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Things You CAN’T Do With The Microsoft Kinect SDK: You can’t start a business, make money, sell services or consulting, it’s all non-commercial and in my opinion, a dead-end for most/all developers.

Can I use the SDK Beta to build applications that are used in-house in running my business, so long as I do not share them with my customers?
No. Under the terms of the license for this SDK Beta, you cannot deploy applications created with the SDK Beta for use in your business operations. Even if no fee is charged or received in connection with such use, such use in a business is still a commercial use and is not permitted under the SDK Beta license.

I saw the clever use of the Kinect sensor with a PC in a department store window. Can I create an application to use as a showpiece for customers who visit my store?
You may publicly display applications you create with the SDK Beta so long as it otherwise complies with the terms of the SDK Beta license agreement, including its restrictions on commercial use. Under the terms of the SDK Beta license, you cannot receive payment in connection with your application, use your application for advertising, use your application to solicit donations, or use your application in your internal business operations. Also, because this is a free, public beta, and it is broadly available, Microsoft is not necessarily aware of all uses that licensees are making of the the SDK Beta. Accordingly, you should not assume that any particular use you see is allowed under the SDK Beta license.

It’s cool that after 6 months of the open source community making amazing things Microsoft wants to join this party, but you’re coming to our house and the house rules were built on open source licensing – which means commercial use is allowed.

It’s unclear if someone would even be allowed to show their cool projects with the Microsoft SDK online and have ads on their pages, that too could be considered commercial use.

At least Microsoft can’t just look at your projects and do anything they want with them. Oh wait… Read this:

d.    License to Modifications. If you make modifications to the Sample Code and make those modifications public in source code, text, or any other descriptive (non-binary) format, you give to Microsoft, without charge, the right to use, share, and commercialize those modifications in any way and for any purpose.

Why would anyone want to use the Microsoft SDK when the open source drivers are out there and you can build a business and company around them? AND use them with non-Windows system (yah, that’s part of the license too, you cannot: “(4) use it with a platform other than a Windows platform.”).

Microsoft would not even be doing a SDK if the open source community didn’t completely dominate all the “wow, Kinect is amazing” headlines from the open source / hack projects for the last 6 months.

Phillip Torrone

Editor at large – Make magazine. Creative director – Adafruit Industries, contributing editor – Popular Science. Previously: Founded – Hack-a-Day, how-to editor – Engadget, Director of product development – Fallon Worldwide, Technology Director – Braincraft.


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