201711.09
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How to Protect Your Company in a Microsoft SPLA Self-Certification

If your company licenses products to third parties under the Microsoft Service Provider License Agreement (SPLA), you may receive a request to perform a self assessment and provide a certification of compliance to Microsoft.  The SPLA self-assessment audit is a new audit flavor that is unlike the independent audits Microsoft has historically used to audit…

201710.30
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Consult with Counsel for SPLA Audits

Microsoft’s Services Provider License Agreement (“SPLA”) is a popular licensing framework for businesses delivering hosted or rented software solutions to their customers. However, as with many software license agreements pertaining to resale or other business channel partnership programs, the SPLA typically includes audit rights language giving Microsoft the ability to review a SPLA partner’s records…

201710.18
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Microsoft SPLA Self-Assessment – What It Is, and How to Respond

Many of our clients have been contacting us in recent weeks (mid-late 2017) regarding notices they received from Microsoft requesting an internal self-assessment of their license positions under their Services Provider License Agreements (SPLAs). Naturally, many of those clients have questions about that process and the ramifications of cooperating with Microsoft. For those who may…

201708.16
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Navigating Microsoft License Verification Audits

Microsoft, like other software publishers, routinely audits customers to help ensure that it is protecting the value of its intellectual property.  Microsoft verifies its customers’ compliance using several methods. Microsoft License Verification (also, Software Asset Management “SAM” request). In a SAM request, Microsoft assigns a third party to reach out to a customer to confirm…

201708.15
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Is Flexera’s Initiative with Microsoft a Silver Bullet for Software Audits?

Microsoft and Flexera recently announced a joint initiative that the two companies have touted as a way to transform “the software supply chain” through the use of a standard set of software asset management (SAM) solutions. By deploying Flexera’s FlexNetManager Suite with Microsoft’s Intelligent Asset Manager, the goal is to create an “agreed upon ELP…

201706.19
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Top Three Ways to Sabotage Your Licensing Compliance Under SPLA

Microsoft’s Services Provider License Agreement (SPLA) is the principal licensing agreement for companies that want to use Microsoft products to deliver hosted software solutions over the Internet. Microsoft’s standard volume license agreements expressly prohibit using the software for “commercial hosting” purposes (though, limited exceptions are offered for certain use cases and subject to specific requirements)….

201701.10
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To SAM or Not to SAM? The Differences Between a Microsoft SAM Engagement and an Audit

In recent years, Microsoft seems to have been shifting an increasing volume of its license-compliance resources toward what it calls Software Asset Management (SAM) reviews. These “optional” engagements typically are proposed by Microsoft personnel with whom a company has not had any prior interactions, and the company often receives no advance warning or introductions from…

201701.09
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Be Cautious in Navigating Microsoft’s Forest of EA Documents

Companies with experience licensing Microsoft software and services through Enterprise Agreements know that small forests could be felled to produce the paper required for the typical document stack. EAs often incorporate a dozen or more different components, including some or all of the following: Microsoft Business and Services Agreement or Microsoft Business Agreement (Microsoft sometimes…

201611.22
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Microsoft Clarifies Rules Related to Self-Hosting

I previously presented my thoughts here regarding changes Microsoft made to its Product Terms pertaining to the Self-Hosted Applications benefit under Software Assurance. After publishing that entry, Microsoft reached out to me to clarify that the principal effect of the change actually is to increase self-hosting rights by extending them to deployments hosted by a…