Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

When Office Is in the Cloud and on a Tablet, Is It Really Office?

Now we know how Microsoft feels about the whole “desktop as a service” thing that has started to gain traction in some quarters: It doesn’t like it.

Redmond today officially pushed back against OnLive, a company known best for its streaming gaming service that has created a streaming desktop for use on tablets, including Apple’s iPad and those running Android.

OnLive started offering the service last month for $4.99 per user per month, including two gigabytes of cloud storage.

In a corporate blog post today, Joe Matz, Microsoft’s corporate vice president for worldwide licensing, said the company sees OnLive’s product as a violation of its licensing terms for Office. “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. The licensing terms allow some desktop functionality on a tablet, but not the full version delivered as a hosted service, he wrote.

Microsoft partners who host under the Services Provider License Agreement (“SPLA”) may bring some desktop-like functionality as a service by using Windows Server and Remote Desktop Services. Under this solution, the partner is free to offer this service to any customer they choose, whether or not they have a direct licensing agreement with Microsoft. However, it is important to note that 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. Office may only be provided as a service if it is hosted on Windows Server and Remote Desktop Services.

The response from OnLive was brief: “We have never commented on any licensing agreements.”

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work