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Microsoft's Surface Not Suitable for Commercial Use
I'm very curious about Windows RT and the new Surface device, and I expect I'll be testing one as soon as they start shipping for my Enyo work. However, one item on Microsoft's Surface pre-order page has me a bit concerned. In small print at the bottom of the page is the note:

[2] Microsoft Home and Student 2013 RT Preview edition installed. Final Office Home & Student version will be installed via Windows Update when available (free download; ISP fees apply). Some features and programs unsupported. Office Home & Student 2013 RT Preview and the final version are not for use in commercial, nonprofit, or revenue generating activities. Commercial license options available (sold separately). See

So, it looks like all those business users won't be able to actually use the installed Office suite for any business activity. The restrictions are pretty strong -- I expect that looking at a work email attachment on a Surface would violate the "no commercial" aspect of this. Obviously, MS does want the surface to become a back-door replacement for enterprise PCs with their expensive bulk-purchased commercial Office suites, but this seems like a very strong limitation for a mobile device.

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How to qualify to use Office RT for commercial purposes

You can use Office RT for commercial purposes if you have another commercial license for Office, such as Office 365 (365 ProPlus, Office 365 Small Business Premium, Office Midsize Business, Office 365 Enterprise), or a copy of Office Standard/Professional Plus 2013, or your company has volume licensing. (Many do.)

The installation of Office RT doesn't change, of course.

The question is: Why would a business want to buy a Surface RT?

The most likely answer is: Because they already use some form of Office and they want to use it on a tablet as well.

So Microsoft is allowing existing business users of Office to use Office RT for business while trying to prevent RT from being used as a substitute (which would tend to decrease Microsoft's profits).

Microsoft makes a ton of money from Office, and the Office division brings in more than Windows client. Since it's a commercial company not a charity, you'd expect it to try to maintain or increase those Office revenues.

Office RT is a Home and Student version and you aren't supposed to use the cheap Windows PC version of that for commercial purposes either.

Thanks for the explanation. I didn't see anything in the MS language about getting a license for RT with a desktop business system license, but if that's the correct understanding, it makes more sense.

The link in your original quotation ( leads to an FAQ, and one of the answers is as follows:

"As sold, Office Home & Student 2013 RT Preview and the final edition are not designed for commercial, nonprofit, or revenue-generating activities. However, organizations who purchase commercial use rights or have a commercial license to Office 2013 suites can use Office Home & Student 2013 RT for commercial, nonprofit, or revenue-generating activities."

Mine is just a more long-winded -- but I hope more useful -- version ;-)

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