Difficulties Using Office Pro Plus 2013 With RDS/Citrix

There have been reoccurring issues running Office Professional Plus 2013 under Remote Desktop Services (RDS) Terminal Services or in a Citrix environment. Unfortunately, Microsoft hasn’t released much information about this. You can sign up for Office Professional Plus 2013 via an Office 365 subscription, or as part of the Office 365 E3 Suite; which allows…

Microsoft Office 365 in AustraliaThere have been reoccurring issues running Office Professional Plus 2013 under Remote Desktop Services (RDS) Terminal Services or in a Citrix environment. Unfortunately, Microsoft hasn’t released much information about this.

You can sign up for Office Professional Plus 2013 via an Office 365 subscription, or as part of the Office 365 E3 Suite; which allows you to use it in a Citrix/RDS environment as one of the five licenses you’re provided.

While this information is useful, it’s only available for Enterprise licenses. The P2 (Small Business) or M (Midsize Business) plan doesn’t apply, as the P2 plan uses a small-business variant and the M plan doesn’t have RDS exceptions.

Since the launch of Office 365, there have been many questions regarding licensing when using Office 365 in a Remote Desktop Environment. Microsoft acknowledges the need for their customers to run Office 365 ProPlus in virtualized environments. Office 365 ProPlus supports dedicated Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) environments, but it won’t work in other configurations, such as RDS and Windows-To-Go scenarios.

According to the Installation and Use Rights – Product Use Rights (January 2013): [link doesn’t work]

  1. Each user to whom you assign a User SL may activate the software for local, or remote use on one of five concurrent OSEs.
  2. The licensed user may also use the software activated by another user under a separate user SL.
  3. Each user may also use one of five activations on a network server with the Remote Desktop Services role enabled.
  4. You may allow other users to remotely access the software, in order to provide support services.

Keep in mind, if you’ve obtained Office 365 via a syndication partner such as Telstra in Australia, then Reseller Use Rights override the Product Use Rights, and the information above doesn’t apply.

For virtualisation situations, Microsoft has created a licensing-based work-around for customers with an Enterprise Agreement so they can install Office ProPlus under the terms and conditions of the Office 365 ProPlus Product Use Rights.

Unfortunately, this work-around doesn’t apply to Office 365 procured via syndication, as referred to in the Reseller Use Rights.

In the event of a Remote Desktop requirement, Microsoft recommends the following solutions:

  1. For customers with 250+ Seats: Consider signing an Enterprise Agreement with Microsoft, which will support the Volume Licensing work-around that’s already in place. Note: The M-SKU is not available on an Enterprise Agreement, and will only allow for the E-SKU
  2. For customers with less than 250 Seats: Consider purchasing Office 365 E1/E2 SKU from Telstra, then purchase the required number of Office Pro Licenses through your Volume License provider, as long as it’s for more than five seats.

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