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Microsoft talking turkey with OnLive over Office to iPad

Strangle VDI at birth or tax it?

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Microsoft has said it is "actively engaged" in discussions over licensing terms with OnLive over its service streaming Office to iPads.

OnLive is one of a range of companies offering the ability for owners of the world's most popular fondleslab to use Office documents via VDI. Microsoft has so far remained quiet on its plans in the area, but did deny a report recently which claimed it was developing such a service.

"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," said Joe Matz, VP of Redmond's worldwide licensing and pricing unit, in a blog post. "In the meantime, it is of the highest importance to Microsoft that our partners have clear guidance so that they can continue to deliver exceptional expertise and creative solutions to customers within parameters of licensing policies."

Matz said that the decision to go public about the discussions was coming, in part, because of a piece of analysis from Gartner into OnLive. The research note, from Gartner analysts Michael Silver, Federica Troni, and Frances O'Brien, points out that services like OnLive are useful and likely to be popular, but warns that companies that use them may be in breach of Microsoft's Byzantine licensing terms.

"Organizations and end users should note that OnLive Desktop Plus may present Microsoft licensing risks for organizations if consumers install the product on company iPads or use it to edit company documents from personal devices. Neither Microsoft nor OnLive has provided clear guidance on how users of these DaaS products must comply with Microsoft licensing requirements," the note reads.

The trio advised clients to contact their local Microsoft offices for guidance and it's probable that the announcement from Microsoft is part of a wider move to clarify its position on the matter. Redmond seems to be striking a conciliatory note with OnLive.

Other service providers haven't responded to requests for comment, and neither has Microsoft. But El Reg suspects the discussions internally at Redmond are on whether to strangle this nascent sector at birth, or let it grow and take a cut. ®

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