Posted by: Joe Matz,
Corporate Vice President, Worldwide Licensing and Pricing, Microsoft
Recently we have been asked whether and how Microsoft partners and outsourcers can use Windows 7 Clients on hosted server platforms to deliver desktops as a service while remaining consistent with their licenses. Microsoft’s licensing allows the following:
- Customers that want to work with partners to have them host Windows 7 in a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure solution on their behalf, can do so when the customer provides the partner licenses through the customer’s own agreements with Microsoft. The hosting hardware must be dedicated to, and for the benefit of the customer, and may not be shared by or with any other customers of that partner.
- Microsoft partners who host under the Services Provider License Agreement (“SPLA”) may bring some desktop-like functionality as a service by using Windows Server and Remote Desktop Services. Under this solution, the partner is free to offer this service to any customer they choose, whether or not they have a direct licensing agreement with Microsoft. However, it is important to note that SPLA does not support delivery of Windows 7 as a hosted client or provide the ability to access Office as a service through Windows 7. Office may only be provided as a service if it is hosted on Windows Server and Remote Desktop Services.
Our licensing terms provide clarity and consistency for our partners, ensure a quality experience for end customers using Windows across a variety of devices, and protect our intellectual property. It’s important to us and to our partners that we’re serious about issues of compliance.
Some inquiries about these scenarios have been raised as a result of recent media coverage related to OnLive’s Desktop and Desktop Plus services. Additionally, the analyst firm Gartner raised questions regarding the compliance of these services last week. We are actively engaged with OnLive with the hope of bringing them into a properly licensed scenario, and we are committed to seeing this issue is resolved.
In the meantime, it is of the highest importance to Microsoft that our partners have clear guidance so that they can continue to deliver exceptional expertise and creative solutions to customers within parameters of licensing policies.