A lot of folks must be rubbing their eyes in disbelief: Microsoft has actually introduced a licensing option that makes life easier for businesses that lease or “rent” Microsoft Windows and Office software to their customers on a per-use basis. Companies that will theoretically benefit from Microsoft’s new “Rental Rights” include internet cafes, print shops, kiosk companies, and office equipment leasing firms that allow customers to pay a fee to use their machines. Previously, such companies were required to purchase a Service Provider Licensing Agreement (SPLA), a licensing scheme that can be prohibitively costly and complicated for small businesses. Evidently (and not surprisingly), the lack of flexible licensing options led to an increased piracy rate among businesses that offer equipment rental services to its customers. Microsoft first piloted the program in countries where the per capita piracy rate is unusually high, such as Brazil, Hong Kong, India, Korea, Japan, China, Russia, and Thailand.
According to Eric Ligman, Global Partner Experience Lead with the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Group, “Rental Rights licenses are one-time licenses that are valid for the term of the underlying software agreement or the life of the PC. These rental rights are available as an additive license to Microsoft Open License, Select License, and Select Plus Volume Licensing agreements.”
The programs that qualify for Rental Rights are:
- Windows 7 Professional
- Windows Vista Business
- Windows XP Professional
- Microsoft Office Professional Plus
- Microsoft Office Standard 2007
You can read more about the Rental Rights licensing program in Eric Ligman’s January 14 Blog Post.