How Microsoft Office Is Licensed In A Terminal Services Environment
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
The Microsoft Small Business Community Blog posted a great article on How Microsoft Office Is Licensed In A Terminal Services Environment due to an email 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 the Microsoft Small Business Community Blog 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.
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.