What is the definition of a Qualified Device? (2012 Update)


The Microsoft Enterprise Agreement (EA) is a Volume Agreement procurement contract that provides incentivised price point for customers who commit to the Microsoft technology platform.

On this basis, Microsoft has included a definition on the qualification of the devices that are licensed under the Agreement. This will contribute towards the qualified device count, and determine meeting both minimum quantity requirements, and the discount the customer receives via the Microsoft price band policy instrument (Level A-D)

The definition of the qualified device for the EA Enterprise Enrollment [1] was updated in October 2012.

The updated licensing model for Windows 8 is available here 

“Qualified Device” means any devices that is used by or for the benefit of the Enrolled Affiliate’s Enterprise and is (1) a personal desktop computer, portable computer, workstation, or similar devices capable of running Windows Professional locally (in a physical or virtual operating system environment), or (2) a devices used to access a virtual desktop infrastructure (“VDI”). Qualified Devices do not include any device that is: (1) designated as a server and not used as a personal computer, (2) an Industry Device, or (3) not managed (as defined in the Product List at the start of the applicable initial or renewal term of the Enrollment) as part of the Enrolled Affiliate’s Enterprise.

As its options, the Enrolled Affiliate may designate any device that is used by or for the benefit of the Enrolled Affiliate’s Enterprise (e.g. Industry Device) as a Qualified Device for all or a subset of Enterprise Products or Online Services that Enrolled Affiliate has selected.

“Qualified User” means a person (e.g., employee, consultant, contingent staff) who: (1) is a user of a Qualified Devices, or (2) accessed any server software requiring an Enterprise Product Client Access License or any Enterprise Online Service. It does not include a person who accesses server software or an Online Service solely under a License identified in the Qualified User exemptions in the Product List.

[Ref: EA 2012 Enrollment (Direct) EMEA EU-EFTA (October 2012)]


This represents an evolution in the way Microsoft recognise the modern corporate IT environment, building on the 2011 Agreement refresh that replaced the traditional “Qualified Desktop” definition with the new inclusive definition.

Microsoft have responded to the emergence of  new form factors and companion slate devices (IDC report that tablet owners now have an average of 6.6 devices). This expanded device definition is now more inclusive of new devices, including but not limited to, corporate and personal slate devices like the iPad or Microsoft Surface RT.

Microsoft have acknowledged BYOD scenarios, distinguishing the most basic enablement of iPhones and Android Smartphones to Exchange Active-Sync to receive Corporate Email, Calendars and Contacts; to wider requirements to access Virtual Applications or Windows OS in a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI).

Microsoft have also updated the licensing model of Windows 8 to include personal and corporate slate devices accessing from both corporate premises and remote access. Further, there is extended flexibility to include Industry Devices and devices with an embedded OS can potentially open access to better price points for CALs (Client Access License) procurement or reach a critical ‘Tipping Point’ to reach a lower Microsoft price band.

Final Thoughts

How you approach this in your organisation will have to be considered and hopefully the range of links and content within this article will assist you in beginning the process.

Your licensing requirements will be dependent on what you want users to access on your network and the functionality and experience you want them to have, Microsoft have updated and incorporated a number of access and device scenarios to support your requirements for access to Office Applications or Windows in a VDI.

Licensing can be complex, so always refer to as many dependable resources as possible, whether the Microsoft website, the Product Use Rights and Product List or your preferred Large Account Reseller (LAR).

[1] The Enterprise Enrollment is a modular procurement contract under the umbrella Enterprise Agreement (EA) that includes committed spend to one or all of: Windows 8 Enterprise Edition, Microsoft Office Professional Plus, and a choice of Client Access License Suites (Core CAL or Enterprise CAL). These platform products are licensed for every qualified device or qualified user in your organisation and can offer additional savings (and important Software Use Rights) over purchasing products separately.

Please be aware that I now work at a Microsoft Large Account Reseller (LAR)– and will now be providing my licensing expertise through their services. So please do get in contact with me directly if you would like to have a bespoke review for your organisation (available to organisations with UK operations).

My team can assist you to purchase the correct licenses, at the best price, through the right program. Please email me directly to arrange a meeting or call.

– Tony Mackelworth


One thought on “What is the definition of a Qualified Device? (2012 Update)

  1. Pingback: Top Microsoft Licensing Searches of 2013 | Microsoft License Review

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