Microsoft Finally Got It Right! They Now Have a Plain English End-User License Agreement

Microsoft Finally Has a Plain English End-User License Agreement
Trying to keep up with customer contracting best practices is not easy, but Microsoft may be able to help you out here. Microsoft drafted their new Windows 8 end-user license agreement in plain English and in a way that has never been done before (at least based on what I have read — and I read lots of EULAs).

Microsoft’s New EULA Structure

It has three sections:

  1. FAQ
  2. Additional Terms
  3. Limited Warranty

Now you may say that isn’t a big deal. Well, actually, it is. The FAQ is part of the contract.Did you get that? The FAQ is part of the contract!
Here are some examples of the questions and answers within the EULA:
Microsoft Finally got it Right. They Created a Plain English EULA!
Microsoft Finally got it Right. They Created a Plain English EULA!
What is really unique is that there is no license grant, but simply the question regarding how a user can use the software and the answer.
This may usher in a new form of contract drafting. If you think about it, the reader of the EULA does not care about a license grant (or the legal formalities of license grants), but they do want to know how they can use the software.
While I have never heard of a court interpreting a contract with an embedded FAQ, I don’t see any reason why a court would not enforce it as written. Also, courts really like it when software vendors make their agreements more readable and understandable for consumers, so I think (hope) that the court will give Microsoft credit for drafting it in this manner if there were a dispute.
So take a look, and consider drafting your own customer-facing agreement in this manner. It will really help in keeping up with customer contracting best practices, as this may represent the future of contracting with consumers!

Resources

Link to the Agreement
ZDNET Article
Disclaimer: This post is for informational and educational purposes only, and is not legal advice. You should hire an attorney if you need legal advice, which should be provided only after review of all relevant facts and applicable law.

Jeremy Aber
Jeremy Aber
President and Shareholder

Jeremy Aber consults OpenView portfolio companies on legal and contract matters. Jeremy runs his own IT focused law firm, the Aber Law Firm, and has over 18 years experience in technology and corporate law.
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