Microsoft probing partner KPMG in India over customer complaint: report
14 April 2018
Microsoft Corp has started an investigation into the methods partner KPMG uses to crack down on the illegal use of its software in India, its biggest market in Asia, after a complaint from a senior member of the Bharatiya Janata Party, news agency Reuters cited documents as showing.
The investigation follows a 2016 report by advocacy group Business Software Alliance that over half of all software installed on computers in India is unlicensed.
This is because a Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system costs around $130 on Microsoft’s online portal, its pirated version on a compact disc can be bought for around $2 in India.
Microsoft runs a global "software asset management" (SAM) programme to check the use of unlicensed software under which it partners global consultants such as KPMG in India, to ensure compliance.
The investigation follows a complaint by Vinit Goenka, a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and technology adviser to the government, to both companies that a KPMG employee "barged in" to his Mumbai recruitment firm without an appointment to check its software.
Rajiv Sodhi, a senior Microsoft India executive, told Goenka in a 20 March email that the company was looking at the issue with "utmost seriousness".
"We are also getting an assessment agency to carry out an audit of the process delivery at KPMG to identify and correct gaps, if any," Reuters cited Sodhi as writing in the email.
Microsoft is reported to have told Reuters that its SAM programme is run being run as per global standards, while KPMG claimed it followed "appropriate procedures agreed in our engagement with clients".
The employee has been identified in the emails as Srijesh, said the report.
Reuters also confirmed the incident with Goenka, who said his company, Ratein Infotech, has only a handful of computers, which used genuine software.
Goenka said he planned to file a police complaint against both companies.
Ratein Infotech also said it received a letter from the US software giant seeking help in "interpreting licensing policies of Microsoft", the emails showed.
Microsoft and KPMG apologised and the employee, Srijesh, resigned, the e-mails showed.