Microsoft

Microsoft capitulates and some angst over Office 2013 is relieved

Reacting to customer feedback, Microsoft has decided to change the license policy for Office 2013.

On February 22, 2013, I wrote a blog post with the title:

Office 2013 licensing changes increase IT angst

That post noted a change in license policy for Microsoft Office 2013 which said:

A single user copy of Office 2013 is licensed to a single machine, not to a single user. Officially: The software license is permanently assigned to the device on which the software is initially activated. That device is the "licensed device." In the event of an under warranty failure, you can ask Microsoft to transfer the license.

Well, as you can imagine that licensing policy did not sit well with - well, just about anyone. The forums and polls published on TechRepublic were overwhelmingly against it.

This morning I received an email from Waggener Edstrom Worldwide that Microsoft, reacting to customer feedback, had decided to change the license policy. Here is the new licensing policy as revealed in the Office News Blog:

Updated transferability provision to the Retail License Terms of the Software License Agreement for Microsoft Office 2013 Desktop Application Software:

Can I transfer the software to another computer or user? You may transfer the software to another computer that belongs to you, but not more than one time every 90 days (except due to hardware failure, in which case you may transfer sooner). If you transfer the software to another computer, that other computer becomes the "licensed computer." You may also transfer the software (together with the license) to a computer owned by someone else if a) you are the first licensed user of the software and b) the new user agrees to the terms of this agreement before the transfer. Any time you transfer the software to a new computer, you must remove the software from the prior computer and you may not retain any copies.

Your thoughts?

So does this change relieve some of your concerns about the licensing of Office 2013?

Also read:

Microsoft restores transfer rights for retail Office 2013 copies

About

Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

35 comments
stasys.lukaitis
stasys.lukaitis

I use a desktop at work, have a home machine, a laptop for trips and the tablet for on the run stuff. So does this mean 4 licences? I use only one machine at a time, and does seem absurd to licence the box rather than the user. What happens when I start up a trial virtual machine? Do all VMs need licencing too? (BTW - don't knock Win8 - you're sounding like the old Win95 knockers)

fa023678
fa023678

It is not the best but certainly more realistic. Now I will consider to purchase, before I just would plainly have refused to be boldly diverted to a lease contract with an almost blanco cheque. For all every 2 or 3 years again they would like me to sign that draft.

joy64
joy64

Not when you keep a loaded laptop at home and travel with a lighter laptop.

ITTechJared
ITTechJared

So the way I see it the only change is that if you want to install it on a second device you can now do it on your own instead of having to call microsoft. Seems they are getting particular on people installing office on several machines. They must need money due to Windows 8 going down the drain.

jcj111
jcj111

Would be nice to be able to install on a backup machine. I hope this is possible without violating the license.

AZ_IT
AZ_IT

The old license agreement for Home & Business allowed office to be installed on two devices simultaneously. A primary computer and a mobile device. From what I've read here that is no longer the case. You can only have it on a single device at any given time.

Kevin Morrison
Kevin Morrison

This is and has always been the way it worked up until the got greedy. Glad to see MS doing what is right. Now if we could get them to build an OS that works instead of this crap Windows 8 they might get me to come back. This new policy did make me check out Open Office and I have to say I am wondering why I have been paying MS all these years when a free tool that does everything I need exists?

wcrisp
wcrisp

Agreed. There is such a thing as telework and traveling. Who would fork out the purchase price for the same SW multiple times just for different machines, I can't imagine. Real professionals have occasion to work from different machines. Real professionals don't share/bootleg licenses, either. Seems MS is merely pushing customers away ... but at least they're attempting to maximize revenue by requiring multiple licenses for those that can afford or agree with buying it several times to use it for their individual need. Translated, that means less users will be willing to purchase in the first place and professionals will find cost-effective alternatives (i.e., free office apps).

grayknight
grayknight

Then you can install on both. Or you'd have to buy two copies of Office.

dogknees
dogknees

It means you can load it on your new PC when you upgrade. The original rules said you had to buy a new copy.

