Thursday, 8 March 2012

OnLive in Licensing Trouble with Microsoft Over OnLive Desktop


So far OnLive has claimed that everything is in order with their licensing scheme for OnLive Desktop and OnLive Desktop Plus. OnLive provides the cloud streamed OnLive Desktop with Windows 7 and Microsoft Office for free and OnLive Desktop Plus for 4.99/Month. Many people from the DaaS (Desktop as a service) community cried foul over why OnLive can come away with this, when they can't. Microsoft was so far mum on this subject matter.


But not anymore. Joe Matz, Microsoft Vice President of Worldwide Licensing and Pricing wrote in a blog post that they are actively engaged with OnLive with the hope of bringing them into a properly licensed scenario, and they are committed to seeing this issue is resolved.

OnLive has claimed that they have licensing experts and that everything is in order. Microsoft looking into licensing of the OnLive Desktop doesn't mean that OnLive is wrong. Microsoft recently felt the heat of its partners over OnLive Desktop licensing. If OnLive's licensing is legal, Microsoft's partners demand to know how OnLive can do it and if OnLive has a special agreement with Microsoft they are crying antitrust. If not, OnLive is in trouble. So, either way, Microsoft is a powerful corporate entity and OnLive is feeling their heat now.



Here's the full blog post by Microsoft's Joe Matz:

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.

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