Virtual desktops running on the cloud (Desktop-as-a-Service or DaaS, if you need another acronym) have delivered desktop-style computing to mobile devices such as iPads and Android tablets. This is a way to remotely access the full functionality of a desktop (such as track-changes in MS Word, which is currently impossible on an iPad). This is the subject of a recent spat between OnLive, tuCloud and Microsoft. This dispute - a dramatic one in which tuCloud openly dared Microsoft to sue it - has focussed attention on the fine-print in Microsoft’s licensing regime under its Service Provider License Agreement. In a broader sense, it impacts any virtualization. When can a licensee of software deliver virtual access to multiple instances of that software, and how does the software vendor control such access?
This dispute is one which will be watched closely as it develops. Software vendors should review their terms and their licensing models to ensure that they have contractual terms that match the current virtualization risks and opportunities that come with DaaS.
For a related event, please join us for “Software Licensing: The Good, The Bad, and The Virtual“ on May 31, 2012.