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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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This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

By PrezWeezy on 3/13/2012 1:09:21 PM , Rating: 2
I usually do type my comments in Word because the auto-correct and dictionary are far better and suited exactly to how I like to type. Yes, I have Chrome which tells me a word is spelled wrong (although right now I'm typing on IE10 and it works MUCH better than Chrome's spell checking) but I find Word much easier to use. 'Cause, you know, it was designed to do just that.


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