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Windows 10 license confirms no-warning automatic updates and upgrades

Gregg Keizer | July 20, 2015
Defines rights for pre-installed Office for Windows 10 apps, tells pirates there is no free ride.

Another clause new to Windows 10 -- section 1/b/v -- spells out the use rights of Office if it's pre-installed on a new device. "To the extent included with Windows, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote are licensed for your personal, non-commercial use, unless you have commercial use rights under a separate agreement." the EULA stated.

Microsoft will include the four Office apps on some devices and/or bundle them with some editions of Windows 10; Microsoft has not announced the details of such bundling, however.

On Wednesday the company revealed that it will bundle the Office for Windows 10 touch-centric apps -- Excel, OneNote, PowerPoint and Word -- with some devices or Windows SKUs (stock-keeping units) in revised licensing agreements for the apps. "If you acquired the software preinstalled on your device, the Microsoft Software License Terms you agreed to for Windows Operating System ('Windows OS License Terms') apply to your use of the Office Mobile Apps software," those agreements read.

The "separate agreement" referenced in the Windows 10 EULA is a euphemism for an active business-grade Office 365 subscription, like Office 365 Business Premium ($12.50 per user per month) or Office 365 Enterprise E4 ($20).

Microsoft also includes a no-you-pirates-don't-get-a-free-ride clause in the Windows 10 EULA, backing up statements it made earlier this year about the one-year free upgrade deal for customers currently running Windows 7 or Windows 8.1.

"Updating or upgrading from non-genuine software with software from Microsoft or authorized sources does not make your original version or the updated/upgraded version genuine, and in that situation, you do not have a license to use the software," the EULA reads. "Certain updates, support, and other services might only be offered to users of genuine Microsoft software," the license states elsewhere.

That first bit was consistent with what Microsoft said in May when, after first telling pirates they could upgrade to Windows 10, it laid down the law. "Our free offer to upgrade to Windows 10 will not apply to non-genuine Windows devices," said Terry Myerson, now the head of the company's Windows and Devices Group. "Non-genuine" is Microsoft-speak for illegal copies.

Absent from the EULA is any mention of how long Microsoft will provide updates and upgrades to Windows 10 after it's installed or purchased, one of the biggest questions still remaining. The omission, however, wasn't a surprise: Microsoft has not spelled out what it calls the "support lifecycle" of Windows in prior editions' EULAs, including Windows 7 and 8.1.

So far, the most Microsoft has said -- and that was tucked into a footnote on PowerPoint slides aimed at Wall Street analysts -- is that it will update and upgrade the new OS for between two and four years, with the timeline dependent on "customer type," likely a reference to the edition, say, Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 Pro.


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