What is a user?

This seems a simple question with a simple and straight forward answer. But when we take Microsoft licensing as the background of the question, the answer isn’t so simple any more. A crystal clear explanation of the ‘user’ in Microsoft licensing terminology.

Read time: 3 minutes

What you as a customer are or are not allowed to do with a piece of Microsoft technology is described in your Agreement and associated terms of use. Most of the terms of use can be found online. Please always consult this official documentation. The information below is a popular extract and no legal base.

In the documents you can read that user based licensing, like an access license, requires a license per user. But what is this ‘user’? The term ‘user’ is not described or explained in a glossary or definitions. But commonly a user is a natural, living, single person who is using or has access to the Microsoft technology. This user must be part of the ‘customer’ (organization) or one of it’s affiliates. Most likely, an employee. But in the documents we find more user types, what do they mean?

Licensed User
The first ‘special’ user is a licensed user. The licensed user is a user – the single person – to whom a license is assigned. As you might know, when entering in a contract with Microsoft you agree to keep a license administration. In this administration you are obliged to assign a license to this single person whom, with that, becomes the licensed user. And only the licensed user is allowed to use, access, display or otherwise interact with the software. So please do not forget to setup and maintain this administration or use a tool or managed service to do so.

Qualified User
In some licensing Agreements, like the Open Value Subscription, you can find the term ‘qualified user’. This is a special type of user, a special type of person. A qualified user is a user (see above) of a qualified device. Explaining the ‘qualified device’ to understand completely would make this article a 15 minute read, so let us tell you that in general a qualified device is a laptop, personal computer or tablet which can run Windows Professional.
The qualified user exists because some licenses in some agreements have to be calculated for ‘all qualified users’. Let’s take the Core Client Access License*, this license has to be assigned, calculated and reported for all qualified users, regardless if those users use the technology or not.

External User
When we talk about an external user, does this mean there is an internal user too? Yes there is, but that is the ‘regular’ user we described above. The external user is a user who is not an employee, agent or on-site contractor. The other way around, everybody who is not an external user, must be an ‘user’.
The external user is there because everybody who uses the technology must have some sort of license. However, users can be counted (walk by the HR department…), but external users sometimes can’t. So for some technology (like the good old Skype for Business server) the external users do not need to have a license. Or … when the number of external users is unknown or uncountable, as in users through a website, Microsoft offers a ‘per core’ licensing model so external users do not have to be licensed individually (example: SQL Server per core licenses).

Helpful user
The last category in this article is the helpful user. This is one of the experienced licensing consultants of Quexcel who love to help you getting all things around your Microsoft licensing as clear as it can be. Do you have any questions or do you want advice or help? Contact one of the helpful users.

* Components of the Core Client Access License (Core CAL Suite): access licenses for Windows Server, Exchange Server, SharePoint Server, Skype for Business Server and accompanied with System Center Configuration Manager Client Management License and System Center Endpoint Protection Client Management License.

Subscribe to newsletter
U moet javascript aan hebben staan om dit formulier te kunnen versturen.