Microsoft Qualified Devices and Qualified Users

August 8, 2023

In the realm of software licensing, terms like “Qualified Devices” and “Qualified Users” hold significant importance. These concepts play a crucial role in licensing Microsoft software within business environments. Let’s delve deeper into what these terms mean and how they can impact licensing agreements.

Qualified Devices

Qualified Devices refer to specific devices used by or on behalf of an organization that fall under the licensing agreement. Microsoft defines a Qualified Device as:

  • A personal desktop computer, portable computer, workstation, or similar device capable of running Windows Pro locally (in a physical or virtual operating system environment), OR
  • A device used to access a virtual desktop infrastructure (“VDI”).

There are some exclusions from Qualified Devices, such as devices designated as servers, industrial devices, and unmanaged devices. However, it’s possible to designate certain excluded devices as Qualified Devices for specific Microsoft products or services.

Industrial Devices

Industrial devices are devices that solely use specific industry-specific or task-oriented software programs and cannot function as general-purpose personal computer devices. These devices must be technically integrated with the industry-specific program being used.

Unmanaged Devices

Unmanaged devices are devices not controlled by the organization in terms of operating system environments, domain access, group policies, and other management functions.

Qualified Users

Qualified Users refer to individual individuals who meet specific criteria to qualify for licenses. A Qualified User is:

  • A user of a Qualified Device, OR
  • A person who has access to server software that requires an Enterprise Product Client Access License (CAL) or an Enterprise Online Service license.

The concept of Qualified Users provides licensing flexibility, as organizations can choose to license users instead of devices. This can be particularly useful in situations where employees work across multiple devices.

Benefits of Qualified Devices and Qualified Users

Utilizing Qualified Devices and Qualified Users in licensing agreements offers several benefits to organizations:

  1. Flexibility: Organizations can choose between device-based or user-based licenses based on their needs and work patterns.
  2. Optimization: By accurately counting and licensing qualified devices or users, organizations can optimize licensing costs.
  3. Uniformity: Organization-wide licensing agreements, such as the Microsoft Enterprise Agreement, can be tailored to the number of qualified devices or users, creating a uniform licensing structure.
  4. Cost Control: Designating excluded devices or opting for specific user licenses can contribute to cost control and better license planning.

Understanding these concepts is essential for effectively managing licensing agreements and ensuring organizations comply with license terms and compliance requirements. Proper comprehension of Qualified Devices and Qualified Users can assist in maximizing the value of Microsoft licenses in business environments.