Microsoft Senior Sales Excellence Manager - Eric Ligman

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Answer to a question on how Microsoft Office is licensed in a Terminal Services environment and why OEM Office doesn’t cover it, in plain English

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Answer to a question on how Microsoft Office is licensed in a Terminal Services environment and why OEM Office doesn’t cover it, in plain English

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Earlier today I received a mail from a Partner stating they found Microsoft licensing to be “confusing and convoluted” in regards to Microsoft Office in a Terminal Services environment.  This was posted in response to an earlier Blog post I had: “OEM Office for Terminal Services? You might want to check that EULA...  To be fair, here is an exact quote from the Partner:

“Microsoft's insanely confusing and convoluted licensing programs, and their incredibly unreasonable demands regarding the licensing of some products (especially concerning Office on a Terminal Server)"

The request made by the Partner was, and this again is a direct quote, “to get at least an explanation that could help us to rationalize such stupid licensing requirements to our clients?”   In addition, they added, “I am looking for someone who really knows their stuff, not someone who is reading a EULA to me from their screen in their call-center.”  As such, I thought I would share the explanation on Office licensing and Terminal Services “in plain English” I sent back to help address this:

1.     Microsoft Office is a desktop application. As such, you need (1) Microsoft Office license per desktop using the Microsoft Office software. Terminal Services does not change the number of devices accessing and using a software application, it merely provides another avenue to access the software through. So licensing Microsoft Office doesn't change at all regardless if Terminal Services is used or not. You still need one license per device accessing and using the Microsoft Office application.

2.     When someone purchases a commercial software license (Microsoft or not), they are not purchasing the software itself. The software bits and bytes are owned by the software publisher. What you are buying is the rights to use the software under the terms and conditions of the license agreement you purchased. As such, when purchasing software, you should purchase the license that provides you with the rights you want.

a.      For instance, if you want to be able to run Microsoft Access, don't buy a Microsoft Standard license because this does not give you the rights to run Access. Be sure to purchase an Office license that does provide you the rights to run Microsoft Access.

b.     If you want to be able to run Microsoft Publisher, don't buy a Microsoft Standard license because this does not give you the rights to run Publisher. Be sure to purchase an Office license that does provide you the rights to run Microsoft Publisher.

c.      If you want the rights to be able to transfer your Office license from one machine to another one when you retire the original PC, be sure you buy a license that provides those rights. Don't buy an OEM Office license since OEM licenses do not provide transfer rights. Volume Licensing and Retail Box Office licenses do provide transfer rights.

d.     If you want the rights to be able to install a prior version of Office instead of the version you purchased, be sure to purchase an Office license with downgrade rights. Don't purchase an OEM or Retail Box of Office 2007 since those do not have downgrade rights. Purchase a Volume License of Office 2007 since it does have Downgrade Rights.

e.     If you want the rights to be able to access and run Office from a network device, be sure to purchase an Office license with Network Storage and Use Rights. Don't purchase an OEM Office license since it does not provide Network Storage and Use rights. Purchase a Volume License of Office so that you have Network Storage and Use Rights.

f.     The statement that because you have an OEM Office license, you should be able to use it in a Terminal Services environment is the same as saying you have an Office Standard license so you should be able to run Access. Why? You did not purchase the rights to have Network Storage and Use rights just like you did not pay to have rights to run Access, so why should you be entitled to do so? Simply purchase a license that provides you with what you want.

Why do you think there are different prices for the varying license types? (OEM, Retail Box, and Volume Licensing) It is because you are purchasing more or less rights for the software. In the case of Volume Licensing though, you get more rights than Retail Box; however, the price is lower due to volume and business discounts. I created a short video explaining these differences that you can view HERE

And I can assure you, I am not simply "reading a EULA to me from their screen in their call-center."

Thank you and have a wonderful day,

Eric Ligman
Microsoft US Senior Manager,
Small Business Community Engagement
This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights

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  • PingBack from http://blogs.msterminalservices.org/conger/2007/08/10/how-microsoft-office-is-licensed-in-a-terminal-services-environment/

  • Please accept the following as coming NOT from a Microsoft Partner, but from a confused client.  This is what we deal with every day as we try to help our clients remain "legal":

    With regard to 1 (above):  Terminal Services provides "Desktops", for a fee.  Therefore, the client PC being used to access Terminal Services is NOT the desktop - the desktop is ON THE TERMINAL SERVER.  Why should I buy a copy of office for 6 different remote PCs, when the desktop is always on the Terminal Server?

