Rental Rights Licenses For Windows OS And MS Office

After reading my blog post about Legalizing The Rental Of Windows OS And MS Office, I know that many of you got more confused on how to go about using the software legally in a business like an Internet café.  Because of this, I made more researches on what Microsoft intend to do and accomplish when it quietly announced at the beginning of the year that it will finally and automatically allow renting out some of its software. What software are covered and how do their buyers get the rental rights licenses for them  are just a few of the questions that will come to an i-café owner’s mind. Can the old software like Windows XP and MS Office 2003 which are some of the more widely-used software by the industry still be licensed for renting? These questions and some others are what I will attempt to answer with this article.

Let me first mention that the renting of MS software (primarily Windows and Office) in Philippine i-cafés was made legal in the past years by virtue of the Software Rental Rights Agreement (later called Internet Rental Rights Agreement) issued by Microsoft to i-café owners who purchased and installed genuine software on their computers before applying for the agreement. The agreements which can be called rental rights licenses were issued for free by Microsoft.

If I remember it right, the rental rights agreement dates back since the time of Windows 98 and was granted even to XP Home OEM version in early 2008. The rental rights agreement are valid for one (1) year from the date of issue by Microsoft and renewable every year thereafter. With the new rental rights licensing issued in the beginning of this year, it remains to be seen if Microsoft will still continue to issue rental rights agreements to i-cafés using the old XP operating systems and Office productivity software.

In the Microsoft Rental Rights Licensing section of the MS Partner Network, the official announcement says that the new rental rights licenses for Windows desktop operating system and MS Office software will be available worldwide as of January 1, 2010. It will apply on all new or current professional versions of Microsoft products. This means that the licensing scheme will only be applicable to Windows 7 Professional Edition and Office 2007 Professional Plus and newer versions if ever. Windows XP Pro can be included if the software is obtained by virtue of the downgrade right of the software buyer.  Windows desktop operating system and MS Office software used on virtual or remote workstations cannot be licensed for renting.

By the way, the Rental Rights licenses do not remove the requirement for full, valid licenses for Windows and Office. The Rental Rights licenses are “add-on” licenses that allow rental, leasing, and outsourcing in addition to the original licenses and unlike the old rental rights agreement, Rental Rights licenses will not be free. However, Microsoft is offering big promotional discounts from its regular price of Rental Rights licenses until the end of June 2010 as follows:

A) Rental Rights license for Windows OS Professional is available at $23 per copy as opposed to  its regular price of $32 per copy. The promo price directly translates to PhP1,058 per copy at the currency exchange rate of US$1.00 = PhP46.00

B) Rental Rights license of MS Office Professional is available for $58 per copy instead of the regular $83 per copy. The promo price is equal to PhP2,668 per copy at US$1.00 : PhP46.00 currency exchange rate.

The above is for now the available legal way for i-café owners to obtain the right to rent Windows OS and MS Office unless Microsoft will consider a different licensing scheme for Philippine i-cafés. The continuation of the Internet Rights Rental Agreement (IRRA) is the only other option. We can only hope that Microsoft considers a more advantageous licensing scheme for i-cafés in the country.

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