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Microsoft Service Provider License Agreement

Posted on 2014-09-17
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Last Modified: 2014-10-05
I have received an email from Microsoft informing us that we need to sign up for the SPLA due to hosting a small software platform for external companies.  Is there anyway around this?  We have purchased all the licensing required for the environment, but now they are saying we have to pay more on a monthly basis to them outside of the licenses.  Is this true?  is there anyway around this?

Thanks,
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Question by:odddball
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Expert Comment

by:btan
ID: 40329612
probably this faq may help, for providing a partner-hosted Office solution to your end users the pdf guide give some assistance http://www.atria-tech.com/en/resources/Resources/Hosted_Microsoft_Office_Licensing_Brief.pdf

http://www.microsoft.com/hosting/en/us/licensing/splabenefits.aspx

What is the difference between SPLA and other Microsoft Volume Licensing programs?
Microsoft Volume Licensing programs offer several licensing options for customers to acquire Microsoft software licenses for internal use. Hosting providers who want to offer software services to their customers and who will include software licenses as part of their service offering should use SPLA. Microsoft SPLA is the only Microsoft Volume Licensing program that allows Microsoft products to be used for commercial hosting.
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Expert Comment

by:Dan Craciun
ID: 40329614
According to the SPLA program guide, if you use SQL Server, Exchange or any Microsoft product to provide services to other companies than your own, you are a Service Provider and need to sign the MSPLA and pay the monthly fees (plus agree to Microsoft audits etc).

Choices:
1. sign up and pay the monthly fee, as demanded
2. don't sign up and get sued. You may have to pay retroactively if you lose.
3. change your services so they don't use Microsoft products. Micorosoft's products are not unique (use MySQL/ PostgreSQL/Oracle etc instead of SQL Server, postfix/exim/etc instead of Exchange and so on) but if you only have Microsoft trained programmers or the applications are complex a rewrite might take too long to be economically viable.

HTH,
Dan
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btan earned 2000 total points
ID: 40329643
SPLA was designed specifically to provide a cost-effective method of providing services. Shared Web hosts, email servers, database servers, and others could license Windows Server—with multi-tenancy—at greatly reduced rates to provide Web sites, email, database space, and more to smaller customers effectively. Further, this pricing is month-to-month. Everybody wins....the most likely and logical differentiator is single-user/single-tenancy so that hosting companies and/or customers do not use the SPLA program to avoid paying the higher licensing fees for dedicated environments.

 For many businesses, that model may work fine, but others may not want to undertake the expense or hassle of entering into yet another contractual relationship with Microsoft. In those cases, businesses may want to consider the Self-Hosted Applications (SHA) rights that are available for certain products licensed under one of Microsoft’s several other, volume-licensing models (e.g., Open, Select, Enterprise). Pls see SHA (non-SPLA) vs SPLA
http://www.scottandscottllp.com/main/Non_SPLA_Licensing.aspx
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