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World Trade Magazine: Ernie Ball's Breaking All the Rules

May 07, 2002, 01:00 (21 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Lara L. Sowinski)

[ Thanks to Keith for this link. ]

"'We were raided by armed Federal Marshals and completely shut down for a day. Then you have to swear you won't touch any data other than what is minimally necessary to run your business,' he says. 'I don't believe you should treat a customer that way.' After the investigation was completed, Ernie Ball was found to be noncompliant by 8 percent. Recalling that time, Ball says, 'A lot of professionals I hired went back and audited their own software and found they were out of compliance by 20 percent. It's nearly impossible to be totally compliant.'

"The company ended up paying a $90,000 settlement. 'Thirty-five thousand of it was Microsoft's legal fees, which is automatic in cases like these, so the penalty was actually lower,' says Ball, who decided at that moment his company would become 'Microsoft free.' According to Ball, 'Everyone said we couldn't do it. It took us about one year [to convert from a Microsoft system]...'"

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