Changes to Microsoft Terms of Service

Microsoft have updated their Terms of Services agreement, simplifying the format into a question and answer style. However, there are two additions to this redrafting which follows the lead of companies such as Google, Netflix and Paypal.

The first is a new ‘no-sue’ clause, which requires any disputes that users bring to be settled by neutral arbitration, rather than class action lawsuits in court, which removes the right for the case to be heard by a judge, and the right of appeal.

The second, perhaps more noticeable impact on users is the second significant change to the terms and conditions, section 3.3 now permits Microsoft to share content ‘to the extent necessary to protect you and to provide, protect and improve Microsoft products and services’. A similar privacy policy change at Google caused a stir in Janaury, and is still under review by EU regulators.

The sharing of data would cover Hotmail, SkyDrive, Bing, MSN,, Windows Live Messenger, Windows Photo Gallery, Windows Movie Maker, Windows Mail Desktop, and Windows Writer. This higher level of integration between cloud products has theoretical benefits for Microsoft in terms of targeted adverts, although nothing in this regard has been announced or even hinted at as of yet.

Users of these products have until the 19th October when the new agreement comes into effect, after that any use of the products will imply acceptance of the agreement.

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