Microsoft Software License Assessment

CompProbSolv used Ask the Experts™
A client of mine recently received an email from Microsoft requesting a Licensing Assessment.  At first I was skeptical that it was legitimate but now believe that it is.

The email requests that my client "conduct a Software Licenses Assessment for all Microsoft Products in use throughout your business".  They provide a tool to accomplish this and suggest that it should take 3-5 business days to adequately complete.

I wrote back asking about what Microsoft saw as our legal requirements in this case.  I was cited this link:
and especially the following from section 6:
“You agree that Microsoft and its affiliates may collect and use technical information gathered as part of the product support services provided to you, if any, related to the Software. Microsoft may use this information solely to improve our products or to provide customized services or technologies to you and will not disclose this information in a form that personally identifies you.”

I'm not a lawyer but I do understand the English language fairly well.  I'm not seeing how section 6 gives Microsoft the right to demand information from my client.  First, the collection is granted as part of "product support services".  We're not requesting any such support.  Secondly, while Microsoft may have the right to collect the data, I see that as very different from demanding that we provide the data.

To be clear, I believe that my client has stayed within Microsoft's licensing rules.  I'm fairly insistent about that with my clients.  My concerns have to do with the uncompensated time my client will have to spend to provide documentation and any potential technical violations of which we're presently unaware.  The subtleties of the licensing rules can be difficult to follow.

I downloaded the tools and have run the main one, but it is not at all clear what path Microsoft wants us to take.

I'm curious to know what other Experts think of this and what they have done with such a request from Microsoft.  Such information would be greatly appreciated.
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Senior Engineer
It is legit.  But I'd call your MS partner just to make sure.

Read through this blog and it will give you some guidance.

If you do a Google search on your title..."Microsoft Software License Assessment" will see dozens of links of different people posting their experience with this.

You can tell them to go kick rocks, but they may come back with a more intrusive and possibly more forceful reply.

I'm sure somewhere in the EULA there is some verbiage on agreeing to this.

Most have complied, some have refused.
Which is "this blog"?
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We normally have one every 2 years.  They will always try and find something, I tend to let them have their little victories just so they go away.  They tried to get me last time saying that my SQL licences were not backward compatible which is complete rubbish!  However, they still tried to get me to buy an additional couple of grands worth of licences which I knew were not necessary. And after proving my case they apologised and agreed with me!  I am sure others have just accepted it and just bought the licences!

So don't let them bully you - but I am afraid you have to do it otherwise they will probably think you have something to hide and may come in and try and audit you on site which will be much more painful and intrusive!
I have looked into this and am not impressed.  While I've not seen anything from MS indicating that they have any right to demand this information, the client and I are really not interested in fighting with them.

I'm quite surprised at how poorly written the spreadsheet is.  I've sent MS a list of questions to ensure that our answers are more likely to be accurate.

Thank you for your input.......
The responses were greatly appreciated and help to put this in context.

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