201708.16
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Navigating Microsoft License Verification Audits

Microsoft, like other software publishers, routinely audits customers to help ensure that it is protecting the value of its intellectual property.  Microsoft verifies its customers’ compliance using several methods. Microsoft License Verification (also, Software Asset Management “SAM” request). In a SAM request, Microsoft assigns a third party to reach out to a customer to confirm…

201708.15
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Is Flexera’s Initiative with Microsoft a Silver Bullet for Software Audits?

Microsoft and Flexera recently announced a joint initiative that the two companies have touted as a way to transform “the software supply chain” through the use of a standard set of software asset management (SAM) solutions. By deploying Flexera’s FlexNetManager Suite with Microsoft’s Intelligent Asset Manager, the goal is to create an “agreed upon ELP…

201701.09
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Be Cautious in Navigating Microsoft’s Forest of EA Documents

Companies with experience licensing Microsoft software and services through Enterprise Agreements know that small forests could be felled to produce the paper required for the typical document stack. EAs often incorporate a dozen or more different components, including some or all of the following: Microsoft Business and Services Agreement or Microsoft Business Agreement (Microsoft sometimes…

201611.14
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Microsoft Clarifies Rules Related to Self-Hosting

I previously presented my thoughts here regarding changes Microsoft made to its Product Terms pertaining to the Self-Hosted Applications benefit under Software Assurance. After publishing that entry, Microsoft reached out to me to clarify that the principal effect of the change actually is to increase self-hosting rights by extending them to deployments hosted by a…

201609.20
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Defending SPLA Audits: Critical First Steps

Many businesses contact Scott & Scott, LLP regarding Services Provider License Agreement (SPLA) audits after providing extensive information to Microsoft’s auditors and receiving compliance demands that would be ruinous for their bottom lines, if paid in full. At that stage, it might be difficult to “un-ring the bell” with respect to the data allegedly underlying…

201609.13
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Is Microsoft Trying to Kill Self-Hosting?

Earlier this year, with no fanfare (which is perhaps unsurprising), Microsoft implemented a significant change to its Product Terms pertaining to Software Assurance (SA) benefits that likely will have a significant licensing impact for companies that have taken advantage of the Self-Hosted Applications benefit accompanying SA. For several years now, Microsoft has allowed customers with…

201605.31
1

For SPLA Audits, When Historical Data is Missing, Creativity May Be Required

Most software audits pertaining to products licensed under perpetual licenses (such as licenses acquired under a Microsoft Select Agreement, MPSA or (usually) Enterprise Agreement) incorporate a snapshot-in-time approach, where licenses owned generally are compared to deployments identified through data collected about current-state product deployments. In contrast, audits pertaining to products licensed under a Microsoft Services…

201603.14
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Be Wary of Changes in New SPLA Contracts

Companies that have long relationships with Microsoft know that the company’s form licensing agreements have steadily evolved over time, and typically for the worse. If software licensing can be said to have any “natural laws,” certainly the First Law could be paraphrased to something like: “If you agree to an inch, be prepared to give…

201602.24
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Beware Audit Terms in Microsoft’s New MPSA

Microsoft is in the process of transitioning many of its volume-licensing customers from the Select Plus Agreement to the new Microsoft Products and Services Agreement (MPSA). (More information on the transition framework is available here.) A notable difference between the Select Plus Agreement and the MPSA is that the MPSA is self-contained and is not…

201602.24
0

Microsoft Updates Volume Licensing Use Rights Documents

In the past, business consumers of Microsoft’s products and services have needed to reference at least two documents – the Product List and the Product Use Rights – to help determine the purchasing requirements and licensing rules applicable to those products and services. Both documents were incorporated by reference into Microsoft’s volume licensing agreements and…

201602.24
0

Be Mindful of Historical Usage When Licensing Microsoft Products Under SPLA

The Services Provider License Agreement (SPLA) is Microsoft’s preferred licensing option for businesses wanting to use Microsoft products in support of hosted software solutions made available to end users over the Internet. For many companies, SPLA is a good fit, in that it incorporates a monthly reporting mechanism, rather than an up-front license purchase, and…