back to article Microsoft licence cops kick in TWICE as many customers' doors as rivals

Microsoft audited far more customers on software licensing than its rivals managed during 2012 - and Redmond is expected to turn the screws further over the next two years. Redmond’s compliance troops swooped on 51 per cent of enterprises and partners polled for the 2012 Software Pricing and Licensing Survey by IDC and …

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  1. g e
    Holmes

    Install Linux and let 'em come

    Esp with the new Samba 4 fully supporting Active Directory.

    1. NomNomNom
      Stop

      Re: Install Linux and let 'em come

      does simba 4 support Excel?

      didn't think so.

      1. The BigYin

        Re: Install Linux and let 'em come

        If by "support" you mean "provide network shares and other services that Excel could consume" then the answer AIUI is "Yes".

        More to the point, Excel barely supports Excel at times!

        1. Miek
          Linux

          Re: Install Linux and let 'em come

          Excel is for those who don't know how to use database software.

          1. Marvin the Martian
            Meh

            database software.

            You're thinking of Access, not Excel.

            1. Miek
              Linux

              Re: database software.

              "You're thinking of Access, not Excel" -- The same could be said of Access, but, I see Excel used where a database solution would be ideal too often. Just look at the complex shit NoNomNom is doing with server side and client side spreadsheets, I mean WTF? One web interface, one database behind it; Job Done.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Database?

              95% of my customers use Excel to make tables, not for calculating spreadsheets. Excel's popularity may say more about Word's abysmal support for tables than about Excel's indispensability.

            3. JeffyPooh Silver badge
              Pint

              Re: database software.

              No, he's got a valid point.

              Something like 99.44% (<- made up, probably about a third) of all MS-Excel files used in business are just being used as tables or "data bases".

              Companies hit with huge settlement demands for innocent behaviour should make a counter offer of the same figure as a discount (net zero); with the threat of a move to open source to slash the following year's fees.

              1. xj25vm
                Thumb Down

                Re: database software.

                Assuming you are not trolling:

                "Companies hit with huge settlement demands for innocent behaviour" - well, if they are hit with settlement demands, it means they are already (allegedly) using unlicensed software, otherwise what would be the basis for those settlement demands. And using unlicensed software is not "innocent behaviour" - at least not according to current law - no matter what you or I think about it. If the demands are not founded, then there is no need for a counter offer - just refuse to pay and prove the demands are wrong.

                "should make a counter offer of the same figure as a discount (net zero); " - I'm not sure you are in an ideal position to make a counter offer after (allegedly) committing a criminal act. If they are right and you have already been using their software, you already owe them money.

                I like Linux and open/free software, I use it every chance I get and I recommend it to all my clients every time it can be reasonably deployed. However, I don't suggest to my clients that they start taking liberties with commercial software license terms or outright pirate stuff, just because I might not be a fan of what proprietary software represents or is. As far as I'm concerned, if you don't like it (or its price), don't use it - which is what I do and suggest my clients do every chance they get. I don't like the price of Ferrari's, and hence haven't bought one :D

            4. Paul 129
              Facepalm

              OMG

              The number of people who would fall for that. Yes we will ditch MS and then want to use the spawn from hell software that got us into the whole mess in the first place.

              Had to do a mail merge from a sqlite db recently. Ok so I haven't done this stuff for 10+ years. What do I have available Office 2007, and can find a ODBC driver for sqlite. So I should be able to do this. Hurdle 1 its a 64 bit win7 so have to register the odbc via the 32 bit odbc manager that is only available from the windows directory. Ok mail merge, hang on, office needs to get its data via DDE? So I need to have Access Installed?!? Even though office recognizes the odbc connection?!? So the job is going to cost my time plus the office upgrade. Well its a personal job, "She who has to be obeyed", her accounting practice. My time will cost about as much as getting Access.

              Angry I build the whole thing in Libre Office. Even though I'm unfamiliar with Libre Office, it takes less time to build the whole shebang from scratch than it did to get as far as I did with MS, and its working on linux and windows, its portable to other machines in the office, no additional licenses. Sure I lost out on time I essentially built it twice, but I wont be doing that in the future.

              Libre Office FTW

            5. Vic

              Re: database software.

              > You're thinking of Access, not Excel.

              No, he's not...

              I've lost count of the number of times I've seen Excel used to manage a database, just becuase it can display things in a tabular format :-(

              Vic.

          2. Narlaquin
            Facepalm

            Re: Install Linux and let 'em come

            Where I work, Excel is for those who don't know what the "Word" icon looks like.

        2. NomNomNom

          Re: Install Linux and let 'em come

          i have server spreadsheets and client spreadsheets and all communication between client and server is done via email with request and response spreadsheets attached. An outlook plugin written in vbscript is installed at both ends and drives windows batch files which regenerate the server and client spreadsheets.

          Will this run on linux?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Install Linux and let 'em come

            No it won't

            Congratulations, you have locked yourself into a single source solution.

            Don't moan when they put their prices up, you have made your bed now sleep in it.

          2. tuxtester

            Re: Install Linux and let 'em come

            So outlook + vbScript are getting data from a database and recreating a spread sheet when the user opens the e-mail ... that don't sound likely because unless the recipient opens the e-mail immediately, the data in the spread sheet could be out of date.

            Better solution would be to have a web page that gets and displays the data when the page is refreshed (auto or manual). No need to wait for someone to send an e-mail, you can check the data at any time.

          3. asdf Silver badge
            FAIL

            Re: Install Linux and let 'em come

            @NomNomNom wow with that kludge for a solution you probably still think you are a professional developer don't you? Fail. On the bright side its people like you why outside consultants/contractors can make a good living coming in and cleaning up legacy messes.

            1. Chris007
              Pint

              Re: Install Linux and let 'em come @asdf 12/12 1747 GMT

              Amen to that :)

          4. This post has been deleted by its author

          5. The BigYin

            Re: Install Linux and let 'em come

            "Will this run on linux?"

            No, but the fact the it runs on Windows is a triumph of pig-headedness over elegant design. Even access would have been a step-up from what you describe.

        3. Nigel 11
          Mushroom

          Re: Install Linux and let 'em come

          Openoffice anyone?

          Microsoft resorted to various dubious if not outright corrupt practices, in order to get its own Office file formats accepted as an international standard (OpenXML) alongside the Openoffice ones. Otherwise, Openoffice users would have been able to kick back by saying that our odt files are ISO standard, and your [xls, doc, ppt]x ones are not!

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standardization_of_Office_Open_XML

      2. yossarianuk

        Re: Install Linux and let 'em come

        No, but Libreoffice does.

        btw - Simba is from the Lion King...

        1. JDX Gold badge

          Re: Install Linux and let 'em come

          LibreOffice can open Excel documents but It doesn't support loads (any?) of the interop functionality.

      3. DAN*tastik
        Boffin

        @ NomNomNom - Re: Install Linux and let 'em come

        No, it doesn't support Excel, they are two completely different things.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samba_(software)

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Excel

      4. jonathanb Silver badge

        Re: Install Linux and let 'em come

        Yes, you can save Excel files on Samba shares. As far as Excel is concerned, it is just another drive letter it can save to, and it doesn't care what software brings that drive letter into existence.

      5. This post has been deleted by its author

      6. henrydddd
        Linux

        Re: Install Linux and let 'em come

        However, Linux does support Libre or Openoffice.

    2. The BigYin

      Re: Install Linux and let 'em come

      I came here to say something similar, but you can just ditch Windows and move to a GNU/Linux. There will be a lot of custom code that would need ported, assuming it can even be ported, and there may be show-stopper applications that can only run on Windows.

      It might be cheaper/easier to just cough for the fees, which should have been paid anyway!

      And, of course, depending on the nature of you business use MS may not demand license fees for their OS but licenses for the use of their patents; regardless of OS you are using.

      1. Fatman Silver badge

        RE: Re: Install Linux ... custom code

        Which for any organization, can be a show stopper.

        The question that needs to be answered is this: Do you still want to be locked into a Microsoft environment, or is it the time to get off that treadmill?

        The answer will vary depending on the needs of the organization. Some companies can not easily move as they are tied into proprietary software which does not exist for Linux (and does not run well under Wine), and can not find alternatives. These people are stuck. (I actually have a different word in mind, it begins with 'f".)

        WROK PALCE uses Linux, and we have re-written all in house apps to run on any platform. It was worth the expense. (Just tell the boss: "No more BSA audits that will end up costing the company $$$$$".)

    3. Combat Wombat
      FAIL

      Re: Install Linux and let 'em come

      Yeah, but have you read the release notes for Samba 4 ?

      Specifically the "known issues"

      DNS - Broken

      Replication - Broken

      http://www.samba.org/samba/history/samba-4.0.0.html

      Samba continues to suck out loud.

      I'll stick with MS thank you.

  2. pip25
    Unhappy

    How does this "audit" even work...?

    The Microsoft guys kick down your door and demand your licenses, or else? (Obviously not, but I also can't imagine the companies inviting them willingly.) How is that legally possible? Isn't anyone else unnerved that such a thing even exists...?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How does this "audit" even work...?

      There are various scams that they can use to get themselves invited.

      Especially with all the layoffs at present all they need to is to find a disgruntled employee who alleges that a company is a tad soft on license management and they have a claim they can progress. Add to that that their license management scams are complex enough to give an accountant headaches and you know that they can probably find enough cause to string you up publicly (the other scam they run - causing bad publicity), and an audit always costs you time and resources you would otherwise use to run a normal business.

      A classic example were the corporate licenses which make you in effect pay twice for the same thing - as soon as you create a corporate image to install on all machines you somehow can no longer use the fact that the box actually CAME with Windows installed (they may have sorted this out, I've switched quite a while back exactly because we also manage legal exposure).

      It's a very annoying extra problem you have with the use of Microsoft products..

    2. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

      Re: How does this "audit" even work...?

      Microsoft wants to do the same to us now, as with most of these (We had IBM last year) they will have a 3rd party carry out the audit on their behalf.

    3. pixl97

      Re: How does this "audit" even work...?

      It works like the movies. Some big guys in suits come in your business looking all scary with weapony looking lumps under their suits. They tell you that you have a really nice looking business and it would be a shame if anything 'happened' to it. If you cough up some cash then you'll continue to be safe until the next time they come around.

      Microsoft, partying like it's 1929!

      1. southpacificpom

        Re: How does this "audit" even work...?

        Yeah but it's not really a protection racket because the words "protection" and "Microsoft" are mutually exclusive.

    4. Amonynous

      Re: How does this "audit" even work...?

      If you're a business customer who has procured licensing through any sort of Microsoft volume agreement, you'll find that it contains clauses allowing Microsoft to conduct audits. It is legally possible because you, the customer, have agreed to it. Most license agreements with businesses contain similar provisions, other than perhaps low-value/box-product type licenses.

      The usual tactic is that the sales people will come in first and offer to help you against the nasty audit department, "over which they have no control and if we don't reach some kind of agreement you'll be audited and pay up to three times the value of missing licenses". Had exactly that tactic from IBM last year due to a previous manager (and the reseller) screwing up changes to legacy notes licensing in a bid to save money.

      They claimed we owed up to £170K, we did our homework and managed to get it down to the £30K that we actually owed, and got a discount from the reseller on that £30K as the screw-up was at least 50% their fault and they had no paperwork to prove otherwise.

      Have also been on the receiving end of two Microsoft 'SAM' engagements (i.e. reseller audits you for a fee before Microsoft goons kick the door in). Similar scenarios, "You're drastically underlicensed, this is going to cost six figures", "No we're not, turns out we owe maybe £10K and the discrepancy is well within the limits allowed by the Enterprise Agreement".

      Moral: Do your homework, keep digging and don't be FUD-ed in to paying a fortune to make the problem go away. (Unless you are deliberately under-licensed by some huge amount, in which case you deserve everything they throw at you).

    5. Tim99 Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: How does this "audit" even work...?

      "The Microsoft guys kick down your door and demand your licenses, or else? (Obviously not, but I also can't imagine the companies inviting them willingly.) How is that legally possible? Isn't anyone else unnerved that such a thing even exists...?"

      Microsoft's secret weapon is: 'Volume Licensing'.

      Once you have signed up, you have basically agreed that at anytime Microsoft can send somebody to rape your cat.

      I used to recommend to small businesses that they should consider OEM distributions on new kit to avoid this, and avoid buying any additional products. The cost was sometimes close enough that any extra 'savings' that they made would be negated by the difference in administration costs.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: How does this "audit" even work...?

        You don't even need to be on volume licensing for an audit to happen.

        Otherwise, most places that shun paying for software would not be covered and would be immune to any kind of enforcement.

        AIUI a court order can be gained authorising entry to business premises for the purposes of an audit. I have seen FAST do this - they operate on behalf of MS and other software houses.

        A very important term in these matters is 'due diligence' - even if you are woefully lacking in appropriate licensing, if you can produce an official-looking policy which outlines steps to become compliant, and can show that you are actioning it, then a court can be quite understanding, even lenient.

        1. Vic

          Re: How does this "audit" even work...?

          > a court order can be gained authorising entry to business premises

          In which jurisdiction?

          I'm pretty sure you'd need a Police Officer or Certificated Bailliff to execute any such order...

          Vic.

  3. Ged T
    Facepalm

    No Windows 8 licences? We don't believe you...

    Oh....

  4. Sandpit

    Given the number of business products Microsoft have out there its hardly surprising that they check more businesses. I would be more worried about a company that only had one product but still managed to "kick down the door" of so many businesses...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    That Microsoft Statement.....

    "These are not the droids you are looking for".

  6. NomNomNom

    how do we know that microsoft carries out more audits just because they kick down more doors? maybe it's competitors carry out as many audits but microsoft just has stronger feet than it's competitors or it's customers have weaker doors.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      RTFA.

      TSIA (The Title Says It All).

  7. Andy Roid McUser

    we were audited this year

    With two months wasted going back and forth with the agency Microsoft used to perform the audit and despite my claims backed with with hard evidence that our business had shrunk since the last time ms had visited us with no change to the architecture besides retirement of some systems, they still persisted like we were criminals. Thus to eventually make them go away I simply asked what they wanted from me and I settled for fifty quid worth of terminal server licenses for a system that no longer existed. It was cheaper to settle than to continue spending time on the audit. Scumbags. Treating sys admins like this ensures that the brand Microsoft will remain forever in the uncool bracket and drive adoption of alternative suppliers. The one thing I hate in life is people wasting my time combined with extortion.

    1. pixl97
      Mushroom

      Re: we were audited this year

      Maybe if enough people document this behavior the DOJ can bring a RICO suit against the bastards.

      1. pepper

        Re: we were audited this year

        I wonder how much they would like it if you would record everything on audio and video. Could be fun to see how they would react.

        1. Fatman Silver badge

          Re: ...record everything on audio and video...

          Every entrance to WROK PALCE contains a conspicuous notice stating that audio and video surveillance is employed.

          Also, there are more cameras (and microphones) than are visible. It is definitely a plus. BTW, that was 'pointed out' to the "agents" from the BSA, the last time they were here.

    2. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Re: we were audited this year

      Yeah, the bastards scammed me out of about $3500 worth of Microsoft Lync licences and CALs. (We were in fact running Office Communications Server, but that wasn't "okay," it had to be Lync. Long story.) After two months of pissing away days tryign to comply with thier insane requests, I ended up just paying the toll to get them to fsck off.

      Then moved to Openspark. Followed shortly thereafter by tearing out bloody everything MS that I can. 2013 will be interesting.

      Bastards.

      1. Fatman Silver badge

        Re: we were audited this year....tearing out bloody everything MS

        IF those bastards return next year, and you are absolutely certain that you are rid of all MS "product", you are in a better position to deal with them. Be sure that you check everything, including any spare hard drives, or retired computers.

        I know someone who got it up the ass because he replaced the hard drives in a few PC's and put the old ones "on the shelf". BSA "agent" 'claimed' piracy because the retired hard drives contained an O/S. Bastards.

        I would definitely run what I am about to suggest past your legal counsel first, as your local laws will cover how (nasty) you can be to them. If legal gives you the green light, just sit back and wait.

        Once they show up, and "complete the audit", finding no licensable "products", ""invite"" them to your office while a co-worker calls the police. Once the officer arrives, have him escort the "agent" from your premises; and issue a trespass warning. Follow up with notice to their superiors, that you are extending the trespass warning to all of their agents and employees. Where I live, violation of a trespass order is an arrestable offense.

        If they ever show up again, let them in, and call the police. When the officers arrive, have the trespass warning handy, and off to jail they go. Fuck 'em.

  8. Robert Grant

    Licence server

    Can't we automate away these expensive auditors already?

    1. Peter Simpson 1
      Happy

      Re: Licence server

      My company's IT folks do just that -- they have an inventory tool that enumerates the software installed on each PC, so they know (plus or minus one or two) which PCs have what software on them. They seem to have a pretty good handle on the Microsoft products they have (and a good relationship with Microsoft regarding the licenses, from what I hear)

      Maybe Microsoft sees that we have hard data to back up our claims and seeks greener, less well documented, pastures in which to graze?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    CLAs Up %15

    Now we are going to come round and use the thumb screws to make sure you pay.

  10. Neil Milner-Harris

    I've been audited

    3 times by Microsoft at 3 different companies (all SMEs). Each time the process has been the same and to be fair relatively painless. I would imagine if an organisation was fairly well organised with regard to managing their licencing assets and their hardware and software deployment processes that the audits could be a very simple report running exercise, it wasn't much more with us and we certainly could stand to be more organised in that regard.

    Also I've never had to cough up for licences I didn't need, only ones that should have been purchased and had been overlooked.

    Perhaps the issue here is more about the licencing compliance agency that gets involved rather than the MS audit process itself.

    1. Keep Refrigerated
      Boffin

      Re: I've been audited

      Using a tool like BMC's ADDM can take a lot of pain out of audits and give you something to bargain with. I work directly with companies doing inventory management on their enterprise software and can say it's no easy task, even when you have the hard data.

      A lot of companies go to great lengths to make their software licencing conditions fairly complex and obscure. Based on X number of cores, running Y process and Z disk size. Or tucking it away in distributed databases with non-unified credentials.

      Then there's companies like Microsoft who will completely change the terms of their licences every now and then in an attempt to make it more difficult to discover. I'm sure it should be illegal to modify licencing terms on software that is already purchased but this seems to be common practice in enterprise and enterprises pay up!

  11. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. NomNomNom

      The last place I worked one day Microsoft came abseiling through the roof and told everyone if they didn't each pay £1m they would all be shot. Everyone was shot but I managed to escape down a ravine.

      1. hplasm Silver badge
        Devil

        So, Nom^3...

        Either you admit MS are murdering extortionists, or you have lied to us.

        When did you stop beating your wife?

        1. NomNomNom

          Re: So, Nom^3...

          i haven't started beating her yet

          1. Fatman Silver badge
            Coat

            Re: So, Nom^3...i haven't started beating her yet

            The beatings shall continue, until the morale improves.

            WRT 'wife beating', be very careful of assuming all females are not capable of defending themselves. A certain guy named 'Bobbitt' found out the hard way.

            Oh, shit, the hard way, John Bobbitt!!!!!!!!

            I better get my coat.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    and in reality......

    Ummm, yeah. There is no way on gods earth that MS audits this many companies. I know cause I worked for them for a long time. Account teams have to have a damn good justification in place before they can request an audit of their customer. This 'report' has been created by some two bit company trying to make money off scaring customers that an audit is just around the corner.

    And in answer to some questions.....

    These are not actual audits. When you sign a Volume License Agreement, you give MS the right to audit you. Your choice. You sign a VLA to get cheaper licensing, but in return, as VL programs are essentially trust based, you agree that MS can audit your licensing. Interestingly MS can, under the contractual terms, insist on customers paying 'FPP' i.e ‘box product’ pricing for any licensing shortfall. This is not something that I have ever seen happen. These ‘reviews’ are almost always done by mutual consent. Sometimes grudging mutual consent, but very rarely does the ‘audit clause’ has to be legally invoked.

    However, lots of customers do end up paying for licenses after going through a ‘SAM review’. Now, these are big, in many cases global companies. They hire clever IT people and can afford excellent lawyers. So do you think that they are paying all this licensing $$ just to keep MS quiet....or do you, perhaps, think that they have actually deployed loads of software they have not actually paid for……….?

    And Andy McRoid. I do not believe you. I think that you have either got your facts wrong or are lying for dramatic effect. Either way, as a sys admin you are too junior to deal with a SAM review. Sys Admins generally cause software asset management issues through trying (and failing) to be clever around licensing. The issues they cause are almost always rectified at CIO/CTO level so I find it highly unlikely that you ‘agreed to pay 50 quid to make the problem go away’. You sure you are not getting a little confused with the BSA? Or maybe your story is actually a complete fabrication?

