The Microsoft PUR is too short

Considering its total size of a whopping 122 pages, many people feel that Microsoft’s Product Use Rights document (PUR) is way too large. Until December 2010, with 138 pages it was even bigger, which was due to a useful eight-page explanation of the licensing models. This explanation was then rewritten and moved into a separate document called “The Product Use Rights explained”.

I feel, though, that the PUR is too short because there are too many questions that it does not answer. For example, here is a simple question: “do you need a Windows Device CAL for a network printer that obtains a dynamic IP address from a Windows Server?” If your answer is “no”, I tend to agree with you, but one of my otherwise reliable sources within Microsoft has told me that I am wrong.  The PUR states: “You must acquire and assign a CAL to each device or user that accesses your instances of the server software directly or indirectly.” No definition of “device” is given, so if a network printer with a dynamic IP address is a “device”, what about a network printer with a static IP address, an uninterruptable power supply (UPS) or a network switch? By not defining “device”
customers and partners are left in the dark with regards to this important matter. A single sentence that defines what a device is could solve this.

Over the last couple of years I have seen other  examples of this phenomenon. For
example, even though the PUR does not say so, customers may use Office for Mac Standard 2011 if they are licensed for Office Professional Plus 2010 with Software Assurance (SA). Again, one sentence could have avoided a lot of confusion.

Here is another one. If organizations A and B are affiliates, may A use its Windows CAL for accessing B’s Windows Server? The answer is “yes”, but the PUR no longer confirms this.

On the plus side, Microsoft has published numerous great Volume Licensing Briefs such as the recent article “Licensing Microsoft Office Professional Plus for Office 365” ( However, whereas the PUR is an official document (in fact, Volume Licensing agreements refer to the PUR!), Volume Licensing briefs are not. They contain this footnote: “This document is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS DOCUMENT. This information is provided to help guide your authorized use of products you license; it is not your agreement. Your use of products licensed under your volume license agreement is governed by the terms and conditions of that agreement. In the case of any conflict between this information and your agreement, the terms and conditions of your agreement control.”

So, yes – I am one of the few people who love Microsoft licensing. But Microsoft, PLEASE, be more specific about what your customers may and may not do under their licenses. Just write it down, and licensing nerds like me will be glad to explain the facts to others who don’t feel like reading large documents.

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2 Responses to The Microsoft PUR is too short

  1. Marco B says:

    I love MS licensing as well and want to explain the complex cases to my customers. But when a question arises and after reading and reading and reading (no it’s not a typo) the PUR, I sometimes come to the conclusion that it’s unclear what they mean. I explain the case solution the way I understand the explanation in the PUR. When I have my doubts I have to go to other resources to get the right explanation. This is very time consuming and I’m convinced that when MS writes their statements in the PUR/PL in other understandable words the solution can be easier and quicker found.
    In the case above, what is the definition of a “device”? Is it every hardware related “thing” that is connected to the network and accesses the network and gets its stuff (in most cases only an ip-address) from the network? Please explain MS!

    So I agree completely with you Jelle, MS listen to your customers and make the PUR/PL easier readable.

  2. George says:

    Some definitions are deliberately “vague”, because being specific (legally) is: a) difficult and b) an invitation to work around them. Let’s say instead of “device” they say “computer”, printers would be excluded, but what else? Tablets, thin clients, mobile devices other cleverly constructed setups that may not be called “computer”? Who knows.

    So there is are legal documents, the EULA and the PUR, but the disclaimer in a VLB or other official MS document doesn’t mean they don’t have any value (legal or otherwise). Mainly the disclaimer just means that the document cannot give you any additional rights over what is specified in the applicable EULA/PUR. But it can clarify its meaning and interpret application to “real world” situations.

    As an official publicly published document you may rely on it for being accurate and use it to apply Microsoft licensing to your situation.


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