Virtual Windows 7 on iPad 'Illegal', says Microsoft

Dennis Faas's picture

The company behind a service that allows access to Windows 7 on an iPad has run into a major problem: Microsoft says the service isn't properly licensed.

The service is from a company named OnLive and works in a slightly complex manner. The user doesn't actually have Windows on their portable device, but rather uses the Internet to access a copy running on a remote computer operated by the company. (Source:

iPad Users Access Microsoft Office, Adobe Flash

Users of the basic service are able to access Microsoft Office to create documents and can save up to 2GB of documents to come back to later on.

Users can also run a web browser that allows Adobe Flash content, which is blocked on the iPad's own Safari browser. A paid-for option of OnLive is planned, with access to a wider range of Microsoft applications.

The service appears to have been a success, and the company has just launched a version for Android tablets.

That means it's now technically possible to run Windows 7 software on a device costing as little as a hundred dollars.

OnLive says it's planning to bring the service to Mac computers and even to TV sets. (Source:

Microsoft Says Service Appears to Breach Rules

Unfortunately, Microsoft isn't quite so impressed with the service. It notes that the way OnLive is set up does not currently comply with any of its licensing options.

There are two main legal ways to offer remote access to Windows 7 rather than install it directly on a computer: one is where the customer has a license to use Windows and has provided this license to the company running the service, which isn't happening in this case.

Another is where the company holds a special Microsoft license known as a Service Provider License Agreement. However, this doesn't cover offering access to Microsoft Office.

Media and Analysts Inquire OnLive License Legitimacy

In response to several media and analyst inquiries about OnLive's licensing in recent weeks, Microsoft has now issued a statement saying that "it's important to us and our partners that we're serious about issues of compliance."

It notes that "we are actively engaged with OnLive with the hope of bringing them into a properly licensed scenario, and we are committed to seeing this issue is resolved." (Source:

Importantly, even if the case does wind up in legal action, it doesn't appear users of the service will face any legal consequences.

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