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Office 2003 licensing on 2003 Terminal Server

Zenith63 asked
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-04-18
Not sure where I should be asking this as there isn't a Terminal Services section (maybe there should be one opened?) but here goes anyway.

I'm looking for general information really on how the licensing works for Office 2003 on a Windows 2003 Terminal Server.

I will be putting in a new Windows 2003 Server with Terminal Services for about 20-25 users.  They will all need access to MSOffice applications.  They will be connecting to the TS from the local LAN using Windows CE on terminals, so won't have Office installed locally on their terminals.

Do I need a specific version of Office 2003?  Office 2003 SBE would be the preference.
Can I use OEM copies of Office 2003?  Like can I just buy 25 OEM Office 2003 SBE CDs with licenses affixed?
When installing Office 2000 on a TS you just install it once with one license key and it works.  Is this the same for 2003, considering stricter licensing and Product Activation?  I mean will I need to enter the 25 license keys?  Will I need to activate the software 25 times?

Hopefully you can see the info I'm looking for.  Those are most of the questions I have but I'm looking for any other info that may be pertinent to what I'm trying to do here.  I've read a number of MS documents on this so please don't just post a heap of links for me, straight answers would be much more useful...

Thanks for any help!
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Hi Zenith63,

You do not need a special version of Office, although an OEM version would not be appropriate.

Your best option would probably be MS Open Licensing - it would work out cheaper than oem licensing anyway.

Basically, you will install it once, with 1 key, activate it once and it will work for all users.  The only difference is making sure you are license compliant, there isn't any real enforcement of it.

Hope that helps,


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I concur with redseatechnologies on how the install works, but...

<license rant> if you are not licensed properly it -is- a risk to the company. Expensive? yes. Unless you're willing to run the risk of owing four times the license cost, do the smart thing and purchase a license for each terminal server user. If it's your job to handle IT, don't get caught holding the bag for the fines of four times the licensing cost. </license rant>

If it's politically possible in the company, try Openoffice 2.0.4 for the terminal server users. Note these items, though:

 * There's no license issue
 * There may not be support in your area (but support -is- available for OpenOffice)
 * OpenOffice does -not- have an email client



>>I concur with redseatechnologies on how the install works, but...

I hope I was clear that proper licensing is absolutely crucial, just because it is not enforced does not mean that it should be ignored.

When I first saw this Q I thought I was going to have to break the news to the asker that they will need a license for each concurrent user :)

Been there, done that. :-) It's always fun [1] to tell an asker, "Your boss needs to cough up another US$250,000 for lincensing for that"...


[1] For small values of


Thanks for the replies!

We definitely want to do the licensing right, I just wanted to know how it went about enforcing it etc.

On the OEM side of things can you just clarify what you mean by "not appropriate"?  In theory it is being installed on a new server and the terminals are all brand new out of the box with Windows CE?  It would still be wrong to use OEM copies though?

OEM versions are typically sold with the hardware as a package deal. I'd have to read over MS's contracts to see what they mean it to require.


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To install Office 2003 legally on a TS, you have to use either a retail version or a volume licensing version; using an OEM version is not allowed by the EULA.
The Office licensing is *per* *device*, and it is *not* concurrent; that means that you need an Office 2003 license for each client device accessing the terminal server at any time (and *not* the maximum amount of devices devices connecting at the same time).

OEM Office for Terminal Services? You might want to check that EULA...


I'm not trying to be picky here, I just want to make sure I have the official answer on it because there will be quite a difference in pricing for us.  In the link oBdA it states
"an OEM license of Office has to be installed on the local machine, from the local machine (i.e. CD/DVD drive in machine), and can only be run on that local machine."
Now Office will be installed on the TS, from a CD-ROM in the TS and run on the TS.  Unless I'm mistaken it this doesn't really breach the above statement?

Surely MS get asked this question regularly about TS and Office and have an office yay or nay on it?  Our MS reseller couldn't answer the question definitively either.
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The point here is that OEM licenses do not allow to be used via a network. When you start the TS session on the client (the device you're actually using Office on, the same device that has to be licensed to be allowed to use Office), you're using the network to run Office.
Here's the result of a telephone call to a MS licensing representative, stating as well that OEM licenses are no good for TS installs:
How to install Microsoft Office on Terminal Server
You can always call Microsoft and ask directly; they'll be glad to help.


Great thanks, that answers all my question conclusively!

oBdA- True I could have rang MS I guess, I just feel you tend to get more complete replies by asking on this place though.  You get answers that may not be the 100% MS recommended way of doing things but may suit the situation etc..

Thanks again.
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