Information Week goes beyond asking who would buy used tech gear, -the answer is pretty much everybody- and examines the real-world factors that drive hardware hungry equipment users to look for goods unauthorized by manufacturers, or the so-called "gray market" of counterfeit hardware, to look for bargains or just plain hard to find stuff.
Nearly 46% of respondents to our survey say they occasionally buy
secondhand equipment; 14% do so regularly. They buy used products
mainly to save money. Preowned gear can be had for as much as 90% off
list price, a tantalizing discount for budget-strapped IT departments,
which often see an opportunity to get more features or processing power than they could otherwise afford.
Vendors of secondhand equipment cite two other perks: speed of delivery
and availability of spare parts. Sheldon says he can get his hands on
just about any piece of Cisco hardware he could want in 48 hours.
As for how much less expensive certified refurbished equipment is
compared with brand-new gear, that's up for debate. Cisco says its
certified refurbished equipment is generally sold at 25% to 30% off
list price for current products and 35% to 70% off list for end-of-life
gear, equipment that's no longer being manufactured or supported.
The OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) always use the same pitch: our quality is higher, and our support is better. Maybe. But anyone that has ever waited a long time for an order from a company that treats anything but new sales as an annoyance, opened a box from that major manufacturer and found a trainwreck inside, and then spent the afternoon on the phone with someone in support using dubious English in a time zone far, far, away, knows exactly why many go to the unauthorized or gray market. It's cheaper, they hustle for your business, and you're more or less on your own anyway.