Microsoft Australia has indicated that it will remove all clients that are not academic institutions – including aged care facilities – from its Academic Open license program.

The announcement follows a series of audits of the company’s customers which it says detected a large number of businesses across a range of industries accessing the discounted software “illegitimately”.

A Microsoft spokesperson said the majority of organisations who ‘abused’ this system did so without realising and acknowledged that no independent vetting of the process had occurred.

“Microsoft acknowledges that lack of oversight has contributed to the issue of license misuse and isolated cases of abuse,” she said.

As part of the transition process, Microsoft is establishing a new licensing program – Charity Open – for providers with the “least resources, such as standalone facilities and hospices”.

Microsoft said it will also consult clients about further transition options.

The company spokesperson also dismissed an Aged Care Industry IT Council estimate that this decision would cost the industry $70 million over 18 months.

“Our estimates indicate the figure to be many, many times smaller,” she said.

“That said, the ongoing satisfaction of our customers is a top priority for Microsoft and we will take financial factors into consideration as we move through the process of determining the best approach to helping our customers move to legitimate licensing arrangements.”

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