On August 30, 2021, Microsoft announced changes to its Services Agreement. This agreement governs the use of Microsoft’s services, including Office, Xbox, Windows, and Outlook. The updated agreement will take effect on October 1, 2021, and there are several key changes that users should be aware of.
First and foremost, the updated agreement clarifies Microsoft’s policies regarding prohibited behavior. This includes actions that may harm Microsoft, its users, or third parties. These prohibited behaviors include using Microsoft services to engage in hate speech, encourage violence, or disseminate adult content. Additionally, Microsoft has added language to prohibit users from engaging in “deceptive activities,” such as creating fake accounts or sending spam emails.
Another key change relates to Microsoft’s terms around user-generated content. With the new agreement, Microsoft asserts that users own the content they create and share through Microsoft services. However, the company retains the right to remove content that violates the agreement or applicable laws. Microsoft has also clarified that users are responsible for ensuring that their content does not infringe on any third-party rights, including intellectual property rights.
The updated agreement also introduces a new dispute resolution process. In the event of a dispute between a user and Microsoft, the parties will first attempt to resolve the issue through informal negotiation. If this is unsuccessful, the parties will go through mandatory arbitration, rather than pursuing a lawsuit. This change is in line with industry trends towards alternative dispute resolution mechanisms.
Finally, Microsoft has updated its policies regarding automatic renewals. Under the new agreement, users will receive notice of upcoming renewals, along with the option to cancel the subscription before the renewal date. This is a welcome change for users who have previously been caught off guard by automatic renewals.
In summary, the updated Microsoft Services Agreement includes several key changes that aim to clarify the company’s policies around prohibited behavior, user-generated content, dispute resolution, and automatic renewals. These changes represent an effort to provide greater transparency and protect both users and Microsoft from harm. Users should take the time to review the updated agreement before it takes effect on October 1, 2021, and familiarize themselves with the new policies.