OnLive's virtualised Windows 7 and Microsoft Office service for tablet users breaks Microsoft's licensing policies, the software giant has said.
Microsoft says OnLive's desktop-as-a-service, which includes virtualised versions of Windows 7 and Office for tablet users, is not properly licensed.Image credit: OnLive
OnLive, which is better known for streaming games from the cloud,
announced its desktop
and productivity service for iPads in January, and for Android
tablets last week. However, Microsoft licensing chief Joe Matz said on
Thursday that the service is not fully legitimate.
"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," Matz wrote in a
blog post, breaking Microsoft's silence on the matter.
OnLive Desktop Pro, a desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) product, costs
$9.99 (£6.45) per month and effectively turns iPads and Android
tablets into Windows terminals. Windows is properly available on some
tablets already, but Microsoft's big
tablet push will come later this year with the full launch of
According to Matz, when someone wants to use a Virtual Desktop
Infrastructure (VDI) version of Windows 7 through a hosted server
provider, that person has to provide their own licence for the copy of
"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 [hosting provider]," Matz added.
The licensing chief noted that it is possible for Microsoft
partners to "bring some desktop-like functionality as a service by
using Windows Server and Remote Desktop Services", under the Services
Provider License Agreement (SPLA).
However, he pointed out that the 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" — both of which OnLive seems to
Before Matz's post, Microsoft had stayed quiet on the legality of
OnLive's service. Analyst firm Gartner, on the other hand, said
late last month that there are serious risks with the provider's
Neither Microsoft nor OnLive has provided clear guidance on how users of these DaaS products must comply with Microsoft licensing requirements.– Gartner
"Organisations and end users should note that OnLive Desktop Plus
may present Microsoft licensing risks for organisations if consumers
install the product on company iPads or use it to edit company
documents from personal devices," Gartner warned in an analyst note. "Neither
Microsoft nor OnLive has provided clear guidance on how users of these
DaaS products must comply with Microsoft licensing requirements."
At the time, Gartner said it was possible that Microsoft could hold
both OnLive and its customers responsible for breaching its licensing
As for OnLive, the company has not yet responded to ZDNet UK's
request for comment on Matz's blog, although it did tell
sister site ZDNet.com: "We have never commented on any licensing
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