a core element of our social and environmental responsibility. On the one side to maximise IT access in schools and community centres to support more education for all; on the other side to minimise the environmental impact of redundant hardware."

Jan Tallis is Chief Executive of Tools for Schools, one of the largest educational IT recycling projects in the UK dedicated to getting the latest technology to those who need it most - pupils. "We are delighted to support Microsoft in promoting this change which will make life so much simpler for our donors and ourselves but, much more importantly, it will mean that schools and educational projects will get access to vital information technology resources.''

Mr. Damaseb, headmaster at Eden Primary School, Namibia, which has already benefited from a MAR pilot program, says: "Not only has Microsoft enabled us to utilise our first computer laboratory through this program but through Microsoft software we are also able to give our students the same experience as students in Western Europe."

Lyndall de Marco is executive director of Digital Partnership, an organization part of the International Business Leaders Forum dedicated to bringing public and private sector partners together to close the "digital divide". In her view "The EMEA MAR program is an important initiative from Microsoft because it develops a network of quality refurbishers who will in turn ensure that professionally refurbished computers are an essential component in bridging the digital divide."

Commenting on the Dutch MAR pilot program, Joep van Loon, managing director of Flection International b.v., said: "As a refurbisher we recognize there is a very real demand throughout the region for refurbished computers. When Microsoft asked us to partner with them for the MAR pilot we were very happy to help. We are delighted that Microsoft has created an efficient and cost-effective process to licence Windows."

''The launch of the new EMEA MAR program will be welcomed by the many needy educational and charitable organizations that will benefit from this across the region," says Gerry Hackett, managing director of IT asset management company RDC based in the UK and Germany. "It is a great demonstration of Microsoft's corporate social responsibility. As a Microsoft Authorized Refurbisher RDC is keen to work to ensure the greatest success for the program."

About MAR

Organizations, both commercial and non-profit, are able to apply to join the MAR program by accessing Microsoft's EMEA MAR website at:

Terms and conditions determining who may receive refurbished computers under the MAR program. Currently they are limited to educational establishments and charities/non-profit organizations.

Other Microsoft initiatives designed to promote digital inclusion through education, lifelong learning and IT skills development include:

  • Unlimited Potential - global program that focuses on improving lifelong learning for underserved young people and adults by providing technology skills through community-based organizations around the world.
  • Partners in Learning (PiL) - our global program targeted at increasing access to technology in the classroom.
  • In support of PiL, our program Fresh Start for PCs provides Microsoft software installation CDs and license at no cost to primary and secondary schools utilising donated computers.
  • Digital Inclusion Fund - The MAR program runs on a cost-recovery basis in which refurbishers pay a small administrative fee for license materials and MAR program operations. Any surplus funds generated will be placed in a Digital Inclusion Fund to be used in (a) support of refurbishment activities and projects in the EMEA region and (b) support of community projects in the EMEA region.

About Microsoft

Microsoft began its philanthropic activities in 1983, and it was one of the first philanthropic efforts in the high-tech industry. Microsoft Unlimited Potential is a global program that focuses on improving lifelong learning for under-served young people and adults by providing technology skills through Community Technology learning Centres (CTLC). Microsoft believes that by providing the necessary training and tools, it will help create social and economic opportunities that can transform communities and enable people to realize their potential. More information can be found at

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT'') is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software -- any time, any place and on any device.


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Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

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