Agreements and terms are very common when enterprises and companies offer services, both online-based or physical products and solutions, describing how they are designed and intended to be used by customers in any way, establishing characteristics, situations and exceptions.
Usually, these type of agreements are written and presented in the form of a document, with legal purposes and other intentions that rule the use of devices, products, platforms, software and services in general, depending on the enterprise offering such solution to the market.
Services agreement and other types of prior and later documents related to the use of products and services are important for large companies, clearing up every aspect involved in the utilization of such solution in general and specifically. With exceptions described, users are able to decide if they are agree with such documentation or not, cancelling the use of products or accounts.
Microsoft as one of the biggest companies in the world in the segment of technology, as well as the nature of the products it offers includes service agreements and other documents that must be known before using any of the products released by the enterprise, in order to take advantage of every platform in the best way and not violating any term of even laws.
In the next sections we will be talking about the Microsoft Services Agreement in details, addressing its concept and definition, purpose and function, products that are included and those that are not, importance, as well as the later update to such terms applied this year, making the paper a lot clearer and easier to understand.
Definition of the Microsoft Services Agreement
To understand better the Microsoft Services Agreement, in first instance its concept and definition is the one to be clarified, and in this way it will be easier to later address its purpose and function, which is not minor in any way and has great importance in the service and product offer delivered by Microsoft, as a company that is present all over the world and domain in plenty of segments of technology and software.
Conceptually, the Microsoft Services Agreement is the arrangement and commitment between the company and the users, respecting the utilization of different services and products with the intention of describing and ruling such use, as well as describing the proper and inappropriate conditions in relation to these product and services.
In the same way, this services agreement also involves Microsoft affiliates or companies that provide solutions included in services of the enterprise from Redmond, such as software from third-parties built-in on Windows 10 as a clear example. So, the agreement is valid to them and users has to comply with the terms described on it even for third-parties associated with Microsoft.
This documentation involves the majority of online and consumer services offered by Microsoft, although there are some exceptions that will be addressed in another section in more details, with a list of solutions that are described in terms of agreement and use in other paper, due to their different nature and unique approach that makes Microsoft consider them unique.
Purposes of the Microsoft Service Agreement
The Microsoft Service Agreement has been created with specific purposes and functions. First of all, it is the official paper in which is described the commitment between the company and the user, on how is it that services and solutions provided must be used correctly, in any way possible and involved with different online platform, software and also hardware.
Like this, on the documentation are described the situations, events, natural ways of using services, exceptions and other information on the arrangement between both parts; the company, which in this case is Microsoft, and the users in general of the solutions and services worldwide, being very extensive and covering from free web-based platforms to installable paid software.
Now, a paper of this nature is created to make users understand clearly the function of every product and service, along with the things they can do and cannot do, ruling this aspect in every way possible. For example, platforms cannot be used to harm other user, to commit felony or carry out any other similar action, since this will mean that the Microsoft Service Agreement is being violated.
This paper also specify the description of events, conditions and exceptions in which Microsoft products can be used and in which cannot. That is why; the agreement is written and published for users to know what are their part in the role of customers in general and specifically respecting a product, service of solutions.
If in any case users do not agree with the information described on the agreement, it will not be possible for them to keep up or start using Microsoft services or products, since users must be agree with the document to take advantage of the solutions provided by the company, and this is where it relies its importance.
Functions of the service agreement by Microsoft
The Microsoft Services Agreement has the main function to inform users about the different boundaries and the commitment between company and customer, at the moment when they purchase a product or service from the company and after that.
Description is another important function this paper has, showing in details the scenarios in which services can be used and in which cannot, as simple as that. So, the informative utility of this document is critical and must be read at the moment of hiring or use a Microsoft platform for the first time.
Like this, users can know exactly about what are the limits respecting software like Windows and plenty more, including also the third-party software that is possible to be included in the operating system, such an antivirus or other solutions.
Since as it was said before, affiliates and third-party companies are included in the Microsoft Services Agreement, so the covenant involves those companies as well, having the company from Redmond as intermediary or middle part.
Scenarios in which Microsoft products can and cannot be utilized
According to descriptions, terms and policies present in the Microsoft Services Agreement, there are scenarios in which products and solutions can be used, and at the same time scenarios in which solutions cannot be utilized are described as well. Let us start with the best case or use in which these products are designed to be utilized:
- To investigate and obtain information, communicate and stay in touch with others, especially in web-based software like Skype, Edge and Outlook.
