Microsoft has kicked off the second stage of its software audit and asset management programme, which aims to ensure that users are running licensed copies of its software.
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The company has contacted businesses with 250 PCs or fewer, asking them to complete a software audit questionnaire.
Ram Dhaliwal, licensing programme manager at Microsoft, said users had 14 days to complete this questionnaire, but they could take longer if they contacted Microsoft. "If they have not returned the questionnaire and have refused to engage with us, the Business Software Alliance will be contacted," he said.
The BSA, which represents software suppliers and campaigns against illegal software use, would be able to fine any company that had infringed Microsoft licensing. The company could also face legal costs.
Dhaliwal said, "Our goal is to get customers to pay for what they use. If a customer is using our software, we ask them to pay for it."
According to Microsoft, software asset management helps businesses save money by enabling them to find out what software is required and what does not need to be installed.
Dhaliwal said a business with 100 project managers that require MS Project could find that a larger number of staff have installed the project management software, even though they do not need it to do their job. This situation can easily be put right once the PCs running the software have been identified.
Knowing what software is installed should allow IT directors to take advantage of volume licence discounts, said Microsoft.
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