    With regard to 2a and 2b, I have yet to stumble upon a client who expects to be able to run Access or Publisher when it's not purchased.  

    As far as 2c is concerned, THAT is what most clients think the OEM discount is for - the big-box retailers don't explain the lack of  "Network Storage and Use Rights" with the OEM versions they sell at a savings.

    Downgrade rights isn't something I run into often, but it can easily be sold as is.  2d is not hard to sell.

    2e:  if I could go back in time and tell clients not to buy that Office OEM from Dell or Staples, then this would also not be an issue.  I would agree that a client not reading the EULA is no reason whey they should be exempt from its terms, but they don't even get the opportunity to read it until they've accepted delivery.

    2f, like 2a and 2b, is just plain ridiculous:  telling a client that "Network Storage and Use" rights is just another feature of Office, like Access or Publisher, is a stretch at best.  

    A description of Office Standard (http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/suites/FX101635841033.aspx) says it includes this app and that app but not that app - nowhere does it say that this version includes "Network Storage and Use Rights" but that one doesn't.

    I am no longer asking Microsoft to change its licensing policy - I concede that there may be good reasons for them, even though many clients can't understand them.  However, in order to provide complete information when preparing a proposal for my clients, I would just like to hear how Microsoft justifies charging a fee for a Terminal Services CAL to access a remote desktop, then refusing to recognize it as a desktop as far as Office is concerned.

    Thanks for listening - have a good day.

  • I have worked in Terminal Services and Citrix for some time now.  The constant issue I have with publishing Microsoft applications, is in the licensing requirements.  

    Correct me if I am wrong, but I have been advised on many occassions - if I publish any MS application on a Citrix Farm / Terminal Services - I have to cater for licesning for all users who have access to that farm - within the Active Directory Domain.

    Eg.  I have an AD domain with 3,000 Users.  Technically, these users can authenticate and gain access to the Citrix Farm.  I have been advised, that I would have to license each MS product published in this farm - for the total 3,000 users - regardless of the fact that I can restrict user access to the published applications, eg. 50 users accessing MS Visio, etc.

    Can anyone from Microsoft confirm this, as it is ridiculous

  • @ Paul M - As noted in my post above, Office is licensed by Device, not user.  So in your scenario, if you have 3,000 users and they access Office from 500 PCs, then they need 500 Office licenses (1 per PC).  You need 1 Office license per client device, not User.  Citrix in no way changes how Microsoft applications are licensed.

  • In the scenario above, you would only need Office licences for the devices that connect to your Citrix environment.  If you have 3000 users but only 50 'devices' connect to the Citrix environment then you would only need 50 licences.   If all 2000 devices connect to Citrix for say MS Office but only 50 devices need access to MS Visio, then you need to prove that only 50 devices can run MS Visio.   You can use products like AppSense Application Manager to achieve this.  (It can restrict access to applications on your farm based on Client Name or Client IP, rather then username).

    See. ...http://www.appsense.com/files/documentation/Windows_Terminal_Server_Software_Licensing_Control_UK.pdf

  • Awhile back there were a few threads floating through the MSSMALLBIZ User Group regarding the differences

  • According to the article, my organization needs to purchase an Office license for every device on the Internet since our users launch the Office products via the Internet. However, I'm having difficulty finding the total number of devices on the Internet in order to forecast next years software budget. Interestingly, Microsoft appears to have solved this situation with TS CALs by offering both per-user and per-device licensing. It doesn't make sense why this model hasn't made it to their other products since many are delivered via TS.

  • @ "Office via the Internet" - Why do you think the article implies you need an Office license for every computer on the internet?  Are your users going to go out, sit at every computer on the internet and access Office from each of those computers on the internet?  You only need licenses for the computers from which you access and use Microsoft Office, that is it.  If your users use 10 computers to run Office, you need 10 Office licenses.  If they use 50 computers to run Office, you need 50.  I believe you may have mis-interpreted something in the post if you felt it meant you need an Office license for every computer on the internet.  I hope this clarifies that for you.

  • What the h3ll is Microsoft thinking?!?!  You mean that if I need to open a Word document or an Excel

  • PingBack from http://quote.wpbloggers.com/?p=5393

  • I have seen a conversation taking place in one of the online forums about how Microsoft Office is licensed

  • I have seen a conversation taking place in one of the online forums about how Microsoft Office is licensed

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