The name change short-change

When I read of yet another mega merger, I always wonder who is going to have to pay how much to whom to have the name change...

When I read of yet another mega merger, I always wonder who is going to have to pay how much to whom to have the name change registered on their systems' software licences.

John Riley

Groundswell

It's surely just a small administrative charge, you might justifiably think. In fact, it could easily cost hundreds of thousand of pounds. The highest charge I've come across cost a corporation over £2m - just for the name change. And that's just one of many software licence scams.

While it's certainly unfair sharp practice, such abuse is not illegal. So, combating demands takes careful planning, especially in the heat of a merger, when the worst perpetrators put up a smoke screen of charm.

If your company decides to merge, acquire or fragment, warn your board quickly that the impact on licences may not be trivial.

The director of one large merging organisation alerted his board to there being a 50% chance of spending £10-15m sorting out existing licences. He ended up paying a fraction.

His advice: list your software licences in priority, from critical to dispensable. Then go through the list physically contacting each licensor in turn to negotiate a price. Be absolutely resolved to stand your ground in open court, where there is blatantly unfair profiteering.

John Riley

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