Gisabun
Gisabun

How do you define a "backup" machine? If you buy a retail copy [if 2013 licensing hasn't changed from 2010] you can install it on a second machine but both can't be used at the same time. Check the EULA.

culluding-techrepublic
culluding-techrepublic

I haven't encountered Windows 8 yet but I have yet to hear from somebody who uses it that they like it. I have been using various versions of Linux for most of my work and have an iMac for media editing. Every time I offer support to a Windows user I feel like cursing at the machine, and can't understand why people put up with it. I just want to get work done, without all the messing about that Windows causes. Most people could easily use Linux and never look back, they just don't realise it. I have been changing my friends and family over to Linux the past few years and not one has asked to have Windows put back on their computers. That has nothing to do with licensing, just the ease of use. If Windows were a car you would be stopping all the time to reattach doors, put the wheels back on, all the while trying to fight off outside invaders!

deway2
deway2

Comment on a Linux article not a Microsoft. It's become a cliche... It's an article regarding Microsoft not Linux. If you have a Chevy do you comment on Ford articles. I haven't seen one article RE: a Microsoft product with out a "I use Linux" comment. Great! Good for you! However this article is not about Linux. Regarding Microsoft.. I do not like the direction they are moving in. I will keep my folks on W7 and Office 2010 for the next few years.

garyleroy
garyleroy

"Microsoft-free", and by your own admission you have an "iMac for video editing? So you're willing to use the most over-protected, closed-system, price-inflated, restrictively-controlled hardware/software around, yet you prooclaim your MS-freedom because you think Microsoft is the enemy? Obviously just an old-school MS basher, and your car analogy illustrates it well...the old joke, still in use despite being a relic of the past (and even then had nothing to do with MS, because all computer OSes needed constant attention and repair, including Apple and Linux.

Rickochet
Rickochet

I assume all your family does is some web browsing, some emails and a few other "minor" applications. If you do anything that requires REAL applications, then you need Windows or Mac.

michaellashinsky
michaellashinsky

Seriously, can you think of another company that treats their customers so poorly? Lets see: The phone company, the cable company, the cell phone industry, Google, Facebook, Automobile manufacturers, car dealerships, production-line style home builders, Federal State and Local governments, many (but not all) police departments, Auto Insurance companies, medical insurance companies, the banking industry, apparently every vendor we deal with :(, ... Somebody, please, name a good comapny! I am getting depressed.

joeller
joeller

I did not say Linux is junk I said it is useless to me because it does not support my only reasons for using a computer. However, a number of people are saying that windows is junk when in fact it is theonly thing that supports what I do on a computer. Until all operating systems can run all applications that people need then you can't condemn anyone of them. Operating Systems like computers are tools. It doesn't matter if you have the best ball peen hammer in the world if I need it to pull out nails, it's useless to me.

molly_dog
molly_dog

I have said for years that MSoft really brought computing to the masses, which was its initial goal. In the same breath, however, Lincoln said (paraphrased) "If you try to please everybody, you're guaranteed to piss most of them off." That's the crux of the whole Windows/Mac thing. For millions of people, Windows does the job day in day out. Most users bitch about Windows because it's the accepted thing to do. The majority of them, from what I've seen over 15 years, can't tell the difference between an optimized system and one that's just chugging and plodding along. The average user doesn't measure time in milliseconds. Case in point, I just installed a new Color LaserJet printer on a small municipality's network. I was appalled at how slowly it prints but all the users are thrilled to death at the print speed in comparison to the old one. Despite MSoft's effort to make a "one-size-fits-all" product, such a goal is impossible. No matter what you make, it's not going to work for every.single.customer. Someone's going to hate it and they're going to yap and yap till they find someone else who hates it and so on and so on. If Linux and free productivity suites, etc., will work for you, all the better. If you've built your livelihood around MicroSoft's products, don't blame them for trying to protect them however they can with piracy now so rampant and "cracked" software so easily accessible.

markbeckstrom
markbeckstrom

I remember my old boss buying one license and then requiring it to be installed on all the company's PCs. Ummm that is what is called piracy. Back then there was not a way that the license terms could be easily enforced. But rest assured that if you only purchased one license and then installed it on many computers you were pirating the software. Not legal, not moral not good for those who actually pay for what they use. Perhaps you just did not understand the terms of the license. After all, who can really read all that legal mumble jumble.

Rickochet
Rickochet

HAL, MySQL and Apache run on Windows servers! Windows 2008 servers are now MUCH more secure than their 2003 counterparts. When I say that I of course mean the OS and not any applications that run on these servers because they are beyond the control of Microsoft. However, MySQL and Apache have dozens and dozens of security vulnerabilities! Get with it dude.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

[b]No one was ever fired for recommend IBM[/b]. Now it's Microsoft when it's blatantly obvious just how poor Microsoft products actually are. You want compatibility Issues try a different version of Office and see exactly what happens. There is very little in the way of maintaining the set standard between different versions of the same product. So by your own admission there is no reason to update any Microsoft product and many reasons to resist the change. Remember if you want to get ahead [b]Don't rock the Boat.[/b] :^0 Col

fasherman
fasherman

"Would you risk your job by recommending free Linux applications over industry-standard Microsoft applications?" I make a living doing just that. And once companies see that "industry standard" MS products aren't the real standards of the industry (with the exception of email), giving them greater stability and an improved ROI, they are happy they've done so.

