The paradigm shift from software licensing to software as a service
May 29, 2013Consultation on WP 2014 Software and Services. Cloud The paradigm shift from software licensing to software as a service As pointed out in another contribution (“Migration to (Mobile) Cloud”), legacy software, deployed through traditional distribution channels, currently still constitutes the majority of all applications sold. This simple fact not only begs the question of how such legacy software can be deployed into and adapted to the cloud and which tools are needed to accomplish this task, but could also seriously hamper the success of cloud computing services in the European Union due to the legal hurdles that have not yet been resolved. Contrary to common beliefs, legacy software often cannot be adapted freely to the particular requirements of cloud computing services without the consent of the licensor. Even if specific legacy software can be used in the cloud without any changes to its source code, current license models often do not permit this because they only allow for the use of such software in conjunction with a particular CPU or do not permit its use outside a specific (member) state. Until today, these licensing hurdles remained largely unnoticed because the discussion of cloud computing primarily focused on data protection and data security issues. With the advent of Saas and multi-tenant (one to many) provisioning services, however, the use of ERP applications and other software is shifting from traditional software purchases and licensing models to subscription models which can only be implemented technically if the legal implications are taken into consideration.