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Miniframe SoftXpand

It’s cheap, it’s green, but is it legal? Miniframe's unique approach to thin clients lets multiple users access a single Windows PC, but check your licences before you drive. (UPDATE! Yes, it's legal.)

Microsoft comment on Miniframe licensing:

"According to Microsoft's license agreement, each added work station represents a new way of interacting with the software. As such, using hardware and software to effectively extend a single license to cover multiple users is a clear violation of this agreement. We urge customers to stay clear of this as they run the risk of non-compliance.

We have informed SoftXpand that this is the case and are currently working with them to rectify the situation"

Michala Wardell, head of licensing and anti-piracy, Microsoft UK

Response from Miniframe.

"For good order sake and clarity, MiniFrame has not been approached by either Michala Wardell or by any other Microsoft representative. We are therefore obviously not working with them on any licensing issues, as being claimed by Michala Wardell.

MiniFrame has a very clear third party licensing policy: each EULA (End User Licensing Agreement) of any third party software provider should be respected by users, and with no exception to Microsoft.

Virtualization has become mainstream, and I'm sure that licensing issues are being considered by all industry players, as well as by Microsoft, trying to shape a new model of licensing (EULA). The true challenge, in my opinion, is to bring a win-win situation for all players, i.e. software providers and customers.

Furthermore, as leaders of multi user software only solutions, we are fully aware of the new questions that are arising due to the development of virtualization solutions.

Therefore, as MiniFrame's CEO, I'd be pleased to discuss new licensing models with Microsoft that would benefit both MiniFrame and Microsoft customers."

Eli Segal, CEO, MiniFrame.

Verdict

SoftXpand cleverly exploits the fact that today’s PCs are over-specified for the tasks on which they spend most of their time, and demonstrates it by showing that a single PC is actually capable of supporting as many as eight concurrent users with acceptable performance. MiniFrame and software vendors need to clarify licensing issues but the system works well and offers real savings, though it is designed for budget-conscious users in a limited range of scenarios.

OS: Window XP SP2 or higher

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