Microsoft Office app licensing for MSPs utilising RDS

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Microsoft Office app licensing for MSPs utilising RDS – short answer is, if you are an Managed Service Provider (MSP) and you are not a Qualified Multitenant Hoster (QMTH) then you can not provide the Microsoft Office apps via Remote Desktop Services (RDS) to your clients.

Recently this question was given to me to answer as it does not seem to be answered in a single Microsoft FAQ or document, I stand to be corrected on all counts so please add a comment if you know different.

Further details

The below has been anonymised to protect the innocent….

The partner will need to have QMTH status to be able to offer M365 Apps for Enterprise (licensed say via CSP in the End Customers name) on a shared (SPLA) server platform.  QMTH is only available to Direct CSP partners and not indirect partners who purchase through a Distributor.

Now into the detail and I’m using extracts from the regular “Licensing Updates” and the session specifically on Hosted / VDI run on June 23, 2021.  These extracts have also been presented on a number of occasions in the “Cloud and Hosting Partner Online Meetings”.  Here are the high level snips around valid models for deployment of “Microsoft 365 Apps for Enterprise” in a VDI / RDS model.  The first snip is a definition of the deployment options.

This set of snips specifically relate to Microsoft 365 Apps for Enterprise linked back to those Deployment Options above

Finally, the specific terms can be found by first going to Commercial Licensing Terms (microsoft.com), Select “Microsoft 365 Applications” and scroll down “Installation and Use Rights”. 

This is an FAQ on QMTH for additional details https://download.microsoft.com/download/2/4/9/249B9F8B-DF80-421B-8BA9-143E1F1DC709/QMTH_FAQ_PartnerReady.pdf

Resolution

A partner must be a Qualified Multitenant Hoster to be able to host Microsoft business apps on Remote Desktop Services, to become a QMTH requires a direct relationship with Microsoft.

Please reach to us if we can assist you with any requirements around Microsoft licensing or cyber security here.

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