    1. localzuk
      Thumb Down

      Re: and in reality......

      Assumptions are the enemy of everyone. Why do you assume that Andy McRoid is too junior when you don't know the structure of the organisation in question? Here, I am the Sys admin and I am the person who has responsibility for licensing. Assuming there is a CIO or CTO is just that, an assumption based on your preconceptions of how all businesses run - they don't all run in that way.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: and in reality......

        You sign the POs for Software at your company? Nah, thought not.......your boss does. Or your bosses boss.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: and in reality......

          I do. We're a small setup..

    2. deadmonkey

      Re: and in reality......

      Erm, why does know it all AC only refer to VLA, surely these audits apply to SPLA too hence part of your assertion is pure bunkum?

    3. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Bullshit

      Microsoft has audited a number of SMEs I have as clients, with the only justification being "you have signed up for a Microsoft Open License for this one Microsoft product, that gives us the legal right to audit every piece of Microsoft software on your network."

      I was informed in each case – in no uncertain terms – that this was standard practice and that I could expect this every single year until the sum totality of the licensing for these locations was on a volume licensed SA agreement and every single system that might ever potentially have Windows, RDP into Windows, use a file stored on a Windows server or otherwise interact with another PC on the network that has Windows (or SQL, Exchange or any other Microsoft application) had SA licences and CALs.

      So don't give me "Microsoft has to have a damned good justification" bullshit. Microsoft's justification is that we are using OEM and/or retail licences on our systems instead of paying a subscription. That's all the justification they require.

      It's harassment bordering on extortion. End of.

  13. Idy
    Unhappy

    Never seen a SAM audit request before, but we've been asked to do one (And we are Microsoft Silver Partners!), and at least one of our clients have also received one, in the last month.

  14. Mondo the Magnificent
    Meh

    Some SMBs...

    ..take the "Install now and contemplate licensing later" approach.

    Not just on the Server products but also on the desktop OS and Office suites too, because they 'can get away with it' With so many KeyGen utlities being available, it makes it easier to get a system up and running "illegaly"

    MS are just doing due diligence, a little like those questionable characters who knock on your door and demand proof of a TV license, however the revenues that MS can recover are probably quite good. After all, no comapny ever wants to be named and shamed or possibly shitlisted over a few MS licence costs

    1. graeme leggett

      Re: Some SMBs...

      don't have to even keygen. Just reusing volume license keys beyond the number you've paid for. Or even on older software versions reusing a single installation key. And it doesn't have to be malicious just a slip of the memory when in a rush to do things.

      I think Spiceworks can handle comparing licenced software against what you think your've purchased and report shortfall, but I've never used that bit of it.

  15. This post has been deleted by its author

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft licence cops kick in TWICE as many customers' doors as rivals

    I used to kick in customers' doors, but then I took an arrow to the knee

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not just SMBs

    I have been told by a very senior guy at a large UK bank that 'we will pay you what we want for software and you will never dare audit us'. He knew damn well that they were not licensed properly. I will not discuss the outcome other than to note his assertion was not actually correct. It made me wonder what the bank in question would have said had I suggested that I just paid 10% of what I actually owed off my credit card bill and told them to go stuff themselves for the rest of the money. I doubt they would have liked that.

  18. Irongut

    I'm waiting for that SAM audit. We got a letter about 2 weeks ago saying they would contact us shortly and we would have 2 weeks to comply. Not heard anything from them yet and if they don't hurry up I'll be on Xmas holiday for 3 weeks.

  19. Lockwood
    Joke

    Microsoft is calling the audits Software Asset Management (SAM)

    Can this new Microsoft Sam say "honestly, the wasteman crotch goes soi soi soi soi soi soi soi"?

  20. JaitcH
    Happy

    We don't have licences, so there's nothing to audit and ...

    besides, we get all our software from the stores down the road, or PirateBay et al.

    A techie from the Plod (called Cong An - Peoples Police) arrives but they give everyone a few days notice so all our affairs are in order.

