Microsoft has cast doubt on the continuation of a Windows virtual desktop service delivered by games streaming outfit OnLive, announcing that the service isn’t correctly licensed for Windows.
OnLive offers a subscription service that delivers a Windows 7 desktop and Office suite of apps via a streaming remote desktop. The company offers apps for the iPad and Android tablets and charges around US$5 a month for access.
Microsoft posted relevant licensing conditions on TechNet which falls into two categories, the Virtual Desktop Infrastructure and the Services Provider License Agreement. The former is the only option for Windows 7 and requires that customers provide licenses for Microsoft software and the hardware must be dedicated to the customer – something that’s clearly impractical for OnLive.
The SPLA hosting arrangement does allow OnLive to offer a "some desktop-like functionality" but only via Windows Server and specifically, Microsoft pointed out, not Windows 7 or Office.
Microsoft said "we are committed to seeing this issue is resolved" which is code for either a large pile of cash or shutting down the OnLive service as it currently exists.
Quite why OnLive launched a service based on Microsoft’s virtual desktops without being absolutely clear about the licensing requirements is anyone’s guess.