Licensing Office Professional Plus on AWS

Companies with a Cloud first strategy for their Microsoft footprint need to be aware of the complexities involved if they choose to run Office Professional Plus in AWS, especially with the changes made to license mobility on dedicated EC2 servers.

Before going into detail of the licensing considerations for Office on AWS, it is important to understand the changes in Microsoft’s terms for using License Mobility on cloud services. License Mobility is one of the many benefits offered through Microsoft Software Assurance which allows licensed customers to utilise specific on-premise licenses on cloud infrastructure.

Previously, Microsoft allowed customers to utilise on-premise licenses for deployments on dedicated hosts without License Mobility however, commencing the 1st of October 2019, License Mobility is a requirement for dedicated hosts from “Listed Providers” such as Amazon. Customers who have purchased Microsoft licenses prior to this date can continue to use those licenses in AWS on dedicated hosts. In this scenario, if you upgrade those perpetual licenses to a more recent version released on or after 1st of October 2019 you must deploy that updated version under the updated licensing terms.

Microsoft licensing terms for hosted cloud services:


Unfortunately, Office does not support License Mobility rights. Therefore, to comply with Microsoft’s updated outsourcing terms, customers that are looking to deploy in AWS should consider the following options.

  • Use perpetual Office licenses on AWS dedicated infrastructure
    • As stated previously, customers that have previously purchased Office licenses prior to 1st October 2019 may utilise their perpetual licenses to deploy Office on AWS, with the condition that the deployment is on an EC2 dedicated infrastructure. There are two purchasing options available from AWS that provide dedicated infrastructure; Dedicated Hosts and Dedicated Instances. AWS EC2 Dedicated Hosts are ideal for most BYOL scenarios where the product is not eligible for License Mobility. Please note, a Dedicated host is physical EC2 server that is isolated for use by a single customer.
    • Customers should also pay close attention on the upgrade requirements as Microsoft states, that the license can only be upgraded to the versions that were available prior to 1st of October 2019.
  • Microsoft Office Amazon Machine Images (AMIs)
    • In late 2022, Amazon confirmed the availability of Microsoft Office LTSC Professional Plus 2021 AMIs (i.e., license included) on AWS EC2. This will provide customers access to the traditional use of Office productivity applications. Billing will be on a per-user/per-month basis which will provide customers the flexibility to only pay for the optimal capacity.
    • Please note, Office is delivered through individual user sessions using Remote Desktop Services (RDS) therefore, customers will also be charged for RDS SALs (Subscription Access License).
  • Third-party SPLA offerings
    • The Microsoft SPLA licensing program allows service providers the ability to offer software services to their customers. It is suggested the customer liaise with the SPLA provider to confirm if Office is an offering, how usage is reported, and at what price point so that the customer can make the relevant comparisons.
    • Typically, under the SPLA program it is the service provider that is required to report their monthly usage of Microsoft software to Microsoft and pay for the licenses based on the reported usage.
    • Service providers must ensure that they are reporting their usage accurately and in a timely manner to avoid potential penalties. If a compliance breach did occur, then the liability would fall on the Independent Software Vendor rather than the end user however it is crucial the customer gets formal confirmation.

To summarise, customers that are currently running Microsoft Office on AWS dedicated infrastructure and are licensed via Office purchases made prior to 1st of October 2019, are not required to make any changes. However, if you plan to upgrade or add newly purchased Office licenses post 1st of October 2019, Microsoft’s updated outsourcing licensing terms will come into effect and the customer should explore other avenues to license Office on AWS.

If you would like to hear more information about how you can utilise your on-premise licenses in AWS or other cloud infrastructures, please reach out to us via email at or visit our website