Delivery of Desktop-like Functionality through Outsourcer Arrangements and Service Provider License Agreements

Delivery of Desktop-like Functionality through Outsourcer Arrangements and Service Provider License Agreements

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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.

More information about our SPLA program can be found here and about VDI here

Comments
  • Joe

    while I appreciate the clarification with regard to the service that OnLive is providing. You have to acknowledge that it is long past time for Microsoft to address the shortcomings within its current licensing policy with regard to VDI.

    The increasing adoption of mobile technologies coupled with the consumerization of IT and bring your own device programs is increasingly blurring the boundaries between corporate devices and personal devices. Microsoft's licensing policies in this regard have failed to keep up with these trends and needs to be addressed promptly.

    Simon Bramfitt

  • How about fixing it so that SPLA partners can offer a proper VDI environment? You can offer almost any other piece of Microsoft software through SPLA including stripping down a 2008R2 RDS session to be nearly identical to Windows 7 but for some reason Microsoft is being stubborn on offering what their end customers and partners actually want.

  • My problem with Windows7 under SPLA is not connected to VDI. My problem is that you can't provide a fully managed client (Workplace as a Service) incl license and hardware. This becuase you can't report Win7 Ent in SPLA. You have to make this available either as a single SKU or as separated SKU's for DirectAccess, BitLocker and BrancheCache. Please read my full story on inmaxmind.com about this weird thinking / problem. Start post in the three step story: inmaxmind.blogspot.com/.../daas-part-2-1-of-3-what-happens-when.html

  • You guys suck. Always eating dirt from the competitors ahead and trying to catch them by using patents, lawyers, releasing a major Win version which could be only a UI app, or simply copying competitors like you did with iCloud.

    Bill Gates should feel ashamed of MS.

  • "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."

    To the contrary, your poor communication and rationale behind Desktop as a Service licensing has caused months and months of consternation, frustration and resignation amongst your best service provider customers and partners, to the point where there are obviously companies that would rather risk legal action than continue to underserve their customers.  To say that this licensing model is designed to ensure a quality experience is disingenuous at best.  This is about making sure that a draconian licensing policy is there to back Microsoft's poor technology in this space (RDS), ensuring it's perpetuation despite multiple superior non-Microsoft alternatives.  Ones that actually do provide a better experience for both the end user and the provider.

    This has to end.  If you are willing to compete on the strengths of your technology and let the market choose, rather than use your market share to force customers and partners into compromising solutions, include Windows 7/8 licenses into the SPLA program.  Stop the silly device-based licensing.  If you aren't willing to compete, at least listen to your customers and partners.  If the OnLive situation isn't a sign that something is broken, what is?

  • Microsoft Licensing demonstrates every weakness of Microsoft as a legacy company that is too much buried in its own hubris to do what the market needs. There is absolutely no clarity between its enterprise licensing, service provide licensing, rental licensing and virtualization licensing especially when two or more of them come together in new business models. And then there is Microsoft's own plans for Azure that may compete with services like OnLive and raise anti-competitive issues for the licensing. Does DoJ has to slap them and knock some sense into them again?

    It looks like different business units within Microsoft competing with each other for licensing money and stepping on each other.

    The result is a mess of licensing that requires reactive knee-jerking like this and shooting themselves in the foot in new business models that actually have a chance of maintaining market share despite the Apple onslaught. Instead, they seem to be following Apple's ideas even though Microsoft is not a hardware vendor.

    What a disaster of a company.

  • So your admitting that Onlive is in license violation? Where's the Cease And Desist? Where's the BSA Auditors and lawyers?

    It's clear from the outside that MS is giving Onlive a pass because MS sees the giant gaping whole they have left in the mobile market. This whole is widening and could take on Microsoft's cash cows, Desktop OS(Win7) and Office. Without any knowledge of the actual numbers I would be hard pressed to believe Microsoft sales of Office are anything but in a downward trend. Corporations are still using Office 03, XP even 2000 and Microsoft gives away Office to students and even small businesses with Home and Student, like any small business cares about the EULA agreement that says you can't use these versions in a business.

  • The claim that

    "Our licensing terms provide clarity and consistency for our partners"

    tells you everything you need to know about this issue.

    QED.

  • > 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.

    The hardware that runs the VM (that contains a licensed copy of Windows7) can't be shared and can't run other customers VMs (even when only 1 VM is active at a time)?

    Could someone expand on why that is so? And where that hardware is defined to start and stop (for example on a SeaMicro server that partitions IO, or on a blade cluster).

    I'm assuming this is only a restriction for SPLAs and not on OEM copies used in a similar "desktop hosting" fashion?

  • Microsoft got paid when Onlive bought a copy of Windows - any more is sick greed on the part of Micro$oft

  • It is clear that Microsoft had a back-room deal with OnLive due to a previous relationship.  It was discreet and, for lack of a better word, sleazy.

    The founder of OnLive has made well over .5 Billion selling two companies to Microsoft.  Microsoft has also struggled to get into the mobile market properly and has selfishly stifled the virtual desktop market with this crazy scheme of having to dedicate hardware resources to each client, thereby making it impossible to host actual virtual desktops.  Microsoft has been secretly complicit in this scandal and as simply caught with their pants down when it was publicly brought to light.

    Licensing is NOT clear.  At a recent event, I asked how VDA licensing worked in an environment where a client had multiple devices, etc... The M$ rep, who worked on the licensing team full time for over 6 years, could not even properly answer my question.  And yet the hosting community as a whole is supposed to comprehend it.

    If Microsoft is truly making unique licensing arrangements with OnLive, then disclose them and make the same terms available to others who are attempting to provide a similar service.  Without transparency and consistency with enforcing such requirements, Microsoft is simply using its monopolistic practice to shun its partners... those very same partners who helped build Microsoft and make a living on the software, putting their kids through school, and paying the bills.

    Shame on you Microsoft.

  • OnLive is awesome and puts anything else to shame. One more reason to love my iPad. If only I could install Visual Studio and git on it.

  • I am to a great extent impressed with the article I have just read interesting very good…<a href="www.agreements.org/.../">Licence Agreements</a>

  • Very interesting take on the matter:

    www.wired.com/.../ceo-dares-microsoft

    “He Will Scream ‘Antitrust’”

  • "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."

    What a joke.   Insourmountable licensing requirements and licensing reps that do not even understand what is required to bring someone into complaince make VDI seem like an impossible dream.   And the fact that MS Licensing requires a series of  courses to begin to understand (partner.microsoft.com/.../40029101), is indicative of a serious problem, and the fact that I pay so much money for licensing yet remain a pirate makes this joke all the more sad.

    You're creating a serious handicap, and the only reason you can get away with this is because you are still the dominant force.  I anxiously await the day this changes.

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