mjc5
mjc5

Because I've had a lot of them. And they are between Microsoft products and Microsoft products. Daya after patch rollouts, I spend the next couple days fixing what the patches broke. Point is, Using strictly Microsoft means noting in the world of uptime and compatibility.

mjc5
mjc5

Just because there is software that you use that is exclusive to Windows does not mean that any computer that does not have that software is not any good. That would be like me saying that Windows machines are all junk because they don't have Soundtrack Pro, or Final Cut Pro. I've used the Open Office Suite ever since Microsoft forced the Ribbon on people. It handles all my excel needs just fine - some even better than the new excel, as I'm taking excel files back and forth between Filemaker and the spreadsheet application all the time, and the older file format works better than the new one. And it's pretty nice not to have to worry about 90 day restrictions, or hardware failure for loading a program. I wonder how Redmond determines that you've had a valid hardware failure anyhow. Anyhow our personal situation is not everyone's.

Rickochet
Rickochet

I work at a company where security is of the utmost importance. Our servers are constantly scanned for security vulnerabilities. MySQL and Apache are nothing but headaches for me...MySQL especially. See what it's like to have your company on your back because the servers which you are responsible for are security risks.

joeller
joeller

All of my DoD customers use .Net, IIS, and SQL Server. My DoT customer uses .Net, IIS and Oracle. So I DO need Visual Studio to 1. design applications for my customers, and 2. advance the skills needed to support my customers (which must be done on my time on my machine). So again, if Linux can't support VS2010 and SS2008R2 then it is of no value to me at all.

Rickochet
Rickochet

You must be talking about a home environment. I'm talking about a Windows Enterprise environment. Would you risk your job by recommending free Linux applications over industry-standard Microsoft applications? (NO!) Companies share/send documents with each other all the time and the Microsoft Office suite is the biggest example of course. All that it would take would be one major incompatibility problem between you and another company and they'd be asking you, "Why did YOU convert us to Linux applications?" There's so many more examples involving other enterprise-wide applications and if you don't understand that then you have no idea what I am talking about.

maszsam
maszsam

You don't need visual studio if you aren't using IISx, SQLServer and .net. A lot of the free office suites do just fine with excel programs, but my thinking is that you should use the right tool for the job. I also think that Excel is clearly the best surviving spread sheet program. Some people still prefer lotus notes. If excel starts to be 100k rows you should really be doing a database instead. It's been proven, databases correctly done get your information much faster than macros. The big picture, like it or not, is how bad Microsoft does with customer relations. Seriously, can you think of another company that treats their customers so poorly? Have they not heard of focus groups? With all that cash, can they not hire someone who is at least a little slick at feeding people sub-optimal ideas? Even Jim Jones had happy people up until the Kool Aid thing. Does no one at MS have a clue? I have to give them very low mark as a company for being so functionally stupid. That is not a referendem on their products, just their managment.

maszsam
maszsam

I do server managment, data bases, web development and other programming to include graphics, all on my Linux machines. If you go to a site I've done, you would not know the difference. You are aware that MySQL and Apache are the worlds most popular and used database and webserver on the planet right, which have traditionally been included with most Linux distros practically since there was Linux. The reality is that all you need is a compatiable set of apps, web server, web scripting language, and client side language and you can do almost anything on the web. For MS that works out to MSSQL Server, IIS what ever, .net and asp. MySQL, PHP and Apache with Javascript work equally as well and are free to use. The which is better is a brain dead arguement as clearly they both work. I will say that my experience is that on top of saving literally thousands of dollars, the open source alternatives have been easier to work with and far less prone to malware attacks. The down side is I do have to maintain wilndows machines to test with and to convert formats for client issues. I don't think win8 is horrid. I just don't think it does anything special. If win8 or win7 was all I had, it would not bother me.

joeller
joeller

So does Linux support Visual Studio, SQL Server, and Excel, as well as browse the web? If it can't support those then for me it would be a useless OS because that is all I do on the computer. As far as the MS licensing policy changing? I bought Office 97 in 1998, and was allowed to install in on all of our machines and including the new ones purchased since then. Now the policy is one license per machine. So it does not look like I will be updating anytime soon.

pfeiffep
pfeiffep

That thought process is off base! There are free applications for Linux available that rival or surpass Microsoft & Apple. In addition the OS is also FREE and much faster. When I replaced Win XP on my ancient Dell laptop the speed truly amazed me. The hardware did not support upgrades to Win XP. Now I have an OS that is totally up to date!

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