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MS audit cripples city

Piracy crackdown leaves local government with major headache

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A demand by Microsoft to run an audit on all its software has brought chaos to the city of Virginia Beach, Virginia. A one-page letter demanded to see all software licences to prove the software wasn't counterfeit. The thinking is that since government departments tend to go for the lowest supplier quote, they may inadvertently pick up pirate software.

The city's CIO admits that Microsoft is legitimately entitled to order such an audit, but we don't think he's all that happy about it. The demand will affect every department and tie up large numbers of staff - Virginia Beach is almost entirely run on MS kit and they will have to check around 3,500 computers. Not only that, but if the city can't prove that a piece of software is legit, it may have to pay full whack for them. It could be facing a nasty bill at the end of it.

Having managed to get a 30-day extension on the deadline, it now has until the end of the month to comply. A quarter of the city's IT staff have been put onto the job full-time, causing backlogs in IT updates across the organisation. Have fun lads. ®

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