May 19, 2015 asksam

Ask Sam – Microsoft’s 90 day rule

Ask-Sam-Microsoft 8217 s-90-Day-Rule
Dear Sam, Can you explain to me the 90 day rule about uninstalling Microsoft software, and then reallocating the license? Do other vendors have a similar policy, for instance Adobe?




Ask Sam

Dear WhoIsTheWorst,

The Bite Sized Details:

Microsoft is the only company I’m currently aware of that has something like the 90 day rule. The details of this rule are detailed in the Product Use Rights (PUR) document. As specified in the Jan 2015 PUR, the following are the specifics:

Except as permitted below, you may not reassign licenses on a short-term basis (within 90 days of the last assignment), nor may you reassign licenses for Rental Rights, or Software Assurance separately from the underlying license to which the Software Assurance is attached.

Basically, this means that software can be installed on one device and reassignment to another device may not happen within 90 days of the last transfer.

Also, be aware that OEM software cannot be transferred – if you have OEM software that comes with a device (such as the Windows Operating System), that software is linked to that device and may not be transferred to another “white box” computer that does not have an operating system installed.

Now, a Bit of Background to This Answer

Organizations purchasing volume licenses can download the Product Use Rights (PUR) related to their licensing timeframe – Microsoft provides archives of these documents back to around 2001. The documents can be downloaded from their Volume Licensing for Microsoft Products Online Services page. By the way, that link also has a number of other resources, including the Online Service Terms, Product List, Services Provider user Rights, etc.

Doing a search in the PUR for the term “90”, you’ll likely find around 16 results (depending on which PUR you’re reading.

There are a number of ways that this limitation is modified – for example – hardware failure would allow you to transfer the license earlier than 90 days from the last assignment.

I’m not familiar with other companies having a similar rule in place – not saying there aren’t organizations that do, just that I’ve not run across that particular limitation in other license contracts.

If you find other software products that have a similar timeframe rule applied to their license assignment, please let me know – I’m always interested in learning more.

Resolutely Yours,


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