Microsoft shakes up licensing by ditching docs for new portal

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Microsoft shakes up licensing by ditching docs for new portal

Microsoft is set to make massive changes to the way customers access licensing documentation.

The software giant currently publishes separate Product Terms (PT) and Online Service Terms (OST), and makes them available as downloads.

That will soon change, as Microsoft has named 1 June 2019 - two days from the time of writing -  as the day on which a new “Licensing Terms Site” will take all of its licensing documentation online.

An FAQ [PDF] about the site points out that this is all about access to information, rather than changing Microsoft’s licences. “There are small (non-substantive) changes to account for differences in formatting and layout,” the FAQ says. “There are not changes to use rights other than normal changes associated with new or changed products and services.”

The site will also “replace the downloadable document versions of the Product Terms (PT) and Online Service Terms (OST)”.

User experience will also change markedly. The FAQ advises that the new site “makes it easier to filter by program and product, so users view only the relevant terms and conditions.”

“You can filter content by Microsoft product, program, date, and language to view the terms relevant to your organisation,” the FAQ adds. “By default, the site will show the most current terms, but content will be filterable based on publication date.”

The FAQ also advises that “The Licensing Terms Site experience will update on an ongoing basis. Users have access to a complete update history via a date selector.”

All of which will be welcome, as licences are lengthy and dense documents, and Microsoft has plenty of them. Easing the task of finding find directly relevant documents will be welcome.

The new site means Microsoft will stop publishing licences as downloadable documents, but it will be possible to download and print licences from the new site, with “the option of printing only a portion of the use rights based on product selection.”

A beta of the site is already live, here.

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