- For productivity purposes like composing and write text, edit videos and more, respecting platform like Visual Studio and Office.
- For entertaining intentions, mostly regarding games that run on Windows and platforms like the Xbox and all of its variants. Third–party software or games that are executed are included as valid parts of the agreement, as it was said before.
- Actions that correspond exactly to what platforms and services designed by Microsoft are intended for, since purposes of the different solutions and software can be very wide.
On the other hand, there are limitations described in the paper in which products and services cannot be used or were no created with that intention. In this case, misuse of any platform, product or platform mean in the annulment of the agreement, revoking the right of the user to keep utilizing them due to the violation of a contract that was accepted in first instance.
Here are some examples of misuse respecting Microsoft products and services, which are described very clear in the services agreement:
- Using platforms and their possibilities to harm other in any way, either by text or through other method.
- To carry out different types of discrimination that involve race, religion, beliefs and others. Hate crimes will not be tolerated in any way and they can end in the permanent removal of the user´s account by Microsoft directly.
- Total or partial reproduction, copy and duplicate of restricted, copyrighted content and proprietary software from Microsoft or third-parties, with the intention to obtain profit, sale or any other. As in the case before, this would mean in the loss of the user account permanently.
- Any other use which the platforms were not designed for, applying this to productivity and entertaining software, operating systems, web-based services and also hardware.
Products and services not included in the Microsoft Services Agreement
An important thing to talk about the Microsoft Services Agreement is that is focused on a set of specific product released by the company, which are the ones designed for home and individual use.
Therefore, platforms like Windows in all its versions, Office as productivity suite, Skype to chat, OneDrive as personal cloud service, Outlook as the official Microsoft email account that also works as account to access all of these services mentioned, along with others are included and ruled by the services agreement in all of its clauses, with no exceptions.
The thing changes when we talk about business and professional platforms released by the company, since any of them is included in the Microsoft Service Agreement. This is because business and professional platforms deal with other type of use and scenarios in direct comparison to personal solutions.
For example, organizations, governments, enterprises, schools, universities and more make use of business platform, changing the approach in terms of sale, utilization and more. Therefore, the Microsoft Services Agreement is not applied in these specific cases, having proper documentation every business and professional platform, which usually is specific and unique to them.
Examples of the business and professional services that are not included in the Microsoft Services Agreement are platforms like Azure; the business and professional cloud service by Microsoft, Windows Server as OS for data centers and individual servers, Skype for Business, Office 365 for Business, Yammer and more.
In fact, for more specific information about privacy, security, conditions, exceptions and other the specific services agreement must consulted, being all of them available in the Microsoft website for deeper reading in case of needing to know this important resources.
Education platforms and similar plans are not included in the agreement, since these also involve proper and unique documentation regarding conditions and other aspects that are proper to this services.
Changes and updates included in the Microsoft Services Agreement
Since its release, the Microsoft Services Agreement has been modified, being it is the interest of the company to update and apply changes that help to protect both users´ and enterprise´ interests at the same time.
To do that, new sections are composed and added to the paper, being costumers and users in general brief about it for important consultation and reading. The last update of the agreement has been carry out in 2019, with date to be applied on August 30th.
About the changes to be applied, there is information that is very important. For example, the Support & Services section has been extended, explaining that users must mandatorily have activity on their Microsoft account at least one time in a two-year period. If not, the account can be deleted for good with messages, personal information and general content related.
There also has been changes respecting the Health, Xbox, Payment and Notices sections, applying new conditions and terms that are important to be known by users in general, especially if they have not been aware about the changes to be applied and start to be taking into account in 2019.
In case you want to know in details about the changes and new terms applied and older remove in the Microsoft Services Agreement, you can do so by visiting the URL address https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/servicesagreement/Updates.aspx. As it was said before, new terms and general update will be applied on August 30th, 2019.
Importance of the Microsoft Services Agreement
For general users of home-focused platforms and services released by Microsoft is important to know and be aware of the services agreement, being the paper where it is described the best way to use and take advantage of such services, either in web-based solutions or installable software in platforms like Windows 10 and other operating systems on the market.