Microsoft simplifies Windows 8 EULA, rewrites terms

By on August 20, 2012, 3:30 PM

Microsoft's Windows EULA (end-user license agreement) has traditionally consisted of posterior-covering blobs of legalese. According to ZDNet though, with Windows 8, Microsoft has completely rewritten the agreement in "plain English". Also, for the first time, the EULA allows for legally installing cheaper OEM versions by end-users rather than forcing customers to purchase the fully packaged retail product.

Although the full text remains unreleased at the time of this writing, ZDNet's look at specific paragraphs makes the license appear clear and friendly.

Microsoft has split the EULA into two parts: an introductory FAQ and a second half which covers terms in greater detail, such as the right to create backups of your Windows discs.

Here is the section titled, "How can I use the software?".

OEM

The software is licensed, not sold. Under this agreement, we grant you the right to install and run one copy only on the computer with which you acquired the software (the licensed computer)...

RETAIL UPGRADE

We do not sell our software or your copy of it – we only license it. Under our license, we grant you the right to install and run that one copy on one computer (the licensed computer), for use by one person at a time, but only if you comply with all the terms of this agreement. Typically, this means you can install one copy of the software on a personal computer and then you can use the software on that computer.

PERSONAL USE LICENSE (SYSTEM BUILDER) FOR WINDOWS 8 PRO

We do not sell our software or your copy of it – we only license it. Under our license, we grant you the right to install and run that one copy on one computer (the licensed computer) as the operating system on a computer that you build for your personal use, or as an additional operating system running on a local virtual machine or a separate partition, subject to the restrictions outlined under “Are there things I’m not allowed to do with the software?”

For your convenience, we’ve organized this agreement into two parts. The first part includes introductory terms phrased in a question and answer format; the Additional Terms and Limited Warranty follow and contain greater detail. You should review the entire agreement, including any linked terms, because all of the terms are important and together create this contract that applies to you.

The "System Builder" license, which is now known as a "Personal Use" license, affords end-users the ability to buy and install the software themselves. This is quite a departure from the current System Builder license, an agreement which expressly prohibits this behavior.

If you noticed, referenced in the EULA is also a section labeled, "Are there things I'm not allowed to do with the software?". The following paragraph is text from that portion of the agreement.

You may not install the software as an operating system on any computer except one that you are building for your own use or as an operating system running on a local virtual machine or a separate partition. You may not install the software on a computer that is running a non-genuine Windows operating system.

It will be interesting to read the full text of the new EULA to see if there are any other noteworthy changes.

Earlier this month we covered Microsoft's tightening of its Windows activation technology. The company is working with big OEMs to embed unique Windows 8 product keys into the BIOS of their products, a technical improvement upon the ACPI SLIC BIOS activation method implemented in Windows Vista.

Traditionally, these OEMs have relied on VLKs (volume license keys) and KMS (key management services) in order to provide activation across millions of PCs. However, such "universal keys" have frequently been a vector of abuse by software pilferers. By individualizing keys and having them embedded into the BIOS, Microsoft hopes to better curb piracy.

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