Microsoft License Terms January 2020 changes

The Product Terms and Online Services Terms are Microsoft’s terms of use for their perpetual and cloud technology. Those terms are updated and published online monthly and are an integrated part of customer’s License Agreements. Though the terms are for customers, mostly they are not read by customers. We at Quexcel study them monthly and update you with changes (mostly over Twitter). Here are some important changes from the January 2020 editions of those legal documents.

Read time: 4 minutes

Online Services Terms
In the January 2020 Online Services Terms we notice that the Data Protection Terms, Standard Contractual Clauses and the EU GDPR Terms have been removed and moved to a separate document; the Online Services Data Protection Addendum (DPA). Besides, Microsoft has updated the ‘privacy documents’ with more specific instructions and limitations. A brief overview of updates in the DPA:

  • Allows Microsoft to process Customer Data and Personal Data as a processor for three authorized purposes: delivering the services, troubleshooting, and ongoing improvement.
  • Excludes processing of Customer Data and Personal Data for the purpose of profiling, advertising or similar commercial purposes, or market research unless it is done in accordance with documented instructions from the customer.
  • Clarifies that Microsoft has the responsibilities of a data controller if it processes Customer Data and Personal Data for certain additional listed “legitimate business operations,” with specific limitations.
  • Adds clarity and additional details based on customer feedback (e.g., around how Customers can engage with Microsoft to audit Microsoft’s data processing pursuant to the GDPR).

For you as a customer this update means more clarity regarding processing of your data by Microsoft. It also means that now you have 2 documents to consult.

A last update in the Online Services Terms is an updates list of Core Services in Attachment 1 – Notices stating that some services are now compliant with SOC standards.

Product Terms
In the January 2020 Product Terms there are little changes, but two interesting ones regarding SQL Server.
The first one is a new condition for customers who apply their Hybrid Use Benefits for SQL Server. Hybrid Use Benefits is a right under active Software Assurance which allows customers to reassign licenses to Microsoft Azure. This means that in Azure customers do not have to pay double for Windows Server and/or SQL Server and only pay for the base Azure Services and saving money. For SQL Server it is now mandatory to indicate such use as prompted in the Azure portal or command line API. With that, Microsoft has the opportunity to verify such use.

Second item emphasizes that customers who buy SQL Server 2017 from an OEM (so a license supplied with and tight to the hardware), prior to March 31, 2020, may acquire Software Assurance within 90 days of the OEM purchase. Interesting, because for Windows Servers and SQL Server, as part of the ‘server pool’, this right has always been there. When we read carefully this means that Microsoft will drop the SQL Server OEM Software Assurance attach starting April 1., 2020. When you want to take advantage of this option, purchasing SQL Server 2017 OEM in the first quarter of 2020 is essential.

Helping hand
The Microsoft Product Terms and Online Services Terms are a good ‘cover to cover’ read for all Microsoft customers and the Microsoft partners. But might you not be able to find the time, find the contents (legally) complicated or just want to be sure that you are using the Microsoft technology in a compliant matter, please do contact one of our licensing experts to help you.

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