In the world of software licensing, Microsoft's Services Provider License Agreement (SPLA) plays a crucial role. As a service provider, it's essential to comprehend the Universal License Terms associated with the SPLA contract to ensure compliance and maximize the benefits of Microsoft software. This blog post provides a comprehensive summary of the key points covered in the Universal License Terms specifically tailored for service providers.

At Octopus Cloud, we understand the importance of navigating the complexities of SPLA licensing. That's why we offer a community portal where service providers can join and connect with our Licensing and FinOps Experts to get answers to all their SPLA and CSP licensing questions.

  1. Service Provider's Use Rights:Service providers must adhere to the SPLA and the Services Provider Use Rights (SPUR) to utilize Microsoft software. Each product and separately licensed functionality used on a device or by a user requires its own license.
  2. Rights to Use Other Versions:Service providers are allowed to use prior versions, different language versions, different platform versions, or lower editions of the software as substitutes for the licensed version. However, the rights associated with the licensed version still apply, and licenses for prior versions or lower editions do not fulfill licensing requirements for the current version.
  3. Applicable Use Rights:The license terms in the SPUR that apply when a service provider initially provides Software Services with a specific product version remain in effect throughout the SPLA term. If Microsoft introduces a new version, service providers must abide by the license terms for the new version. If a service provider uses an earlier version ("Downgrade") that includes additional components, specific license terms associated with those components apply.
  4. Use of Listed Providers:Service providers can utilize Data Center Providers or Outsourcing Companies listed by Microsoft (or those using a Listed Provider) for eligible products until September 30, 2025.
  5. Disaster Recovery Rights:Service providers with eligible server software licenses can run a backup instance on a dedicated disaster recovery server. Specific conditions and limitations, including predefined periods of use, apply during disaster recovery testing or actual disaster events.
  6. Use of Windows Server:Windows Server licenses are not required for the disaster recovery server if certain conditions are met. These conditions involve using the Hyper-V role within Windows Server for replication and running disaster recovery workloads.
  7. Third-Party Software:Microsoft software may include third-party proprietary programs or components, each with its own separate license terms. Additionally, certain third-party open-source programs included in the software are licensed by Microsoft under its own terms.
  8. Activation and Product Keys:Certain products require activation or validation using a product key. Failure to activate may limit the service provider's right to use the software. It is important to treat product keys as confidential information and avoid unauthorized disclosure or use to prevent adverse actions from Microsoft.
  9. Notices:The Universal License Terms include various notices related to internet-based features, third-party internet sites, multiplexing, benchmark testing, software plus services, font components, images, sounds, included technologies, and more.
  10. Distributable Code:Service providers may have the right to use and distribute certain code components, sample code, templates, styles, and images included with the software, subject to specific conditions outlined in the Universal License Terms.

Conclusion:Understanding the Universal License Terms of Microsoft SPLA is essential for service providers to comply with licensing requirements and utilize Microsoft software effectively. This blog post has provided a comprehensive summary of the key points covered in the Universal License Terms tailored specifically for service providers.

At Octopus Cloud, we are committed to helping service providers navigate the complexities of SPLA licensing. Join our community at and connect with our Licensing and FinOps Experts who are ready to answer all your SPLA and CSP questions.