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Microsoft is getting serious about licensing.

A few years ago Microsoft discontinued the sale of Microsoft Office as a ‘boxed product’. That means there are no more jewel cases with that yellow product key inside. We all remember having a stack of those cases on the shelf, trying our best to track which license was installed on which system (and usually failing). This normally meant you would be out of license compliance for the licenses you owned and installed.  I’m sure we all remember the days of passing around those jewel cases to get the most “bang” for our buck by installing Office on multiple computers. But along came open licensing, and life got easier. There were now just one set of media and one activation key, but still the same problem of license tracking.

Now Microsoft has moved to subscription based licensing, and the ability to manage has become infinitely easier because the cloud manages the number of installs you are allowed. However, there are still many other Microsoft operating systems and applications that are not cloud managed, and business are out in the wild using software they have not paid for. Microsoft is seeking to snuff out this unauthorized use and is on a mission to catch these companies.

To that end, Microsoft is now engaging in random licensing audits. Just like the IRS, Microsoft randomly requests information regarding the licensing of your software. In the past few months many of our clients and other business we know have been hit with these audits from Microsoft, a failure to report and comply can mean legal action, and for blatant abuses criminal proceedings with very large fines and possible jail time for executives!

If you have been hit with a Microsoft audit and don’t know how to handle it, give us a call. We can be a tech liaison between you and Microsoft, smoothing out the bumps and making sure you have all the licenses you need to keep you complaint and out of the courthouse!

Follow us on twitter @MannassiIT for more updates about tech compliance.