Software giant Microsoft Corp. is working to ease the hard feelings sparked by an aggressive anti-piracy campaign aimed at schools. The campaign, which Microsoft now acknowledges was ill-timed, has prompted at least a few school officials in Oregon and Washington to consider switching to free, open-source software programs.

The 24 largest districts in those states received letters in April asking them to complete an audit of all Microsoft software on their computers within 60 days. The letters also contained brochures that explained Microsoft licensing options available to schools.

The letters

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