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What is a digital service?

Last updated: April 19, 2023

The following elements together form a digital service:

  • A service (i.e. not goods)

  • Delivered via the Internet, or an electronic network
  • Supply is essentially automated, or involves minimal human intervention

  • Difficult to perform the service in the absence of information technology

Here are some common examples of digital services:

  • Software products and software upgrades

  • Software provided as a service (‘SaaS’)

  • Cloud computing

  • Downloading and playing online games

  • E-books

  • Subscriptions to online content

  • Site hosting services, VoIP, and content
  • Music, films, images, and photographs
  • E-services

  • Access to e-markets

  • Distance learning (prerecorded and downloadable sessions)

And here are common examples of cases that are not classified as digital services:

  • A PDF document manually emailed by the seller
  • Live webinar online

  • Software developer's contribution delivered and sold as a software development service

If a company supplies a package of services/goods, the company has to analyze the nature of the bundle and decide whether the complete package should be considered a digital service, or whether each element in the bundle should be classified and treated separately.

For instance, if a company provides packaged software and onsite support activities as a bundle, it would be reasonable to consider the packaged software as a digital service, and the onsite support activities as a professional service instead.

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