Stone Group has continued to build on its position as a source of refurbished kit after getting the official nod from Microsoft that it can install Windows 10 on PCs getting a second chance at life.
The channel player is one of only a handful that have been given Microsoft Authorised Refurbisher (MAR) status in the UK, enabling them to put the latest OS on refurbished hardware that it sells into the public and private sectors.
MAR status also gives Stone access to low-cost licences and direct support from Microsoft, with the possibility of marketing support around specific campaigns to drive sales of refurbished kit.
There is also an option for Stone to sell operating systems to other third-party refurbishers and help them adapt to the introduction next month of Digital Product Keys instead of Certificates of Authenticity.
“There is a longstanding and successful business relationship between Stone and Microsoft,” said Andrew Arnold, MAR lead for UK and Ireland at Microsoft. “Our mutual priorities in the growth of the refurbishment business and commitment to sustainable IT practices gives us a great opportunity to grow our partnership yet further.”
Over the past few months, Stone has been bolstering its position as a player in the asset disposal and refurbishment market with a tie-up with Ingram Micro Commerce & Lifecycle Services to bring its IT asset disposal excellence to France, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain.
Late last year, the firm also rolled out the Stone 360 app, which enabled customers to book a collection of their end-of-use IT equipment for secure and sustainable recycling and gain rebates to spend on new or refurbished kit.
Peter Berks, chief procurement officer at Stone Group, said it was good to become one of only five Microsoft MAR partners in the UK.
“With the continuous growth in our recycling numbers and investments to support this, it was vital that we worked towards this accreditation over the last few years,” he said. “I am grateful to Microsoft for granting us this opportunity. MAR status supports and underpins our sustainability strategy, demonstrating our commitment with Microsoft’s backing.
“Our focus on refurbishment, the Stone 360 app and our growth plans for this area align perfectly with the MAR programme’s focus on genuine licensing, sustainability and growth. As Microsoft invests and continues to develop in this area, we are in a unique position to take advantage, working in collaboration and forming a strong alliance, being first to pilot new programmes, and much more.”
Stone has carried out research that has charted increasing levels of interest from customers in buying refurbished kit. The firm shared findings back in March that showed 59% of organisations currently purchase refurbished hardware and a quarter purchase refurbished IT equipment where possible.
There were a mixture of reasons for the choice of refurbished, with environmental and value for money at the top of the list.
Tim Westbrook, director at Stone Group, said: “With 53.6 million metric tonnes of global e-waste generated in 2019 alone, we need to urgently reconsider how we think about, purchase and dispose of our IT.”