Microsoft is thought to be offering Windows 7 'family packs' that will allow users to buy multi-licences.

Bloggers Kristan Kenney and Ed Bott claim the end-user licensing agreement (EULA) of a recently-leaked post-Release Candidate build of Windows 7 includes a clause that refers to an upcoming family pack.

Kenny and Bott said under a section titled ‘Installation And Use Rights', the EULA reads: "If you are a 'Qualified Family Pack User', you may install one copy of the software marked as 'Family Pack' on three computers in your household for use by people who reside there. Those computers are the 'licenced computers' and are subject to these licence terms. If you do not know whether you are a Qualifised [sic] Family Pack User, visit or contact the Microsoft affiliate serving your country".

The link included in the EULA clause currently redirects to Microsoft's home page.

According to Bott, the Family Pack clause exists only in the EULA for Windows 7 Home Premium, the edition Microsoft's designed for consumers. It's also included in the EULA for Windows 7E Home Premium, the special version Microsoft's created for European customers that omits Internet Explorer 8 (IE8).

Microsoft said the Windows 7E (the E stands for 'Europe) as a unilateral move to head off EU antitrust regulators, who are thinking about forcing the company to offer users a 'ballot screen' choice of multiple browsers, including those from rivals, when they first fire up Windows.

In the past, Microsoft declined to either confirm or deny that it would offer a multi-licence bundle for Windows 7. "We expect to have other great offers in the future as we lead up to and beyond general availability," a spokeswoman last week. "[But] we have nothing to announce at this time."

Windows 7 family pack

The company sold a two-licence Family Pack for Vista Home Premium for six months in 2007. The catch: the customers had to have purchased a full or upgrade edition of Vista Ultimate, the most-expensive SKU in the line.

Not surprisingly, Windows 7's EULA said nothing of any criteria such as Ultimate ownership.

Microsoft did not respond today to a request for comment or confirmation on a Windows 7 Family Pack.

Analysts, such as Stephen Baker of the NPD Group, have taken Microsoft to task for not mimicking Apple, which offers a five-licence family pack for its Mac OS X operating system.

Neither Kenney or Bott specified the build that contains the EULA with the Family Pack clause. Leaked copies of post-Release Candidate editions, however, have continued to pop up on file-sharing sites such as, a popular BitTorrent tracking site.

One just-posted build, labeled Windows 7 Build 7264, leaked to the web last week. Several commenters on have noted that product activation keys for RC do not work on this build, leading them to speculate that it's a version of the so-called 'Release to Manufacturing', or RTM, build that Microsoft has promised it will wrap up this month.