arm twisting by microsoft and it's audit partners


    I am running an MSME unit and recently received an email from KPMG, Microsoft's audit partner for Microsoft Software Assesst Management, which is basically another way of conducting an audit for Microsoft Software licensing. 

     As on date, I have total 45 PC's running in my organisaton. I had 20 licenses of windows and 10 licenses of Office 2007 basic, which I had bought 3 to 4 years back when Microsoft first contacted us. Back then, I had shifted almost 10 PCs on Linux and shiffted to Openoffice for my word processing needs.

       I have already completed the compliance of remaining PC's in terms of Windows Licenses. Now KPMG is indirectly forcing me to buy more licenses of Office. Their contention is that I have only 10 liceneses of Office where as 45 PC's . They are threating to send an audit team. The person in charge informed me that they will scan all the PC's and if they found any evidence of Office or any other MS application which had been installed in Past and removed now, then it will be treated as use of Pirated software which will invite heavy penalities and legal action.

      The wayout to get rid of the audit is to buy more Office Licences which I don't require!! As mentioned earlier I have completly shifted to OpenOffice and forced to use MS Office only for Online Government Returns, which refuse to accept files generated from anything other than Word or Excel.

      I would like to know what is my legal status in all this?? I have PC's which are 4 to 5 years old, maybe even more. I don't remember if I had ever installed any MS product then, but definitely, I don't have any unlicensed MS product now. I am not scared of the Audit, but scared of the approach with which they want to conduct the audit.

      How can I ensure that I am not black mailed into purchasing something that I don't need??

      Please share your experiences and help me get out of this mess. Thank you.


Practically speaking neither Windows or MS Office is really needed. You can always say good bye to Microsoft if you desire. If you want to create Excel(.xls) files you do not need Microsoft Office. In OpenOffice for saving the spreadsheet go to File then "Save As" and save it with .xls extension. Similarly you can save the document in Word(.doc) format. If your OpenOffice does not have this option, LibreOffice does have it. You may uninstall OpenOffice and install LibreOffice instead.


As far question of blackmailing or harassing you by finding traces of previous installation of MS Office in files and registry of some PCs, why don't you just back up the important data to some other physical hard drive, then wipe the entire hard drive clean(including the operating system) by overwriting it with gibberish multiple times. Remember only deleting files or formatting the drive does not physically erase data from hard drive. Renaming the files and over writing them with gibberish does make the contents unrecoverable. There are countless free and open source softwares that will do the job. Once done, format the drive and install a fresh copy of Linux or Windows as per your desire. Then restore the important data back.


Above are just my personal thoughts based on some common sense, don't take these as any kind of advice or legal advice. For legal advice sit with a lawyer who deals with copyright laws.


Advocate and Intellectual Property Attorney Solicitor (England and Wales) (NP)

Hello, I have dealt with such issues and legally negotiated it. You may contact me at priyakul7@ gmail.com Regards, Priyanka Kulkarni IPAttorney LL.M. King's College London Solicitor of England and Wales (NP)



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