With a new logo, a new operating system and new phones on the way, Microsoft is barrelling into the future. Presumably, that’s why it spruced up its Services Agreement. The new version is remarkably readable, but it also sneaks in new permissions.
The new terms, which apply to SkyDrive, Hotmail, Bing and other Microsoft services, go into effect on September 27 and are arranged in a Q&A format with minimal legalese. Here, see for yourself. But although this may seem like just a rewording, there are two important changes.
First, where Microsoft used to share data between services “solely to the extent necessary to provide the service”, it’s now freeing itself up to do that just to make services better. The paranoid might read it as “whenever Microsoft damn well pleases”. Second, by agreeing to the terms of service, users are forfeiting their right to sue. A lot of companies have been trying out this trick lately, but it’s uncertain whether it would actually stand up in a court of law.
If you use any of the affected services after the new terms go live, you’ll be agreeing with them. So if you have any interest in knowing exactly what it is you’ve signed up for, now’s a good time to look. It might still be a bore, but it’s never been an easier bore to understand. [Venture Beat]