Friday, 22 April 2011

A letter from Microsoft

Last week we got an email from Microsoft Namibia saying:
“Microsoft is randomly reviewing the licensing position of all our customers on a regular basis. Verifying your software position is therefore the first process with this initiative.”
Attached to the email was a letter from Microsoft in Namibia explaining how they are doing their best to combat software piracy. It included this:
“Our records suggest that while you have purchased licences of various Microsoft products in the past, there is a possibility that there exists a gap between the actual number of PC’s in your organisation vs. the number of Microsoft Office Suite licences and Client Access Licences for our server products.”
It then asked us to complete a list of all the PCs (No, Microsoft, a plural does NOT have an apostrophe) we own and what Microsoft licences we’re using on each.

My response is two-fold.

1. Get stuffed.

2. A Windows™ message.

The irony of this situation is that a couple of years ago we were approached by Microsoft’s own anti-piracy division to conduct a survey for them on the use of software in internet cafes. We were also the organisation who told Microsoft about certain stores that were selling pirated versions of their software. We’re the ones who sent them the recordings of the phone conversations we had with the crooks when they offered us pirated versions of all sorts of software. We’re the ones who sent undercover mystery shoppers into the stores at Microsoft’s specific request. We're the ones they paid to conduct a secret survey of all the internet cafés in Gaborone.

For the record neither Consumer Watchdog nor it’s parent company use pirated software. We have a licence for every piece of Microsoft software we use. Which we paid for with real money. Our own. Their statement that their records suggest something to the contrary is unfounded, without evidence and deeply bloody insulting.

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