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Does Microsoft always follow its own rules of Licensing?

Microsoft Product Terms assert:

"If a customer complies with its volume licensing agreement, it may use the software as expressly permitted in the product terms."

This is a key licensing principle: explicit permission is required; assumptions or inferences are insufficient. Yet, Microsoft's practice of this principle is not always clear-cut.

A case in point involved a customer in a country where vendor permissions are legally required. The customer faced a question about its authority to deploy Windows 11 in a virtual machine on a server. Despite diligent research into the Product Terms by several experts, explicit permission for this specific deployment was nowhere to be found. It's implied but not directly stated.

The Product Terms don't explicitly state the right to deploy Windows 11 in a virtual environment. This is a troubling inconsistency in Microsoft licensing.

People often attempt to apply common sense to licensing, but in reality, there's no room for it in this field. It's all about the rules. Terms and permissions must be expressly written in the Product Terms, EULA, Enterprise Agreements, Oracle order forms, SAP ordering documents, and so forth.

Without explicit documentation, a legal right or permission doesn't exist. But in a case like this, when Microsoft itself leaves us in an ambiguous situation, we have no alternative but to default to business practice and watch this space carefully.