Rain Dances

Microsoft vs. OnLive: Compliance, Licensing & Family Drama

It seems that these days Microsoft cannot escape the iPad shadow, even when it brings popularity to its own products. Case and point: Microsoft is alleging OnLive iPad Windows / Office application is in violation of Microsoft licensing terms and is currently working towards a resolution. OnLive, which provides Windows 7 desktop, Office and storage for free from your iPad has been gaining popularity for a while, for obvious reasons, and Microsoft is finally talking about bringing them into compliance.

Those are the facts as far as the public is concerned, but there is more to this than meets the eye. Principal founder of OnLive is Steve Perlman who happened to be a division president at Microsoft. Combine that with the fact of how Microsoft typically deals with license compliance issues – I’ll spare you the details but it typically involves federal marshals.

At the time when Microsoft can’t even seem to buy media attention with even its former CTO is saying that we’re in the post-PC era having fallen desperately behind in the cloud services that it has to offer steep discounts and it’s tablet Windows 8 OS far away – it’s hard to see what is holding Microsoft back from helping the only friends it seems to have left – small business MSP partners.

Smaller partners like PointClickWork that offer virtual desktop solutions and champion them to other MSP businesses seem to have to abide by the different rules (as dictated by Microsoft SPLA agreement) and one has to wonder how Microsoft plans to create a level playing field if licensing is not fair across all it’s partners.

Stay tuned.

One thought on “Microsoft vs. OnLive: Compliance, Licensing & Family Drama
  • Brett Jaffe says:

    Interesting follow up Vlad. This is one of those issues that struck a nerve with me. One of the challenges of developing cloud solutions is dealing with the costs and complexities of licensing,

    Microsoft set the bar pretty low with Office 365, and those of us on the SPLA side simply can’t compete when they charge us more to deliver the product then they are offering it for direct. Don’t get me wrong, that is a small part of an overall offering, but I believe that Microsoft got caught with their pants down on the equivalent of a back room deal, and they now have to save face by publicly addressing the licensing question.

    They have now shown their hand. They are far more interested in a direct model than going through the partner channel, but need the partner revenue to continue to fund their direct strategy in the interim. Solution providers certainly need to be on their toes to see where they will fit in the ecosystem going forward.

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