Licensing for iPads and Microsoft Surface (2012)

This article is an update for October 2012 and will incorporate updated licensing models for Windows 8 and the EA Qualified Device definition.


  • This article will examine how you address mobile slate devices in your organisation and bring Microsoft Windows OS experience to your users on any device depending on your business goals.
  • This will look at what you need from the Microsoft end.
  • This will look at what you need from the Citrix end.
  • This will look at the Microsoft licensing requirements to get this done.
  • This article will give you a brief overview of the different Virtualization scenarios so you can map your product and licensing requirements.
  • This article is not intended to look at Microsoft Application licensing.

Types of Virtualization

Whether personal virtual desktops, a virtual desktop pool or session-based desktops, or Virtual Apps, it is important to evaluate the Microsoft Virtualization Stack and Licensing Models to support your organisation’s objectives.


The Microsoft Virtualization Stack

The table below gives a brief overview of the Microsoft product stack to support your virtualization objectives. This will be different If you are adopting a VMware Solution but please be aware of how your environment will affect and interact with Microsoft Server products, Operating Systems and Applications and the associated Software Use Rights.


Licensing the iPad on your Network

The product licensing requirements for the Apple iPad will depend ultimately on the type of virtualization and access requirements that will be adopted.

Currently, there are three major usage scenarios for iPads in the enterprise that access Microsoft software and servers:

  • Running email from the Exchange server using iPad Email and Calendar in iOS
  • Accessing an HVD using Secure Access Client (Access Gateway)
  • Using server-based Microsoft applications, such as Office using Microsoft Remote Desktop Services enabled by 3rd party
    secure access clients, such as Citrix Receiver for iPad.

Microsoft Client Access Licenses (CALs) will enable access to most servers, aligned to Device or User. Accordingly, as most organisation’s have historically adopted a Device CAL model, iPads as extra devices need to be licensed. Compare the user server access requirements with the CAL model you are using to evaluate requirements.

If you are adopting Microsoft System Center 2012, managed clients are licensed via Client MLs (Client Management Licenses). This is available within the Client Management Suite and Configuration Manager Client ML


Users may require access to their Windows Applications that are not available natively on iOS or. To support this use scenario, an organisation can adopt Microsoft Remote Desktop Services (with or without Citrix XenApp software) to access Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) or Citrix ICA.

Windows Companion Subscription Licence (CSL)

Microsoft have enable access to Windows OS via the Companion Subscription Licence (CSL) model for corporate or personal owned non-86 devices (iPad). The subscription will enable a user to access Windows in Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) or via USB Windows To Go in up to 4 companion devices.

  • Devices eligible for CSL include any type of personally owned device as well as corporate owned non-x86/x64 devices. This is intended to support BYOD policies, and Microsoft have incorporated this into the product licensing model.


The Windows Companion Subscription License (CSL) enables BYOCD (Bring Your Own Companion Device) scenarios and provides businesses with more flexibility to run Windows OS across various form factors.

Under Windows 7, Users that wanted access the corporate desktop remotely from their personal iPad could leverage Windows Roaming Rights under their organisations Volume Agreement with active Windows SA. However, should a user bring that device into the office and access Windows (VDI) from within the corporate firewall, the product licensing model would require an additional VDA Subscription. This was hard to track and not easy to explain.

Under Windows 8, Users that have a “Primary Device” licensed under a Volume Agreement with Software Assurance (SA) for Windows, can access Windows on or off premise on up to 4 devices via the “add on” Companion Subscription Licence (CSL)

Windows Surface (RT) Companion VDA Rights

Microsoft have incentivised the take-up of Windows RT devices by allowing the “Primary User of the licensed device” to access their windows desktop through a VDI from a corporate owned Windows RT device.

Technology has influenced how people stay connected not just from their work PC but also from secondary, or what Microsoft have termed “companion devices” such as tablets. Microsoft have bolstered SA for Windows to enable these companion devices with more flexibility for how employees can access their corporate desktop (VDI) from these devices.

With Windows 8, the primary user of a device licensed with Windows 8 Pro with active Software Assurance (SA) may access a corporate VDI from a company owned companion Windows RT device without having to acquire a separate Windows VDA subscription, encouraging corporate customers to move to Microsoft slate devices.


  • This encourages corporate owned slate devices such as iPad will need a CSL license If the user brings the device into the office to access Windows in a VDI Environment
  • If the organisation does support BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) it will encourage take-up of a corporate owned Windows RT device
    • Windows RT Companion VDA Rights strongly supports the procurement of Windows 8 Pro with Software Assurance (SA) and the renewal of active Volume Agreements with Software Assurance coverage for Windows.


Citrix Solutions

Citrix have a lot of guidance on their website on how to approach including the iPad on your network to provide full desktop or application access to your users.

Citrix XenDesktop enables user access to Windows desktops and applications on-demand from any device. The Citrix FlexCast delivery technology allows HD user experience of Virtual Desktops via Macs, PCs, Ultrabooks, Slates, iPads and Thin Clients for all access scenarios.

The Citrix Receiver is available as a client download to enable touch functionality over XenDesktop and XenApp based on Windows Server. XenApp features include instant access for both hosted and streamed virtual applications delivered into a virtual desktop.

  • Hosted Shared Desktops
  • Hosted VDI Desktops
  • Streamed VHD Desktops
  • Local VM Desktops
  • App Virtualization


Ref: You can find out more from Citrix by going to the




Microsoft and Citrix have enabled full productivity from a range of devices and provided options in the way your users access their data and their desktop and their applications. 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.

The theme of this article has been around the iPad– but your licensing requirements will be dependent on what you want your users to access on your network and the functionality and experience you want them to have, whether your organisation will invest in Windows RT Devices and the ownership of those devices.

I have included briefly the licensing requirements for looking at the Windows OS and access to corporate Email. his does not cover Office, which will be addressed in a later article. However If you want further information please review my several articles on this blog to get clarity for your particular usage scenario. Microsoft 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 Large Account Reseller.

One take away from this article is that 3rd party vendor solutions for Virtualization delivery and management rarely provide you with the full licensing implications and costs to provide Microsoft products over their technologies. So it is worth doing your research and understanding the total cost of ownership.

Please be aware that I now work at a Large Account Reseller and will now be providing my licensing expertise through their Licensing Services. So please do get in contact with me directly if you would like to have a bespoke review for your organisation.

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

– Tony Mackelworth


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This Disclaimer is not intended to and does not create any contractual or other legal rights. This website is not run by Microsoft or BT Engage IT and the opinions are the author’s own.


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