Product Usage Guide – an Overview

If you’re an Action Pack subscriber or a Microsoft partner with a competency then you have rights to use Microsoft software and it’s the Product Usage Guide which details these rights. While most of the rights are exactly what you’d expect, there are some interesting changes and exceptions which are worth knowing about.

SA Benefits

First of all, there are virtually no SA benefits associated with the licences that you get as a partner, so if you want to deploy VDI desktops or Windows To Go for example, then you’d need to acquire Windows licences with SA (or VDA) under a normal Volume Licensing agreement. The same would be true for SA benefits such as unlimited virtualisation or Licence Mobility associated with SQL Server. However, competency partners do get access to Office Online (Office Web Apps) and the Multi-Language Pack with their Office Professional Plus licences.


CALs are on the list of available licences for many partners, and can generally be used as Device or User CALs. If you’re eligible for a Project Professional licence then be aware it doesn’t have a Project Server CAL included, and the Exchange Enterprise CAL comes without Services so licences for Exchange Online Protection, for example, would have to be acquired separately.

Other Rights

And finally, there are a couple of rights excluded that could catch you out if you’re expecting the rights to be the same as a regular Volume Licensing licence. The first is the fact that there are no downgrade rights included at all and in fact partners have 12 months to upgrade internal-use software to a newer version. It’s only competency partners who can run Office Professional Plus 2013 in an RDS environment and no partners are allowed to use their Office licences in a Windows To Go deployment. And lastly, as you’d possibly expect, the software isn’t to be used for employee personal use at home.

The Product Usage Guide is also useful for details of licence maximums, sharing of licences, and licence entitlements, as well as activation of on-premises and cloud services.

Enjoy the full 35 pages of the guide by downloading it here: