Microsoft Adds Rental of Windows and Office to the Table

The rumors late last year have now proven to be true: certain businesses can now purchase Rental Rights copies of various editions of both Windows and Office. Windows and Office licenses don’t allow the software to be rented, leased or outsourced to a third person or party. Therefore, many organizations that rent/lease desktop computers are not compliant with licensing requirements. Places in violation would include businesses such as Internet cafes, hotel or airport Internet kiosks, and even stores such as Rent A Center. This is where Rental Rights comes into play. It’s a way for these types of organizations to obtain a waiver of these licensing restrictions, by purchasing a one-time license transaction… which is valid for the life of the machine.

In my opinion, it’s about time that Microsoft came up with a way to make things easier on companies such as this. Take an Internet Cafe for example: they purchased one copy of Windows per machine. However, those machines were then used by hundreds (or thousands!) of people. Technically, this would be against the licensing requirements. What would Microsoft have had them do though? Should they have closed their doors, or purchased a whole new license each time a new person logged on to a machine? Of course not. That wasn’t feasible, so it was up to the powers-that-be in Redmond to figure out a way to make this work.

Is this new licensing arrangement going to work for smaller businesses, and Microsoft themselves? I happen to think it will, yes. Microsoft has structured it in a way that businesses can choose from a couple of different licensing options, depending on their particular needs and use of the software. It’s quite simple: a company installs a legitimate copy of Windows and/or Office onto each machine that they have. They can then lease or rent the computer out to as many customers as they wish, without having to pay any additional fees.

There is, however, one major drawback. The way I am understanding it, currently paid-for copies of Windows and Office will NOT work. They have to purchase new licenses, rendering their current ones unusable. This, to me, is a waste of money. It also wastes time, since they have to re-install the software, and get everything working to their liking again.

Why can’t the companies just keep their currently-installed software, and purchase the new license? There could be a website form created by Microsoft where the company owners/managers can then go to validate the new license on already-installed software. This would save time – and money.

I don’t feel that companies such as this have been intentionally breaking any law. Rather, the fault lie on the side of Microsoft for not having the proper type of licensing available until now. What are your thoughts? If you own a company or business that is affected by these changes, how do you plan to handle them?