Microsoft Combats Pirated Software with 'Rental Rights'

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft is proving that the old adage "If you can't beat them, join them" still holds true.

Earlier this month, the company agreed to add a new software license option for U.S. customers called "Rental Rights" that, in a nutshell, allows companies to purchase Windows and Office licenses like never before.

More than a few companies have expressed their desire to act as a "middle man" in renting or leasing Microsoft software to their customers. An Internet cafe, for example, would be interested in a deal with Microsoft. In failing to strike a compromise in the past, these companies have resorted to running pirated versions of Windows and Office.

Rental Rights allows firms to now obtain Microsoft software in a more affordable and the honest way.

Rental Rights a Waiver of Licensing Restrictions

"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," Microsoft says on its website. (Source:

Kevin Baylor, managing partner at Suncoast Business Technologies in Florida is welcoming the change with open arms. Said Baylor, "This will help cut down on illegal software, and makes our jobs as consultants easier."

Combating Piracy at the Source

April 2009 saw the debut of Rental Rights in eight different countries including: Brazil, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Korea, People's Republic of China, Russia, and Thailand. Not surprisingly, the list consisted of nations where software piracy was running wild. (Source:

Paul DeGroot, an analyst with Directions on Microsoft weighed in on the foreign affairs of Microsoft, stating "Microsoft has faced a quandary when it comes to fighting piracy in these regions because its efforts to enforce the rules risked angering small businesses and driving them to open source alternatives."

All News Positive on the Home Front

Back on the domestic front, the reaction to Rental Rights is altogether positive.

"We often criticize Microsoft for its overly complex software licensing, but this is the upside of that process," noted Dave Sobel, CEO of Evolve Technologies, a Fairfax, Va.-based Gold partner. "They're constantly looking for new ways to cover licensing scenarios that people want, and this is one example." (Source:

Rental Rights will be made available to customers with Open License, Select License and Select Plus volume licensing agreements. Rental Rights are good for the duration of the underlying software agreement or the life of the PC.

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