In the subdued way these things materialise, Microsoft quietly realised updated terms to their True-Up Enterprise Agreement (EA) in 2014. The cynical reader would automatically assume this is another exercise is extracting revenue out of beleaguered customers – as the economy bounces back, so do the desires to replenish billion dollar bank accounts. For the less cynical, this is merely Microsoft’s housekeeping exercise to ensure their EA is up-to-date and relevant, with a few small changes.
In a world of laborious record keeping and obsessive data gathering, the Microsoft True-Up Enterprise Agreement was a light penetrating the infinite darkness of software licensing. Until November 2014 Microsoft True-Up customers would report yearly to their third-party vendor, or Microsoft, an account of the licenses they have and have not used over the preceding 12 months. Nice and simple. Now, things are a little different.
Under the revised Enterprise Agreement, licensees are now required to inform Microsoft of ANY changes to their software use. Previously, certain changes were permitted (reduced licence use, certified users etc.) and could be leveraged at end-of-year negotiations. This has been removed, stifling re-negotiations, and, most importantly, switching the onus of reporting ANY changes to Microsoft or the third party vendor onto the licensee. The biggest problem arising from this specific amendment? “Any” is open to such wide interpretation that almost any change (staff, hardware, software) could fall foul of this clause, placing a heavy burden of disclosure on customers.