"'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]...'"