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Microsoft worried OnLive Desktop using Windows illegally

updated 05:00 pm EST, Thu March 8, 2012

Warns other partners about proper licensing

Microsoft has warned its partners and outsourcers that certain forms of Windows 7 in cloud services might be out of bounds. In most cases, the partner's customers themselves must hold valid Microsoft license agreements. The advisory has come in the wake of allegations that software-as-a-service provider OnLive may be using Windows and Office illegally in the way it streams from servers to users.

In its posting, Microsoft was passive and reminded partners that it was appropriate for them to host Windows 7 in a virtual desktop, but that the hardware on which the OS resides must be dedicated to a specific customer and not shared with other customers. Microsoft has similar requirements for the delivery of hosted services for Microsoft Office.

OnLine began offering its Desktop for iPad service in January. Through it, the company began providing cloud-based services for Windows 7 and three Microsoft Office apps for free with a 2GB storage account. The apps need to communicate with a server-based version of Windows. Earlier this month, OnLive expanded its Desktop app to Android tablets. It also began offering a premium service, Desktop Plus that adds Internet Explorer and Adobe Flash and PDF support to the Microsoft Office apps.

Recently, the media and industry analyst firm Gartner began to question if OnLive was violating Microsoft's licensing terms in the way that it offered Desktop and Desktop Plus. OnLive is normally quiet about how its system works, but it may be using large servers with many virtual instances and not dedicated systems.

Microsoft has begun a dialog with the cloud services provider to make sure it's licensed properly, but hasn't outlined its progress.

By Electronista Staff


  1. nowwhatareyoulookingat

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2009


    it's not "illegal"

    It might violate civil law, but that is not illegal.

  1. jpellino

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 1999


    Um, yeah.

    "In breach of contract" or "in violation of the EULA" is a whole different thing from "illegal".

  1. global.philosopher

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2010


    Real story

    Microsoft refuse to release MS Office version for iPad so they can coerce customers to their bloated yet to be released tablet OS..stop.
    Microsoft worried that people have found a way to still have the market defining iPad and access MS Office....stop.
    MIcrosoft will do everything they can to hurt tablet users until they fold....stop.

  1. Makosuke

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001


    Wrong Tactic

    This seems to be the exact opposite of what MS should be doing. What better possible business model is there for a company that sells OSes and productivity software than to have somebody virtualizing it for platforms on which it doesn't run. It's basically cementing the "necessity" of Windows and/or Office--"See, you need Office to get real work done on that iPad!"

    So long as they're getting some licensing fees from it, it's the potential to sell a copy of Windows and/or Office (or at least a partial one) to every iPad owner, without MS having to port a line of code.

    If OnLive really isn't paying, then that's something to complain about, but otherwise MS should be jumping up and down for joy at the existence of such a service.

  1. Tanker10a

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2003



    Ah yes! How is that for a nice piece of c*** to go with your iPad Hey?
    As if the world cannot do without Office on an iPad? You should listen to Walter Mossberg bragging about that piece of S#$T...

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