Dutch police mistakenly pays €3M for Office licenses, court tells Microsoft to keep it

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by | March 24, 2017

You can count on Dutch police to train eagles to snipe down drones from the sky, but don’t let them run any software procurement for you. Following a horrific administrative fail, Dutch court has ruled that local police won’t be receiving any cash back from Microsoft after mistakingly purchasing too many licenses for its Office package.

Back in 2008, a law enforcement employee accidentally ordered 13,656 licenses for a special home-working edition of MS Office. While inaccurate, the order went unnoticed by administration, which proceeded to wire a staggering €2,961,029 to Microsoft for the software, Dutch outlet NU.nl reports.

Following the nightmare-inducing blunder, police filed a lawsuit asking that the purchase order be cancelled and the total amount paid be returned. This week, a court in The Hague ruled in favor of Microsoft, deeming the wrong purchase fully legal.

The justification for the ruling stems from an earlier case in which the Windows-maker paid back Dutch police a total of €765,000 after another wrongly placed order in 2005.

Despite its generosity, Microsoft warned this is a one-time only let-off, emphasizing it has no legal obligations to comply with such requests “in the absence of any legal basis for the correction required by the police.”

It seems Dutch police didn’t learn its lesson though.

As court documents reveal, the ruling deemed it irrelevant that police is yet to activate most of the purchased licenses. Instead, the court argues the purchase was legal since Microsoft was fundamentally selling the right to use the software and not the usage itself.


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