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|Microsoft License Rights Documentation Redesigned|
|Monday, 03 October 2011|
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A redesign of Microsoft's Product Use Rights (PUR) document, a quarterly publication that outlines rules for licenses acquired through volume licensing programs, was introduced on Oct. 1, 2011. The new PUR format should allow customers and partners to find answers to many types of product and online services licensing questions more quickly and promises to be less intimidating to first-time users. Concurrently, a similar set of changes were made to Microsoft's Services Provider Use Rights (SPUR) document, also published quarterly. However, the simplification efforts are limited to document format and organization improvements-the complex licensing rules themselves have not changed.
Key References for Volume Licensing Customers and Hosters
Microsoft's PUR document is a key component of the legal framework that defines the licensing rules and restrictions for product and online services software acquired through volume licensing programs such as Enterprise Agreements and Select Plus. (See the sidebar "What's in the Product Use Rights Document") Microsoft updates the PUR quarterly and maintains on its Web site an archive of previous versions going back more than 10 years. The PUR is available in English and more than 30 other languages. Any organization considering a major software purchase should look at the PUR to determine the types and quantities of licenses required for a given scenario as well as to ensure that it can legally use the software as intended.
The SPUR document also has grown in size and complexity over the years. The SPUR outlines licensing rules for third-party service providers that host Windows Server, Exchange Server, and other Microsoft software on behalf of customers through Microsoft's Services Provider License Agreement program.
Improvements to the Documentation
The new PUR and SPUR make three major improvements over their old design.
Information pertaining to each product is (mostly) contiguous. As in the previous version, entries in the new PUR are organized in 10 licensing model chapters and the chapter titles have not changed. However, within these chapters, terms specific to a particular product or online service are now grouped together; in the previous design, the relevant use rights information for any one product was often spread across many pages. For example, in the July 2011 (old) PUR format, information pertaining to SQL Server Standard edition was spread across a dozen pages. Text explaining the permitted number of running instances was on page 38, while the types of Client Access Licenses (CALs) covering access by users or client devices appeared on page 40, and special failover rights were discussed on page 49. In the Oct. 2011 PUR, all these items are located on two adjacent pages.
The graphic design is easier to read and navigate. The document formatting and layout has improved, making the PUR much more readable and pleasing to the eye. An improved Table of Contents provides page numbers (and hyperlinks) for every product and online service, rather than just page numbers for licensing model chapters, and a product index was added. Furthermore, each page has a breadcrumb-like footer, which helps readers know where they are as they scroll within the 150+-page PUR and 90+-page SPUR documents.
Important context is provided upfront. The introductions to the new PUR and SPUR now clarify that licensing terms for any one product are the aggregation of universal licensing terms (itself in its own chapter), general terms applying to all products sharing a given licensing model, and product-specific licensing terms. While this same layering of rules applied under the old PUR/SPUR design, it wasn't expressly stated, so it could take a while for new readers to arrive at this conclusion. In addition to the redesign, the introduction to the new PUR now clearly explains the PUR's relationship to other volume licensing-related documents-such as the monthly Product List and Enterprise Agreement contracts-that collectively define the full set of rules governing customers' use of the software. (See the sidebar "Other Licensing Documents Needed".)Resources
Current and past PUR documents can be downloaded via links at "www.microsoft.com/licensing/about-licensing/product-licensing.aspx." A scenario-based guide, "Microsoft Product Use Rights Explained," is also available via a link on this page.
Frequently asked questions about the new PUR design iare covered at http://www.microsoft.com/licensing/about-licensing/product-use-rights-design-faq.aspx
Customers can build a customized PUR for select products using a tool at http://www.microsoft.com/licensing/PUR/products.aspx.
Other product licensing-related documents, including the monthly Product List and volume licensing briefs, can be downloaded via links at http://www.microsoft.com/licensing/about-licensing/product-licensing-overview.aspx.