Last week we brought you news that OnLive, a company that specializes in streaming PC games over broadband internet connection, was facing licensing troubles from Microsoft.
In January OnLive launched a new service that allowed users to access a fully-featured Windows 7 PC from their iPad. OnLive desktop allows users access to Windows 7 PCs running on its servers. It is not a remote desktop app that allows users to access their own home PCs. Microsoft, as you might expect, has a problem with this. It seems OnLive Desktop violates Microsoft’s licensing rules. This prompted a statement by Microsoft that they were “engaged with OnLive with the hope of bringing them into a properly licensed scenario.”
Well, it seems that Guise Bule, CEO of tuCloud, has a problem with that. In an interview with Ars Technica he said that Microsoft was being, well, soft on OnLive because the company’s CEO is former Microsoft exec. He says that while Microsoft is “actively engaged” with OnLive to fix the issue, they don’t hesitate to take action against tuCloud despite tuCloud’s virtual desktop solutions being completely legitimate.
Assuming that Bule is correct about Microsoft playing favorites, then he certainly has every right to be angry. What’s interesting is what he’s doing about it: he is creating DesktopsOnDemand, an entirely new company that will offer a product exactly like OnLive Desktop. The plans will proceed, Bule says, “[u]nless I receive a lawyer’s letter from Microsoft clarifying their position and threatening legal action.” Of course, a product like DesktopsOnDemand is bound to run afoul of the same licensing problems that got OnLive in trouble. Bule isn’t worried about a lawsuit, though. In fact, he welcomes one. A lawsuit over DesktopsOnDemand would prove favoritism by Microsoft, and give Bule a chance to make the case that Microsoft’s licensing rules are unduly restrictive and stifle innovation.
Bule told Ars that he plans to use DesktopsOnDemand to “provoke Microsoft by proxy.” He believes that the current licensing rules are anticompetitive and violate antitrust rules.
Bule was clear about DesktopsOnDemand’s role as a goad to provoke action by Microsoft. Although he does plan to serve customers with it, he also said that the company’s resources will be limited, and that it will be allowed to fold once those resources are expended.
What do you think? Is Bule right to be angry about Microsoft’s licensing practices? Is DesktopsOnDemand a good idea for getting Microsoft to take action? Let us know in the comments.