Microsoft’s NGO Software License


During the past week we’ve been working hard to put in place the action steps we announced to prevent NGOs from falling victim to actions taken in the guise of anti-piracy enforcement.  To ensure that we undertake a comprehensive and thorough approach to this challenge, I have asked Nancy Anderson, Microsoft’s Deputy General Counsel and Corporate Vice President responsible for delivering legal services to Microsoft subsidiaries around the world, to drive this effort.   As Nancy leads this work, she and her team will provide regular reports on our progress and results.  Here is the first of those reports, and you will find subsequent reports here.

Brad Smith,
General Counsel and Senior Vice President, Microsoft.


A week ago we announced a new unilateral software license for non-governmental organizations (NGO) that builds upon our existing NGO software donation program, which is a global initiative that has been in place for a number of years in many countries around the world. 

The unilateral NGO software license runs automatically from Microsoft to NGOs and media organizations and covers the software already installed on their PCs, thus ensuring that they have legal copies of our products.

As described in our blog, we are making the unilateral NGO software license available in countries where our current program is in place but the benefits are not as widely known or understood as we would like. We are also making it available in countries where we had already planned to extend the existing program and have been working through the last steps in doing so. 

By offering the unilateral NGO Software license in countries with this set of criteria, we are hoping to cut through some of the communications and logistical clutter that organizations may have encountered and provide clear legal assurance for the NGOs in those countries currently using our software.

The unilateral NGO software license will last until January 1, 2012, thus giving us time to help NGOs move to our standard NGO software donation program, through which they will be able to easily keep their software up-to-date and secure.

In order to advance the objectives above, we have decided to provide the unilateral NGO software license to NGOs in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.  We hope that by taking this step in these countries, we can enable these NGOs with their humanitarian causes and reach smaller NGOs in these countries where we have not been able to do so.  We will assess this list and our implementation experience over time, and may expand the list as circumstances evolve. 

Eligible NGOs must operate on a not-for-profit basis and have a mission to benefit the local community.  Eligible organizations may also include small newspapers, independent media, or others that hold a local public communication license, are members of a local media association, or are recognized by an international media organization.  Specific eligibility details will be included in localized versions of the unilateral license and will be posted to this Web site in the coming weeks as we provide more information about our NGO Legal Assistance Program.

For more information about our current software donation offerings for NGOs program, please go to

Nancy Anderson
Deputy General Counsel and Corporate Vice President, Worldwide Sales Group