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Simplifying its terms, Microsoft wants you to understand what you agree to

Microsoft makes its service agreement easier to understand

Cutting out a lot of the legal jargon, Microsoft is now simplifying its Microsoft Services Agreement (MSA) in an effort to make the terms easier to read and understand for consumers who are non-lawyers. "Part of that is also making sure our service agreements are as easy as possible for everyone to understand," Microsoft said, and that these terms will apply to services like OneDrive, Outlook.com, Bing, and MSN.com.

Part of the change is that Microsoft will be spelling out what it means for privacy, transparency, and simplicity. The changes, which are listed below, will go into effect starting July 31.

  1. Privacy: We are now explicitly stating what we've said in past, that we don't use people's documents, photos or other personal files or what they say in email, chat, video calls or voice mail to target advertising to them.

  2. Transparency: We've condensed separate Code of Conduct and Anti-Spam documents into a single list of activities that can result in a customer's account being closed, and added language about parents' responsibility for children using Microsoft account and services.

  3. Simplicity: We tailor our privacy statements for each product and organize content for consistency, so people can easily find it. This includes a new Windows Services Privacy Statement that covers Microsoft account, Outlook.com and OneDrive.

Source: Microsoft

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Reader comments

Simplifying its terms, Microsoft wants you to understand what you agree to

34 Comments

This is good. Everyone should read privacy policies, especially those of relatively larger corporations, so hopefully this will urge the masses to actually pay attention to what they agree to.

True, but if corporations were to work to condense, simplify, and clarify their EULAs and TOSes, then that time could be considerably shortened.

If you guys haven't seen the documentary "Terms and Conditions May Apply," go do it now. It talks about all the things we agree to everyday by using Facebook, Google, Amazon etc. Scary stuff!! Its on Netflix, and VERY informative.

Where I live these absurd long agreements simply aren't legally binding since only lawyers with plenty of time on their hands can fully understand them. So corporations need to make agreements that aren't absurd in order for them to be worth anything. I'm surprised that courts all over don't protect their citizens against this kind of long manipulative nonsense.

So are we supposed to be really thankfull now that one big corporation decides not to shaft its own consumers to the same degree anymore?

I took the time to read part of them and, for the most part, not only Microsoft made sure that ALL sections are clearly indicated (not with cryptic language) but they also clarify what they give or not give in very simple terms. The only section i didn't agree with is the one where they claim that "They will not snoop into your content in their services like Outlook or Skydrive but should they "COME TO KNOW" (How, is not clear but to me is they will still snoop) that you are doing something illegal with their products they may tell the police to snoop (a second time?) for them. 

I understand some user may find this logic; however, that specific section is not really legal nor nice. It's legally put in a way that is seems acceptable but it's still promising to snoop into your data in some way. It's essentially hindering my right to use the services as i'd like to.