You are correct in what you say.
After I purchased an OEM version I felt a little guilty, but I was lucky that the install worked fine. I'm a little wiser today, after reading up on the MS website.
However, I couple things that you mention did not actually occur.
1) After installing Office and the SP2 disc that came with it, I was able to activate & register the product. Then Windows Update notified me of 8 patches for Office. I downloaded the ActiveX, it checked for an authentic version and the patches installed no problem. So technically, I may have received this product "illegally", but it is 100% genuine. If I gave this exact CD pak to DELL and they installed it on a system and sold the system to me, it would have been legal. But the end result and performance of the product would have been exactly the same.
2) I did some research on the Microsoft website for legitimite re-sellers. I looked at one of the sellers' website and they were selling OEM software on the open market. Some of them were using a "loophole" by including a non-periferal piece of hardware with the OEM CD rather than a full system. And these are re-sellers that were on the "approved list" from Microsoft.
An OEM CD does not know whether a system builder at DELL or Joe Average in Apt. 415 is installing an OEM version in their computer (at least I don't think so). So if Microsoft wants to stop you & I from buying OEM software as a stand-alone, maybe they should put some code on their CD's to only allow a system builder to install it. How, I don't know....but MS is a multi-billion $$ company, I'm sure they can figure it out.
I won't buy OEM software again. As I said before, I agree, it is illegal and the risks can be too great. I was lucky this time. However, MS Office is way overpriced on the Retail market and no retailer wants to dare undercut anyone even by $20. So, it's tough finding a really good deal on current retail software prices, even online. If anyone knows of a legitimate site, please let me know.
Finally, here's a very interesting article regarding the "first sales doctrate". Now, it's an old article but it basically talks about a court judge ruling that "if you never install the software, you can sell it legally regardless of what the EULA states, and I assume this involes OEM software as well.http://www.linuxjournal.com/article/5628
I'm not sure if this ruling still holds as of this day.
I don't want to create an endless thread of back-and-forth debate over legal stuff, but just to show you that Im2smug is exactly right.....selling OEM software as a standalone product is grey market software