201907.01
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To SAM or Not to SAM? The Differences Between a Microsoft SAM Engagement and an Audit

In recent years, Microsoft seems to have been shifting an increasing volume of its license-compliance resources toward what it calls Software Asset Management (SAM) reviews. These “optional” engagements typically are proposed by Microsoft personnel with whom a company has not had any prior interactions, and the company often receives no advance warning or introductions from…

201906.25
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Microsoft SPLA Self-Assessment – What It Is, and How to Respond

Many of our clients contact us regarding notices they received from Microsoft requesting an internal self-assessment of their license positions under their Services Provider License Agreements (SPLAs). Naturally, many of those clients have questions about that process and the ramifications of cooperating with Microsoft. For those who may be unaware, SPLA is the principal licensing…

201906.20
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SQL Server Licensing Challenges in Hosting Environments

Microsoft does not make licensing SQL Server easy, either under SPLA or under volume licensing agreements. Here are the three most significant problems that our clients face when trying to license that product: Four-Core Minimum – Microsoft allows SQL Server to be licensed based either on physical core counts (for physical servers or virtualization hosts)…

201906.18
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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…

201806.27
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Negotiating Enterprise Agreements with Microsoft

As Microsoft and other major vendors emphasize their cloud offerings, the legal issues in enterprise agreements have shifted dramatically.  The key issues in modern enterprise agreements are driven by privacy, security and regulatory compliance.  Robert J. Scott will discuss traditional and newly developed Microsoft licensing models, principal concerns about current licensing models, types of license…

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…

201609.13
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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…

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…