SAMexpert Microsoft Licensing Experts

What is a SPLA license?

Microsoft SPLA licenses are licenses are used by services providers to provide hosting and other commercial services to end-users (end customers) using Microsoft software. 

From the licensing point of view, the provider is the licensee. End customers rent services from the provider and pay service fees. 

No traditional "entitlement"

SPLA is also different from "traditional" licenses in at least one other regard. When you license software for internal use, you must purchase necessary licenses first — a certain quantity — and only then you may use the software. 

SPLA, on the other hand, has no quantifiable "entitlement". Providers may deploy as many instances as needed to provide services. They may also create as many user accounts as required for the same reason. Then, at the end of each calendar month, providers must report the high watermark to Microsoft via their SPLA resellers.

End-user licensing terms

So, the provider is the principal licensee. But it would not be accurate to say that end customers have no licensing obligations. 

SPLA terms demand that providers sign an agreement with each end customer. In cases when services are procured online, for example, on AWS or Azure, there's still a public offer that end customers have to accept when they sign up. 

Although there's no end-user "entitlement" in the traditional meaning, there are still licensing terms and conditions for end customers.

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