What is SPLA?

26 Feb

Article update (April, 2018 ) New use rights and updated articles on SPLA and CSP could be found at . Including best practices in reducing audit exposure, use rights and guidelines for SPLA licensing.

SPLA stands for Service Provider Licensing Agreement (SPLA). The key difference between a SPLA license and a license that comes with a boxed product (similar to something you would buy at a retail store) is the person who uses the software. The software you buy at a retail store can only be used by the person who purchased it. SPLA on the other hand, is designed for hosting companies that provide software as a service to their customers. It is for third-party access, not internal employee access. For example, if a company wants to host an Exchange server on behalf of another organization, the Exchange license needed for this access would be SPLA. Some other common examples of organizations that use SPLA are companies such as Rackspace, Go Daddy.

SPLA is a month-month licensing program. If a service provider has 10 users who has access to the software in the month of February, they would pay for those 10 users in the first week of March. In March, if they have 10 users they would report those 10 users the first week of April, and so forth. SPLA is very flexible, it allows usage to scale up and down on a monthly basis. It is non perpetual, after the service agreement ends, no one actually owns the licenses. Think of SPLA as a leased software program designed for hosting companies who want to offer Microsoft software as a service.

Is the SPLA program right for your business? Here are some common business’ that fit the SPLA model.

Web Hosters

Independent Software Vendors

Application Providers


Managed Service Providers

Online Gaming Providers

Telco Companies

This program is only available for external users and is not designed for internal employees. For anything internal, you will need to purchase a volume licensing agreement not, SPLA.

Thank you for reading,



Posted by on February 26, 2013 in SPLA General


4 responses to “What is SPLA?

  1. SPLA

    April 16, 2013 at 11:48 am

    In March, if they have 20 users they would report those 10 users the first week of April, and so forth


    • splaman

      April 16, 2013 at 2:30 pm

      Thank you for the correction and for reading. It shoud read- “If I have 10 users in March, report those 10 users the first week of April.” Made the correction 🙂

  2. Ana

    March 8, 2017 at 1:10 pm

    Why Hospitals? How?

    • MS Licensing

      March 9, 2017 at 1:48 pm

      Most doctor’s lease office space from the hospital but are essentially non -employees


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