    We have some MS stuff, but all the companies in town share a pile of disks and they are switched from business to business in time for Plod to see them. They also check out satellite dishes are pointing in the direction of a VN satellite, which means we have to get the dish man in to realign the antennae on our favourite satellites. And all our passworded screen savers say Linux.

    The various levels of government use copy software, but MS is banned from inspecting them as they contain 'State Secrets'.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: We don't have licences, so there's nothing to audit and ...

      Actually, I'm toying with the idea to report the outfit I'm building myself in a few months. Anonymously, of course.

      I *want* them to go all the way legal to get inside and inspect - because there won't be a single piece of MS software around (it's all OSX and Linux based, and we won't use MS Office).

      You see, it's the cheapest way to get publicity :)

  21. Jon Freestone
    Thumb Down

    lots of SAM requests going on

    We have been through the SAM process, its not an audit as you provide the information and they did not visit site, but its defiantly not optional.

    For the most part I was painless, boxed retail or OEM software was easy peasy. Provided list of keys from our database plus scan/pics of a sample of the certificates. We now only by retail boxed products, to hell with downgrade options or SA subscriptions if they don’t simplify licensing.

    It was the e-licensing that was a nightmar, initially it was all passed, then when MS couldn't find enough faults they started pciking holes. MS didn’t even know what we had, even though it was there on the their portal. We had to go back and find all the invoices. Some of those are subscriptions are over 12 years old and even though we had paid every SA renewal and never let them lapse in that time we lost the right to that software, because we didnt have that origonal invoice.

    And the MSDN licensing was so complex as to make you go blind, this took us 9 months to get through. MS said “you are not licensed correctly!”, “okay what should we buy?” we reply, “you buy some more stuff, then we will tell you if its right” MS replied gruffly. “Oh really, why can’t you tell me the SKU and then we’ll go get it from our reseller?”

    If you get a SAM request, and everyone with an e-license, partner agreement, technet, MSDN, will then you have my sympathy. This is just a sales tool and they won't let you go until you have paid something thats clearly a % target of your total installed estate.

  22. John Crisp
    Pint

    Roll on year end

    31.12.12 My last Windows box (which IS licenced) goes out of the door. Hallelujah !

    No more worrying about licences. No more bills from Bill & his muckers. No more completely obscure undocumented crashes. No more support.m$.com No more 350Mb of drivers, 340mb of which is the 'help and consumables support program' (née spyware)

    Nope, Linux ain't Windows and you need a few skills and a bit of patience. It might not run everything out of the box. What you can't, you can usually emulate if need be. Some stuff you can even do with out, if you are honest... My nice little Canon scanner had to go. Very nice. But Windoze only driver. No great loss though. There are plenty more out there.

    Nope, it ain't nirvana. It's just another OS. Yes it has problems & bugs. Show me an OS that hasn't ???

    I was worried about moving, but it was worth every cent, and with a little careful planning it was easy - get staff using open oource stuff like Firefox/Thunderbird etc on Windows beforehand eases the transition.

    Best of all was the satisfaction from getting out from under the straightjacket of M$. AWESOME !!!!!

    And having seen a friend just get her new shiny WIn 8 Laptop blitzed by duff drivers today, and wasting a day of work plus losing shed loads of stuff, I'm glad we are gone.

    1. tuxtester

      Re: Roll on year end

      Which scanner was it that didn't work?

      This might be of use:

      https://help.ubuntu.com/community/SANE%20-%20Installing%20a%20scanner%20that%20isn%27t%20auto-detected

      HP scanners have worked well for me on ubuntu.

    2. bailey86

      Re: Roll on year end

      You should write a white paper or blog about the process.

      That way when people who are afraid of moving from MS will get some ideas about how to break free.

      There has to come a tipping/breaking point for these guys - especially when W8 is being forced down their throats.

    3. Fatman Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Roll on year end

      Good idea to get your staff used to working with Firefox and Thunderbird on WindblowZE first.

      Hopefully, you figured out which distro you were bolting to, and determined if the office suite was either Libre Office, or Open Office; and installed its WindblowZE equivalent, for the same reason.

      Getting the staff familiar with the apps you are going to use before a platform ditch is much easier on everybody. Change in smaller, manageable steps is the way to go.

      Icon appropriate for your year end celebration!

