Microsoft Licensing – Rental Rights

Blockbuster And Microsoft ...

Microsoft Rental Rights are aimed at customers who

“rent, lease, or outsource PCs to third parties with qualifying Microsoft Windows or Microsoft Office software”

and are designed to make this previously tricky situation much easier by helping ensure all parties involved are compliant with MS licensing rules

“Rental Rights” are sold with, or on top of, existing volume licences and assigned per device. The rights exist for the life of the licensed device and cannot be re-assigned.

They have been available in a limited number of countries for a few months but, as of January 2010, they will be part of the Worldwide pricelist. The will be available on:

  • Open
  • Select
  • Select Plus

(so not available on Open Value, Enterprise Agreements or Campus/Schools)

for the following products:

  • Windows 7 Professional
  • Office Professional Plus 2007
  • Office Std 2007

Rules for Office

There are a couple of rules changes once Rental Rights are assigned.

Portable Copy:

“You may not use or permit use of additional copies of the qualifying software on a separate portable device or a network device. This prohibition overrides any right you have under the license terms that came with your qualifying software

Office gives you “Portable Installation Rights” which allows users to install their copy of Office on both a desktop AND a laptop. This is very useful for business users but, as you can see above, it is NOT permitted with Rental Rights.

Rules for Windows

Downgrade Rights:

Always a hot topic when it comes to the desktop OS, the ability to use previous versions.

“You may use a prior version of the software in place of the qualifying software only if the qualifying software was licensed under your volume licensing agreement, except for Windows XP Professional licensed from an original equipment manufacturer”

So downgrade rights are available where the original software was purchased via Volume Licensing. The exception to that is OEM XP Pro (so that came pre-installed on the machine).

Rules for both:

Remote Access:

“You may not permit remote access to the qualifying software. This prohibition overrides any right for the primary user of the licensed device or any user of a separately licensed device to access that software under the license terms that came with the qualifying software.”

Virtual Machines:

Rental Rights don’t apply in virtual environments…

“In other words, the primary customer may not create and rent virtual machines.”

How Rental Rights Work:

Here are a couple of diagrams to illustrate the whole thing:

Acquiring Software Assurance:

Software Assurance (SA) gives users many benefits including version upgrades, e-learning, training vouchers and access to MDOP among others. It is becoming more and more useful to more and more organizations in more and more ways…and businesses that lease their machines can take advantage too.

SA isn’t available to the “Primary Customer” acquiring the Rental Rights (i.e. the leasing company) but it CAN be purchased by the end user. So an organization that leases it’s machines on a long term contract can purchase SA on their own Volume Licensing agreement.

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