New “Online Services Terms” Document Streamlines and Unifies Licensing Terms across Microsoft’s Online Services

With Microsoft’s transformation to a Services and Devices company our portfolio of online services has grown rapidly and, with it, the documents, terms and conditions used to purchase them.  Microsoft is addressing this by launching a unified and simple “Online Services Terms” document that also provides all customers the best terms Microsoft has to offer for our Online Services.  

The Online Services Terms (OST) document replaces the Online Services Use Rights document starting July 1, 2014. The OST will be refreshed on a quarterly basis similar to the Product Use Rights document and is posted at the same location (

The OST includes:

  • A simpler set of General Terms that apply to all online services
  • Simpler service-specific use terms
  • Best terms for privacy and security across all online services
  • Enhanced Data Processing terms for Office 365, Microsoft Azure, Dynamics CRM Online and Windows Intune
  • The “Standard Contractual Clauses” (also called the “EU Model Clauses”), which will be available to all customers that want them to apply 

Launch of the OST represents a significant step forward in simplifying the way customers contract for Online Services with Microsoft. Not only does the OST provide unified set of terms for different online services Microsoft has to offer it also includes the best Privacy, Security, Data Processing and EU Model Clauses by default to all customers all over the world. 

To help net out the most significant changes, here are areas we’d like to highlight:

Best Terms

pp. 7-13

The OST includes Microsoft’s standard commitments on privacy, data processing and data security. These include the terms of Microsoft’s Data Processing Agreement and the EU Model Clauses, which previously were available only via amendment. Now every customer gets these terms, with no amendments required.

Privacy Terms

pp. 7-10

The OST provides a single set of privacy terms for Microsoft’s enterprise online services. These terms replace more than a dozen privacy statements that were linked in the OLSUR. Generally, they are more robust than the terms in those privacy statements including, for example, updated provisions on Microsoft’s use of Customer Data and disclosures in response to requests from law enforcement agencies and other third parties.

Security Terms & the EU Model Clauses

The OST now includes the detailed technical security measures that were only provided to customers that signed a Data Processing Agreement or Security Amendment.  Microsoft agrees to comply with the EU Model Clauses, but also provides an easy way for customers who do not want those terms to opt out of them.

Office 365 Core Features

pp. 16-19

The OST provides the core features commitments for Office 365 Services. Microsoft agrees not to change these features during the customer’s subscription. 

Simpler Subscriptions

pp. 4-6, 14-24, 27

Requirements for subscription licenses (SLs) are shorter and simpler.

  • General terms are clearer and no longer include redundant terms or terms that raised customer concerns and complaints.
  • Service-specific terms now read more like succinct terms rather than confusing tables of required SLs.
  • The SLs required for suites now are presented in a simple table that is easy for customers to understand.

No Changing Terms During a Subscription

During the term of each subscription, the Online Services terms that apply will not change.

Comments (8)

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  2. Anonymous says:

    We’ve blogged frequently about simplification initiatives in volume licensing such as our new Online Services Terms , and the Microsoft Products and Services Agreement . Here’s the latest in our ongoing commitment to simplify how customers

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