Wednesday 17 October 2007

SBS - Licensing for Charity, Education, and more

We did a consult with a non-profit company that is purchasing Microsoft Charity licenses via a local vendor a while back.

In the case of server and Office software, all Charity and Open licenses are full version products.

The exception is in the case of the Windows Desktop Operating System.

What this means is, the organization must either have a Fully Packaged Product (FPP) (Retail) with all of the contents intact of a qualifying version of Windows, or an OEM version that qualifies as a version that can be upgraded by the Licensed upgrade edition Windows OS.

There is no exception to that rule.

Despite the fact that the OLP Windows XP Pro did not have the appropriate Upgrade Check Bits in place, it was an upgrade version.

So, in the case of an organization that is running their entire desktop OS environment on their Microsoft Charity Licenses for Windows XP, there needs to be the qualifying OS base to work from.

If there are no OEM COAs, CDs, and manuals or FPP on site for machines that are already in place, they will need to purchase Fully Packaged Product (Retail) to set their licensing straight.

A Licensing version of a Windows Desktop OS always has to have a legitimate full or OEM OS to upgrade from. PERIOD.

Even with the "Vista Workaround". There has to be a qualifying FPP or OEM license associated with every machine in the organization.

Remember, we are responsible for advising our clients on licensing, so we need to be absolutely clear where we stand when it comes to properly licensing any software product installed on the network infrastructure we are managing.

In our case, when working with a new client that is not in compliance, we would work with them to bring them into compliance. If they resist or refuse, we have the appropriate legal letters and registered mail to take care of severing the business relationship if required. If it was required, we would then walk away. We would also follow the recommendations of our legal advisers from there.

It is a point of principle.

Keep in mind that if a client, or even former client, gets audited and they are not in compliance, then we can bet that the BSA would be knocking on our doors next, and then any other clients that were then indicated as not compliant via our records would see a visit too.

Philip Elder
Microsoft Small Business Specialists

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