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Can you help me with my software licensing question?

So I'd like to make sure we're keeping with the spirit and letter of the various licenses we have. Some of our Microsoft Partner Network (MPN) memberships will provide us with "Internal Use" licenses, and I'm wondering if anyone can comment on that particular type of license, especially as noted below;

It's fairly clear how it applies to us for desktop software, such as Office and Visual Studio. The only places I have questions at all is related to the server software. Is my understanding correct that the license is intended to permit us to, for example, host our own publicly-visible web sites and/or private Intranet site(s)?

My understanding is that the license would not permit hosting SaaS though. Would it also disallow our own web application which we make available via subscription? (the line between that and SaaS could be fuzzy, anyway - my guess is that's a no, too).

It seems obvious that no form of hosting for third parties would be appropriate.

We have our SPLA, so our hosting for third parties is covered there. I just wanted to know if anyone had any comments/recommendations for us to consider for this, too.

marked as duplicate by Scott Pack, sysadmin1138 Feb 11 '12 at 2:57

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.


MAPS, MSDN, and TechNet internal use licenses do not allow you to host public facing web sites that you make available to your customers.

From the Microsoft Partner page:

Microsoft Action Pack Solution Provider Software Contents
Find the software licenses available to you as a Microsoft Action Pack Solution Provider subscriber. These software licenses are provided for use at your company’s primary business location only and must be used only for internal business purposes, conducting demonstrations with your customers, training your employees, and application development and testing. These licenses may not be used for direct revenue-generating activities (such as website or e-mail hosting, or custom solution development for monetary compensation). They also cannot be resold or used for personal reasons. Licenses are provided for the latest released versions of Microsoft software that are relevant to small and medium businesses (SMBs).

The same limitations apply for the Microsoft Action Pack Development and Design subscription and for a MSDN or TechNet subscription.

  • Exactly what I was looking for, joeqwerty; thanks. I know I had read that particular paragraph, but I missed the obvious when doing so. – Andrew Barber Oct 24 '10 at 16:47
  • Glad to help... – joeqwerty Oct 24 '10 at 16:55
  • Just got some extra guidance concerning the 'Internal Use' phrase in the licensing that applies here, and adds a nuance to it that I didn't get entirely when this was answered. 'Internal Use' is basically what you get with OEM or FPP (packaged software, such as retail, box purchases) licenses. The main limit to that license is that you can not resell services on that software (that's what the SPLA is for), so you can't host someone else's web site, Exchange, etc. But you can host your own company's, internal stuff. – Andrew Barber Dec 7 '10 at 12:26

Your best and most definitive bet/route is to contact your Microsoft licensing person for clarification. That should also cover any changes by Microsoft too.

  • But what do you say to them? You and your management need to present a single case that appears to be in a gray area and ask for the Microsoft representative to come back with a simple response: permitted, or not permitted. Clearly, if they say "not permitted," you would like suggestions on their part that would either make your proposition a permitted use or some other remedy that would like to see. Do not ask open-ended questions. Keep it simple and straight as that is ultimately easier to defend. – zerolagtime Oct 31 '10 at 19:58
  • zerolagtime, you can present your situation and seek alternative official valid licensing options that may specifically address the particular need/situation. In some cases, there may be changes that may also favor the specific need/situation, but may not be apparent without seeking up-to-date clarification. – user48838 Oct 31 '10 at 20:38
  • @zerolagtime - Your comment illustrates exactly why I asked this question here first, before verifying thing 'officially' with my licensing rep; One thing I realized through this question was to be careful how I was specifying "hosting a public web site for my customers' use". Basically, I left off "for my customers' use" because obviously, a 'public website' is for anyone to view, but when I said "use", that suggested reselling/managed services. – Andrew Barber Dec 7 '10 at 12:31

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