I am using Microsoft's free tool Visual Basic 2010 Express (downloaded from here ) to develop a desktop application with database features using Microsoft access as the database. Connectivity is being done by OleDbConnection.

The software is now complete. I am planning to sell it for money. The software is going to cost 400$ to end customers. How much and where should I pay money to Microsoft?

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    Awww, don't give them ideas... – Joe Internet Jul 31 '11 at 22:56

You don't need to pay anything. The express line of Visual Studio can be used to develop commercial software for free. For most circumstances developers don't pay a fee to Microsoft in order to distribute their software. If your software is dependent on certain MS technologies that are only available as part of a larger application then your customers would need to purchase that software.

Since you are just using an Access database as a data store then you don't need to pay anything to MS and your clients don't need to get MS Access. They just need to have this redistributable.

That being said MS is trying to discourage using Access as a data store of a distributed application. From the same page:

The Access Database Engine 2010 Redistributable is not intended:

  1. As a general replacement for Jet (If you need a general replacement for Jet you should use SQL Server Express Edition).

  2. As a replacement for the Jet OLEDB Provider in server-side applications.

  3. As a general word processing, spreadsheet or database management system-To be used as a way to create files. (You can use Microsoft Office or Office automation to create the files that Microsoft Office supports.)

  4. To be used within a service program or web application that relies on a Windows service.


You don't need to pay a cent. You just need to register your copy of it. In the help menu click on register product, it will bring you on a web page where you can log in with a passport account and eventually you'll get a product key to enter into the application.

Commercial use of the Visual Studio Express applications is allowed.

See here for more info

  • While this is true for most cases, there do exist cases where it might not be free. For example, I seem to recall that the freely redistributable Jet database engine is only licensed for Windows, so to use it under Mono you'd need to purchase a license (possible for Access). – Ben Voigt Jul 31 '11 at 16:09
  • @Ben Voigt, I don't now enough about that. But, given that emaillenin is using access and OleDB, I'm sure there's no problem. However thanks for the plus :) – Randolf Rincón Fadul Jul 31 '11 at 16:14
  • "Using access as the database" means "Jet database engine". And MS Access certainly isn't free. – Ben Voigt Jul 31 '11 at 16:20
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    @Ben Voigt, from our DBA: Jet is just a data source. Not license-related to access. emaillenin Unless you have Access reports, forms or modules your use of Jet is royalty free. – Randolf Rincón Fadul Jul 31 '11 at 16:49
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    Sure, you can use it with no fee. Your incomes will be yours (: But, for the future, remember to look for something more reliable and supported like SQL Server Express (also full). Development process'll be very similar to what you have already done. Good luck! – Randolf Rincón Fadul Jul 31 '11 at 20:35

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