  23. tuxtester
    Facepalm

    And who does MS share their findings with?

    because if you cough up to Microsoft then it is likely you will need to cough up to (for example) anti virus software companies, who now have proof (because Microsoft gave it to them) that your company has been expanding without buying licenses for software.

    You know what? You were a mug to use Microsoft software in the first place. Deal with it.

    I guarantee you that those very-same mugs will numbly hand over cash and buy Windows 8 licenses.

  24. dssf

    I thought ms came after business that used retail copies

    in business settings.

    I was worried that usinf, say, 80 retail computers in a business would require paying a business license against those machines. What is the story?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "business license"

      There's no such thing.

      If you have paid for a full license (not a home/student, educational, academic, trial one) then you can use the software wherever you want.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    MS..... sounds like a nasty nerve degeneration issue.

    My nerve grew to the point that Microsoft and their idiot software and their lying and bullshit, well THEIR software that I licensed, is used with disdain and reluctance....

    Log into that monthly and do all the updates and then back to Linux.......

    Microsoft is like anal sex with sand. Linux is like life without Microsoft.

    1. southpacificpom

      Re: MS..... sounds like a nasty nerve degeneration issue.

      "Microsoft is like anal sex with sand. Linux is like life without Microsoft."

      Now if RMS came out with a quote like this I might take him more seriously!

    2. Fatman Silver badge

      Re: Microsoft is like anal sex with sand. Linux is like life without Microsoft.

      I have people walking by my office, wondering what in hell was so dammed funny; one of them my boss.

      I just sent her the link to your post; I wonder how she will react.

      Wait...... What was that, hysterical laughter.

      OOps, she just appeared at my door, waving her finger at me, snarling: "You naughty boy!!!!!!!"

      Busted!!!!!!!!!

  26. asdf Silver badge
    FAIL

    lol@win8

    I guess with Windows 8 being the runaway "success" touted by Microsoft its just a coincidence they need to beef up revenues as much as they possible can this quarter.

  27. mark l 2 Silver badge

    Microsoft are obviously looking to make sure they scrape back every penny from their business customers because they know there wont be much money coming from them in the way of Windows 8 purchases in the next couple of years

  28. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

    Dear Microsoft Licensing,

    Fuck you.

    2013 is going to be a lovely year of showing people how Samba 4, Openfiler, KVM and more are done. Step by step. With pictures.

    Your pal,

    Audit Victim [number redacted].

  29. jonfr
    Boffin

    No Microsoft for my company

    In a few years time (at best). I am going to start a company. No Microsoft for me. Just *BSD and Some handy distro of Linux.

    The reason being is that it is cheaper to hire a programmer and a admin to do what is needed then to licence a software from Microsoft. As software from Microsoft is expensive, works poorly and is a security threat overall.

    I rather want to put money into staff then into software licences.

    1. dssf

      Re: No Microsoft for my company

      If that feat would be pulled off by Koreans, it would put one HELLUVA dent in ms' ransom licensing.

  30. Ian Collins

    Why let them in? They tried for years - every time they phoned or emailed, I said I was too busy. Went on for literally years and eventually they gave up.

  31. This post has been deleted by its author

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This article is bullshit

    There is no way that anyone has "kicked down the doors" of over half of businesses in the states or anywhere. It's just not realistic.

    There's a lot of confusion here between:

    1. a nice friendly phone call along the lines of 'we might be able to help you check if your licenses are all happy, would you like to talk to us about that' - which can be easily fobbed off if you can't be bothered with them or you could have a little meeting with them where you can give them whatever information you want. It is this procedure that the statistics refer to.

    2. Much less common, a court order giving permission to enter business premises for the purposes of an audit, which requires reasonable cause. Even then there probably won't be any kicking involved (I hope the author was being metaphorical but it doesn't help to instil unnecessary FUD). Usually legitimate businesses open the door for visitors. In such cases, if it is found that licenses are severely lacking then it is the directors of the business who will end up in court. If you can show due diligence then you will probably be let off with a warning or a small fine.

    In my experience the guys who do the audits are actually quire reasonable, they will probably want to take away your computers but they do take into account factors such as 'that machine has been decommissioned and will be disposed of soon' and 'that's a box I brought in from home' (in that case they didn't touch it).

    This is based on knowledge and experience of how it works in the UK. In other countries YMMV.

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