Microsoft Azure Customer Solution VL Brief

There’s an updated (April 2022) Microsoft Azure Customer Solution VL Brief. This is a useful document detailing the rules for ISVs when creating customer solutions built on Azure: essentially, ISVs should purchase the Azure services through an EA or (and this is the addition to this new document version) direct from Microsoft via the Microsoft Customer Agreement. Partners intending to just resell the Azure services should use the Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program.

Find this updated document here:

Remote Desktop Services VL Brief

There’s a new (May 2017) Remote Desktop Services VL Brief from Microsoft. It replaces separate briefs on server and desktop licensing considerations for RDS. Use it to understand when RDS CALs are required and what might catch you out in licensing Office in an RDS environment.

Find it in the Core Infrastructure section of our Licensing Guides emporium:

December 2015 Software Dependency Guide

The Microsoft Software Dependency Guide is updated for December 2015.

This very useful guide gives a list of Microsoft software and the associated dependent Microsoft software licences that are required to use that software: for instance if you install Project Server 2013 then users also need to be licensed for Windows Server, SharePoint Server and SQL Server.

This guide is completely up to date with all of the 2016 versions of software listed and new products such as Advanced Threat Analytics 2016 added.

Find the guide here:

October 2015 Volume Licensing Briefs

There are two updated Volume Licensing Briefs for October 2015: “Licensing Office 365 ProPlus in VL” and “Licensing Microsoft Office Software in VL”.

There are no major changes, the documents are just updated for the removal of the Office Multi Language Pack as an SA benefit – it’s now included with the licence, and the possibilities of Shared Computer Activation – including running Office 365 ProPlus in Azure.

Get the briefs here:

VL Brief: Baseline licences in SCE

There’s a new (April 2015) Volume Licensing Brief to give assistance in determining baseline licences in the Server and Cloud Enrolment.

The main part of the brief gives a recap of the rules but it’s the FAQ section that’s probably most interesting where it covers SQL Embedded, licences for old development tools with or without MSDN, and OEM and ISV licences.

If the SCE is your thing then this brief is worth a read and you can find it here:

Volume Licensing Briefs Updated for April 2014

Licensing Windows Embedded 8

  • Updated to reflect licensing changes to the Windows Embedded licensing options that came into operation on 1 April 2014
  • Previous brief: October 2013

What are “Qualified Devices”?

  • A clarifying question regarding Industry Devices has been added to the Frequently Asked Questions section
  • Previous brief: November 2013

Introduction to Per Core Licensing and Basic Definitions

Microsoft Software License Dependency Reference Guide

Reimaging Rights

  • Updated to reflect Windows 8.1 Enterprise licensing changes, and clarifications added regarding reimaging the Windows Desktop OS with OEM media
  • Previous brief: November 2013

Multiplexing – Client Access Licenses (CAL) Requirements

  • Minor product version updates, but no inclusion yet of the new batch processing CAL waiver for SQL 2014 BI edition
  • Previous brief: December 2012

Licensing Microsoft Server Products for Use in Virtual Environments


Reimaging Rights: VL Brief Updated

The Reimaging Rights Volume Licensing Brief is updated, with the major changes concerning reimaging for the Windows Desktop OS. Here are the highlights:

  • Can you use VL media to reimage a device with an OEM licence to a previous version? Yes, if you obey the usual OEM n-2 downgrade rights.
  • Can you use OEM media to reimage devices? Yes, as long as the device was originally imaged with that precise media.

To this end, there are recommendations given when multiple OEMs have supplied devices into an organisation.

Download the brief here:

Updated “Licensing Windows Embedded 8” Volume Licensing Brief

The Volume Licensing Brief for Windows Embedded 8 is updated in line with the licensing changes that came into effect from 1 April 2014. Here’s an overview of what’s new and different:

  • Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry Enterprise edition is now available as an upgrade licence through Volume Licensing programs. Previously, Enterprise edition was a Software Assurance benefit when SA was added to the Pro edition
  • Software Assurance may only be added to Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry Enterprise edition. Previously, SA could be added to the Pro edition. Note that, for a transition period, customers may add SA to the Pro edition purchased with new devices. The devices must have been purchased before 1 July 2014 and customers have 90 days to attach SA
  • New benefits are added when Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry Enterprise is covered with SA to make the benefits almost identical to those available for Windows 8.1 Enterprise with SA. In fact, the only benefits that aren’t available now are the Enterprise Source Licensing Program and Windows Thin PC
  • There’s a new SA benefit added (which applies to Windows 8.1 Enterprise too) called “Enhanced Edition Rights” which allows the deployment of either Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry Enterprise or Windows 8.1 Enterprise edition
  • Enterprise Sideloading is now enabled in the Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry Pro edition, whether it is acquired through Volume Licensing programs or the OEM channel. Previously, this was only enabled in the Enterprise edition and Enterprise Sideloading for Windows Embedded 8.1 licences needed to be acquired for devices that were licensed for Windows Embedded 8.1 Pro or Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry Pro. Note that the April 2014 Product List has not been updated to reflect this information
  • The Downgrade Rights have been extended allowing a downgrade to Windows Vista Business/Windows 7 Professional for Embedded Systems, or Windows Embedded 8 Pro


The whole brief is worth a read since it gives extra detail such as the different Embedded SKUs and the channels through which they can be acquired. Download the Volume Licensing Brief here: