Microsoft Releases Rentable Windows, Office

Ever use Windows or Office in an internet café, a hotel business center or an airport kiosk? Believe it or not, those are all unauthorized uses of Windows that goes against the terms of the license agreement. Yes, that's piracy folks. But now in 2010 Microsoft has the answer with its new Rental Rights Licensing.

Microsoft introduces on its new partner site:

Windows desktop operating system and Microsoft Office system licenses do not permit renting, leasing, or outsourcing the software to a third party. As a result, many organizations that rent, lease, or outsource desktop PCs to third parties (such as Internet cafés, hotel and airport kiosks, business service centers, and office equipment leasing companies) are not compliant with Microsoft license requirements.Rental Rights are a simple way for organizations to get a waiver of these licensing restrictions through a one-time license transaction valid for the term of the underlying software license or life of the PC. Solidify your role as trusted advisor by helping your customers become compliant using an additive license that fits their business model—without requiring special tools, processes, reporting, or paperwork.

To help spur adoption, Microsoft is offering customers 30 percent off its usual pricing. As noted by ZDNet: a rental version of Office Professional is available for $58 (regularly $83 via volume discount pricing). Office Standard (rental) is available for $45 per copy (as opposed to $64 per copy regularly.) Windows is available for $23 per copy (as opposed to $32 per copy).

This could be the first move on Microsoft's part in its exploration of "rentable" software. Of course, this isn't quite the same as having a time-limited usable period for software, but we think that this is just the beginning for rental SKUs.

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.
  • eduardosmx
    Ha ha ha! XD another way that Microsoft found to take our money! Interesting :P! What's next? are we going to be able to use our Windows copy for a period of hours per day?
  • loomis86
    Keep it up, M$. Keep pushing and people are gonna kick ya to the curb one of these days.
  • Now that they have Rental Rights out of the way, what about when companies such as Rent-A-Center turn around and sell used computers to customers?

    How is the license Agreement going to apply then?

    I can just see The Heads spinning at Microsoft as I say this seeing as the License for the Rental Agreement does not extend to selling said equipment as it has only one option and that is to expire.
  • rodney_ws
    So... in addition to buying a legally licensed OS and in addition to buying a legally licensed application suite... I need to buy 2 additional rental licenses just to rent my computer (and its OH SO VALUABLE software) out to someone?!? Really?!?

    Like at work... what if a janitor sits down at my desk and uses my computer? Do I need another user license? It would just be easier if they asked us for all of our money because they're clearly not happy making nearly $15 billion (net) per year.
  • cappster
    They really want to push people to open source options. Open office and Linux anyone?
  • codeman03xx
    Ok your all retards who posted above. First of the writer of this article needs sacked, because they are a horn tooting Apple fanboy. Secondly ITS FOR RENTAL COMPANIES TO BUY. If any user buys this then they are dumb, frankly i think this could be useful for laptop rentals and reduce the price for office.
  • seatrotter
    Can't we have a printed warning on a box that says whether a software is licensed for single-machine or single-user-single-machine? If it's for single machine then as long as it's installed only on one machine then anyone can use it (one at a time, of course). But if it's for single-user-single-machine then not only can it be installed only on one machine, but that only a single user can use it throughout the license.

    If they want to do a single-user-single-machine, fine, as long as it is clearly specified (print on half the box in bold/red). If the companies doesn't want to coz it's bad for business, they better suck it up (and suffer) or just stick to single-machine scheme.
  • ta152h
    cappsterThey really want to push people to open source options. Open office and Linux anyone?
    You can use Open Office with Windows NT derivatives as well.

    I'm not one to ever consider a Unix derivative, as I've worked with Unix enough to hate it, but I would definitely use Open Office, as I've worked with Microsoft Office enough to hate it.

    I think they did a good enough job with Windows 7 they're probably not going to have problems there.

    But Office? Does anyone really need Office, or even like it? Open Office does everything most people want, and the interface is quite familiar and easy to work with. It's a real vulnerability for Microsoft if they aren't careful. You'd think they'd be lowering their prices. I'd pay $75 or so for something I've always used, but I'm not going to pay the prices they ask. I think their greed is going to cost them as people move from their Office, and find it's not so bad after all.

  • ashrafpasha
    2012 for Microsoft anyone?
  • dmwright
    Doctor : Would you like your son to be MS compliant for life?

    Parent : What programs will he be allowed to use?

    Doctor : Please, just sign here and pay $$$$$.