Microsoft easing customers' legal stress

Microsoft has a new sales pitch for Linux users: Buy our software and stay out of court.

The Redmond, Wash.-based software giant has expanded the indemnity provisions that go with its software licensing agreements to remove a perennial sticking point in sales negotiations: who picks up the tab if a Microsoft customer gets sued because of Microsoft's products. In older contracts, Microsoft agreed to pay all legal fees for volume license customers who got sued because of Microsoft, but only up to the value of the software they bought.

Under the new provision, which took effect March 1, Microsoft removed the liability cap in intellectual property suits and altered other parts of the agreements that potentially expand its liability. The company also expanded its product warranties for licensing customers from 90 days to a year and expanded the minimum notice given to customers regarding software audits from 15 days to 30 days. "The former clause allocated too much risk to third parties," said Laura DiDio, an analyst at the Yankee Group. "Intellectual property issues relating to Microsoft software are entirely in the control of Microsoft."

News source: C|Net News.com

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