Distributing Windows Virtual Machines - MS licensing

jbla9028 used Ask the Experts™
I have a product that we'd like to sell to our customers and distribute the software pre-installed in our customers virtual environment. In this scenario, we would setup a VM with our product and it would be running Windows 2008 R2 Standard edition. We would sysprep the VM and export it as a VMWare OVA file. The customer would download and import it into their environment.

The customer does not "purchase" this copy of windows or the VM. We are "renting" via our licensing agreement to the customer. We manage the VM and the software in the agreement. if the customer shuts off our service, we would require the customer to delete the VM.  If we buy a volume license through microsoft, are we compliant or are we violating microsoft's policies? is there a licensing model that would work without distributing hardware or OEM if this proposed model is not compliant?
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Most Valuable Expert 2013
Ignoring your product which has it's own EULA and concentrating on the licencing for 2K8 R2 you're not going to be able to use either a rental agreement or OEM as a VM as both scenarios are specifically prohibited by the licensing from Microsoft.  VL's are only valid within an umbrella organisation so unless all your customers actually are also your employees that's out as well.

But this is such a specific situation you would be better showing your business model to M$'s legal people.

My IANAL/You can't use the defense of "some guy I met on the Internet said it's OK" in court gut feeling is until M$ widen their rental terms you can't do this.


What if we were to deploy it on the basis and require that the customer activate the Windows Instance? Since we're not using our volume license, could the customer use theirs?
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Nagendra Pratap SinghDesktop Applications Specialist

I have seen such a VM. This came from Altiris (Not sure if it was part of Symantec then).


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