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  (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 (ADBE) forbidden Flash and PDFs on your iPad.  Now imagine if your device from Apple, Inc. (AAPL) could also use Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) 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 free service 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, writes:

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 raised questions 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.  

iPad OneLive

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]

Sources: TechNet, OneLive

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RE: Onlive Killed
By SlyNine on 3/11/2012 6:13:46 PM , Rating: 2
Thats the problem with this post PC crap. Guess what, you have to turn you tablet IN to a PC to make it work.

Well they have had notebooks that could basically work as a desktop for a long time now. People still build desktops, hmm.

RE: Onlive Killed
By Solandri on 3/11/12, Rating: 0
RE: Onlive Killed
By TakinYourPoints on 3/12/2012 4:54:01 AM , Rating: 2
No idea why you got the downvotes, your post is balanced and accurate

RE: Onlive Killed
By Solandri on 3/12/2012 6:16:18 PM , Rating: 2
I'm used to it when I post on tablets vs. PCs. I correctly predicted Apple's tablet would sell extremely well. Even got the price right (lol), though I didn't believe Apple would hit that price point. But that post too got downrated (initially) by people who don't consider tablets to be real computers.

Tablets aren't my cup of tea - I don't even own one yet. For personal use I'm firmly in the laptop/desktop camp. But I can see why tablets appeal to a large segment of the population.

RE: Onlive Killed
By RadnorHarkonnen on 3/12/2012 9:36:37 AM , Rating: 1
I know why it was downgraded.

"Usually they're under the outdated misconception that notebooks are slower, or that they cost a lot more."

This is why. I stopped reading here.

"The business clients who've requested desktops have cited: large size as a deterrent to theft, ability to keep the monitor for future use while just upgrading the computer, and availability of larger monitors (you could hook one up to a notebook, but for some reason that seems "wasteful" even if it costs less). Unless you're a gamer or need proprietary PCI/PCI-x expansion slots, there is no functional reason to get a desktop."

Your SMB customers are just clueless. For a SMB , Desktop = 24x5 Operation, a laptop gets degraded very fast if it is used for 10 hours a days during 2 years.

"proprietary PCI/PCI-x expansion slots" What the hell did i just read ?

The post is well written but the message is wrong and doesn't contribute to the discussion.

RE: Onlive Killed
By Solandri on 3/12/2012 6:04:52 PM , Rating: 2
I work mostly with 1-5 employee small businesses. They just need a small desktop for office tasks, generally not a server.

RE: Onlive Killed
By Rukkian on 3/12/2012 10:31:43 AM , Rating: 1
To some extent I agree with you, but I think you are over simplifying. While laptops can replace desktops, they are more fragile, more prone to failure (from being carted around, and from the screen and hinges) and while are more competitive than they once were, they are still more money than a comparable desktop. Can you get a lower quality laptop for the same price as a desktop, yes, will it last as long or have the same power, no.

For the majority of users, a laptop is perfectly fine, but will typically cost more in the long run. The comment about keeping monitors is a big one, as typically a good monitor will last through 2 builds.

A very small minority (where I fall) like to tinker and be able to just upgrade the part we want, which is really not feasible on a laptop, however that does not effect the majortiy of the population.

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