Microsoft Office for iPad? Microsoft Moves to Kill OnLive's Free Workaround
March 10, 2012 8:49 PM
(Source: Matt Groening/20th Century Fox)
Paid version may survive, but will likely see licensing-induced price bump
Imagine if you could enjoy Adobe Systems Inc.'s (
forbidden Flash and PDFs
on your iPad. Now imagine if your device from Apple, Inc. (
) could also use Microsoft Corp.'s (
Office (MSO) suite of productivity apps
This dream is reality, thanks to OnLive, an enterprising startup who created an iPad app that leverages remote virtualization to deliver the missing functionality over high-speed gigabit internet connections. OnLive's
launched in January, offering users free Office access.
In February it added the "Desktop Plus" service. Priced at $4.99/month, the upgrade ditched ads and eliminated annoying waits to get access to the remote Windows 7 desktop. And it added Adobe PDF reading and Flash compatibility, plus 2 GB of storage.
But OnLive's remote Windows 7 virtualization solution may be in jeopardy. In a blog posted on March 8 Microsoft worlwide licensing VP, Joe Matz,
Microsoft partners who host under the Services Provider License Agreement ("SPLA") may bring some desktop-like functionality as a service by using Windows Server and Remote Desktop Services. Under this solution, the partner is free to offer this service to any customer they choose, whether or not they have a direct licensing agreement with Microsoft. However, it is important to note that SPLA does not support delivery of Windows 7 as a hosted client or provide the ability to access Office as a service through Windows 7. Office may only be provided as a service if it is hosted on Windows Server and Remote Desktop Services.
He then specifically addresses the elephant in the room -- OnLive's Desktop app. Writes Mr. Matz:
Some inquiries about these scenarios have been raised as a result of recent media coverage related to OnLive’s Desktop and Desktop Plus services. Additionally, the analyst firm Gartner
regarding the compliance of these services last week. We are actively engaged with OnLive with the hope of bringing them into a properly licensed scenario, and we are committed to seeing this issue is resolved.
Of course, this doesn't necessarily mean game over for the promising service. Unlike Apple who
tries to ban disruptive companies
, Microsoft tends to try to
bring them into the licensing fold
. However, it sounds like OnLive will need to buy a whole license per user to avoid litigation regarding its remote hosting scheme.
That means that while the service may survive, the free version is almost certainly dead, except perhaps on a trial-driven basis. And likely any paid version will be much more expensive than it currently is.
There have been many rumors that Microsoft is
preparing its own direct port
of Office to the iPad and Android. However,
Apple's iPad 3 launch
came and went without any announcement from Microsoft. Microsoft did recently launch a OneNote app for Android and iOS. However, it is uncertain whether or not the rumored iOS Office Suite will come to be, given that it could remove one of the biggest selling points of Microsoft's
coming Windows 8 tablets
[Images of app courtesy of OneLive]
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