You Can Now Legally Run Windows On Your iPad Through OnLive

You Can Now Legally Run Windows On Your iPad Through OnLive

OnLive Desktop goes from Windows 7 to Windows Server iPad/Android app

We reported last month on the legal and licensing issues surrounding OnLive and its OnLive Desktop for iPad, a freemium offering from the cloud gaming company that offered iPad users a full Windows 7 desktop experience complete with Office and the ability to watch Flash content. The company made a big entrance into the Windows/Office on iPad space in January and announced its premium and business plans the following month.

More recently, however, Microsoft announced that OnLive was violating its licensing agreements. Microsoft even went so far as to accuse OnLive and any OnLive Desktop users of illegally pirating Windows 7.

OnLive appears to have learned the error of its ways. Over the weekend, the company quietly adjusted its service to be compatible with Windows licensing.

Microsoft’s licensing arrangements for using non-PC devices to remotely connect to a Windows desktop and/or Microsoft applications are pretty complex. As we noted previously, the issue is centered around licensing for Windows 7 and not Office. Other companies, including CloudOn, also offer iPad-centric access to cloud hosted versions of Office.

The crux of the Windows desktop licensing issue is that Microsoft makes it nearly impossible for any provider to offer non-PC devices (and older PCs that can’t run Windows 7) a virtual Windows 7 desktop that’s hosted on a remote server. The easiest way around this solution is present users with a Windows Server desktop instead. Windows Server 2008 and Windows 7 share much of the same code and virtually all of the key desktop and user interface features. What they don’t share is the very restrictive licensing of Windows 7.

As a result most virtual desktop (VDI) providers offer users a Windows Server desktop stripped of all the server-related tools and components.

It seems that OnLive has decided to play by those same rules. As noted by virtualization expert Brian Madden, OnLive Desktop today began using a Windows Server 2008 desktop instead, which should remove any licensing issues. Madden also notes that OnLive CEO Steve Perlman has ties to Microsoft, which may have hastened the company’s decision. The switch was also noted on the company’s fan forum site.

Overall, the shift isn’t likely to have too much impact on end users. It’s pretty unlikely that OnLive needed to change much in their cloud architecture to make the change. That means the functionality shouldn’t change. It’s also unlikely that this will derail the eventual expansion of OnLive Desktop, though it may have purchased any launch data out a little bit.

  • Nick Cotter

    Why woud you want to run windows on an ipad ? The ipad has everything you need pages numbers keynote garageband imovie so and you have always been able to run windows on an ipad with a vlc so what are we gaining here ?

  • Caio DosAnjos

    @Nick Cotter, You are gaining the ability to play games like WoW or Wizard101 which are mmorpgs that are not available for iOS (or Mac with Wizard101).

  • freerange

    @Nick – you will be able to run Office on your iPad which is important for many many people and it also makes owning any new offerings from Windows 8 tablets even more irrelevant. The beauty is that MSFT has become irrelevant in the mobile space. Consumers are more than willing to turn their backs on MSFT after decades of using their bloated, buggy, counterintuitive and overpriced software. There are much better choices out there today! Thankfully!

About the author

Ryan FaasRyan Faas is a technology journalist and consultant living in upstate New York who has written extensively about Apple, business and enterprise IT, and the mobile industry. In addition to writing for Cult of Mac, he is a contributor to Computerworld, InformIT, and Peachpit Press. In a previous existence he was a healthcare IT director as well as a systems and network administrator. Follow Ryan on Twitter and Google +

(sorry, you need Javascript to see this e-mail address)| Read more posts by .

Posted in News | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |