For a while there, we were worried that OnLive's streaming Windows 7 cloud desktop service might have legal trouble due to a Microsoft complaint, but it seems that OnLive isn't using Windows 7 any more. As you can see in the image above, it's now Windows Server 2008. Before you worry that the service will be diminished in any way, you should probably know that both operating systems are functionally pretty much the same, and other than a much-improved touchscreen keyboard, it's actually rather difficult to tell them apart, anyway. In fact, the only really interesting part of the change is the hope that OnLive found a way around Microsoft's licensing conflict.
"Literally, millions of seats."
When we asked, OnLive confirmed the changes, but wouldn't say whether they had anything to do with the licensing complaint: "OnLive has never commented on any licensing agreements," a representative told us. Without any evidence that the streaming provider is out of the woods, it's perhaps too early to say, but the company's definitely bullish about the future of the service. In fact, OnLive told us it has millions of seats worth of enterprise, government and education customers on the waiting list:
We're steadily improving OnLive Desktop at all levels. Some of the changes are visible (e.g. we rolled out a much-improved on-screen keyboard), and some are behind the scenes and would only be picked up by technical people. These have all been in the works for a long time, and it looks like the only reason a change was noticed was because of the keyboard, but there have been many updates since launch.
As you know OnLive is the only technology that seamlessly delivers Windows with video and Flash on any device (tablet, PC, Mac, thin client), over almost any network, including cellular 4G and Wi-Fi. OnLive works with all versions of Windows and Linux as well, and our cost per user is far less than existing remoting technologies, none of which support media at all and often are barely usable on tablets and consumer networks. With OnLive, remote feels local, and OnLive's advantages across the board have not gone unnoticed. We've been overwhelmed with requests from enterprise, SMB, organizations, government, schools—all seeking to replace their current remoting technology with OnLive as quickly as possible. Literally, millions of seats.
What you are seeing with the OnLive Desktop consumer product updates are features we are trialing with enterprise customers who are looking to displace their current remoting technology with OnLive (it happens fast because the change is in the data center for the corporation, not device-by-device, like a Blackberry being displaced by iOS or Android). The change in the corporate world will be tectonic. When you see the names with 10s of thousands of remote seats that are dropping remoting technology they've been using for over a decade for OnLive, that will be the big news. So, these changes in our consumer offering is a preview of what's coming, and needless to say, we need to support all the versions of Windows (and Linux) these corporations use.
We're not yet sure OnLive's Cloud Desktop will vastly displace existing remote desktop services or lead to "tectonic" corporate change, but we're definitely excited about what a virtual gigabit ethernet connection could do when developers get wind of the possibilities.
Update: Microsoft seems pleased with the news, but also isn't saying whether OnLive is in compliance with licensing requirements now. The company emailed The Register the following statement:
We're pleased to have been told that the OnLive Desktop application is now accessing our software by hosting it on Windows Server, an important step in delivering any Microsoft-licensed desktop-like service to the public. Based on this information, we will work with OnLive to take a closer look at its service and ensure it is operating according to its license like thousands of other partners and utilizing our standing pricing and licensing terms."