Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Fun With Microsoft Licensing Audits

I have heard of Microsoft audits before. When the Province of BC was tightening its belts they dropped down to $9000 in licensing in one Ministry. That's really small: but it was during a period in between Windows98 and Windows2000, they were laying off users and they didn't bite at new versions of MS Office. They got audited. You see: not using Microsoft will get you audited.
Most of the licensing terms you find in the EULA come from a hybrid of lawyers and computer programmers: two groups who like money as much as they hate work.
This was brought into stark new light after I read a Computerworld article. Microsoft Engagement Managers use a combination of bully tactics and alienating policies to control their users. If you are an organization who has to face off versus Microsoft drones: hit them where they live. Here are some tips to combat Microsoft Engagement Managers. More than anything else, these are tips so you can have some fun while getting rogered by a minion of the Devil himself:
  • A day in the waiting room. Schedule an appointment with the engagement manager then through a combination of receptionist lies and managers buzzing through to say, "just a couple minutes"-- try to keep the Microsoft Crony there ALL day.
  • Call the engagement manager and require a Sunday morning audit that all other days are unavailable. Do the audit with only monitors on: no overhead lights. This will make it hard for the auditor to see their paperwork. After an hour or so, she'll have a headache.
  • Kill power to the building. This works best on a Saturday.
  • Play loud music or techno through the PA-- play the same music again and again on repeat. You like "Hollaback Girl?" I bet you won't like it after hearing it 50 times in a row.
  • Videotape the audit process for YouTube.com
  • Require verification of Microsoft licenses-- require they supply their records for your review and require all supporting documents.
  • Leave copies of Linux install disks on every desk.
  • Have a tech go through the department installing Linux at the same time (desktop BSD and Fedora).
  • Ask them if they can cite a clause in the EULA where detailed accounts of the audit cannot be shared with the State's Attorney General.
  • Ask them in they agree with with some mundane obscure point of the EULA-- if they can't comment on it tell them that Microsoft will need to send an licensing officer who is familiar with their own licensing.
  • Hand them unused licenses for refund and say that in select instances they didn't agree to the EULA so they ceased installation.

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