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Office 13 Retail May Be Bound to One PC Forever

By - Source: TheAge | B 68 comments

A dead PC could mean that hundreds of dollars spent on Office 2013 are out the window too.

TheAge reports that Microsoft is trying to push consumers into subscribing to Office 365 by "rejigging" the licensing conditions of the retail version, Office 2013.

According to the fine print, all versions of Office 2013, including Office Home & Student 2013, are single-license only, meaning the customer can install the software only on one computer. If that computer happens to crash, then the Office 2013 license dies with it, thus customers are not only forced to purchase a new rig, but a new copy of Office 2013 in the process.

That's a big change from the older version, Office 2010. Previously Microsoft limited installation to the licensed device and an additional portable device (laptop), the latter of which must be used by the single primary user of the licensed device. For the pre-installed OEM version, Microsoft wasn't as lenient, permanently assigning the license to the store-bought desktop or laptop.

For Office 2013, Microsoft has the same OEM-like restrictions for both the retail and OEM versions of the software suite. Thus, customers cannot transfer Office 2013 to another PC for any reason… at least, that's what the terminology indicates. The new wording for both retail and OEM doesn't say that the license is permanently bonded to the hardware like the original OEM license.

Still, this licensing could be a problem for the consumer who wants to upgrade their desktop or notebook, or need to replace the hard drive and reinstall everything. A dead computer is seemingly a dead copy of Office Home & Student 2013, Office Home & Business 2013 or Professional 2013.

The Age reportedly called up Microsoft to clarify the new license. "First I asked Microsoft's PR team to look into it and I was told retail copies of Office 2013 have a 'non-transferable license' -- not exactly making the situation clearer," said Adam Turner of TheAge. "So I asked for clarification and was told; 'Each retail copy of Office 2013 carries a one-device license. Once users install the software on a single PC, it can only ever be used on that one device.'"

A call to tech support provided different answers. After Turner was bounced around for 30 minutes, one said that Office 2013 could be reinstalled on a new computer. Another Microsoft tech support guru said no, it can't be reinstalled. Another said the suite can be installed on both the desktop and laptop simultaneously, repeating Office 2010's licensing allowance. It was clear that Microsoft's tech support had no clue, he said.

"A perpetual license of Office 2013 can only be installed on one personal computer," another Microsoft techie said. "This means that the customer can only install it on one device, either a desktop or laptop, but not both. If the customer has a system crash, they are allowed to reinstall Office on that same computer. If there are problems with this process, customers can contact Microsoft technical support."

It sounds like the licensing key may be tied to a computer's MAC address, as another Microsoft rep said that Office 2013 cannot be transferred from one PC to another PC. Customers can't even deactivate one PC, uninstall the software, install the software on a new rig, and then reactivate it. Is that surprising coming from Microsoft?

As Turner points out, all this questioning may seem like "splitting hairs", but consumers need to know if the hundreds of dollars they spent on software will go up in smoke along with their burned up dead computer.

 

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Top Comments
  • 23 Hide
    ingtar33 , February 15, 2013 12:21 AM
    i'm still using 2003.

    never see the need to update it frankly.
  • 22 Hide
    meluvcookies , February 15, 2013 12:17 AM
    Goodbye forever MS Office. I quite like MS Office 2010, and I'm happy to hang onto it. I'd NEVER buy a piece of software under that kind of restriction.
  • 18 Hide
    dimar , February 15, 2013 12:27 AM
    Don't waste your money. Just use LibreOffice.
Other Comments
    Display all 68 comments.
  • 22 Hide
    meluvcookies , February 15, 2013 12:17 AM
    Goodbye forever MS Office. I quite like MS Office 2010, and I'm happy to hang onto it. I'd NEVER buy a piece of software under that kind of restriction.
  • 17 Hide
    sliem , February 15, 2013 12:18 AM
    Boo!
    I'll use google doc or libre office.
  • 23 Hide
    ingtar33 , February 15, 2013 12:21 AM
    i'm still using 2003.

    never see the need to update it frankly.
  • 5 Hide
    SteelCity1981 , February 15, 2013 12:23 AM
    wow if this is the case microsoft is going to lose a lot of costumers for their office suite. Can you imagine spending 300 dollars on a office 2013 suite and your hard drive crashed and you had to go buy a new hard drive, just to find out you also had to buy another 300 dollar copy office 2013 suite again!
  • 13 Hide
    southernshark , February 15, 2013 12:23 AM
    I hope Google puts some work into Google Doc because with this restriction I won't be buying Office anymore, at least not unless the price drops drastically.
  • 10 Hide
    freggo , February 15, 2013 12:24 AM
    Simple solution.. Do not buy it.
    I use Office 2000 and just 'upgraded' to 2003 simply because I got a good deal on a -still sealed- upgrade pack.
    Only noticeable difference? Yeah, the screen layout, buttons etc are in different places.
    But let's face it, most of use use it to do some spreadsheets, basic database stuff ( heavy duty web DB work goes to MySQL anyway) and some Word documents.
    Different font sizes, bold, italic... include a photo, graph or some such.
    I bet that's what 90++ % of the users do with it. So what do I give about M$ trying to fudge me over on Office 2013; a product who's main reason for existence is to cover a boat load of paychecks for M$.
  • 9 Hide
    DRosencraft , February 15, 2013 12:25 AM
    This absolutely stinks. Absolutely. Loved to use office in the past. I got it cheap, usually on sales, used it forever, transferring it all over the place if the system up and died, or I simply upgraded. How will this affect upgrading hardware? Does that mean if I change motherboards I have to worry about my license suddenly not working? Microsoft, the gaming industry, all these companies trying to kill off the ability to use easily or reuse software, is really getting on my nerves.
  • 9 Hide
    Someone Somewhere , February 15, 2013 12:26 AM
    MAC Address? So if I change the WiFi card I have to buy a new copy of Office?

    I'll stick with 2010, thanks
  • -6 Hide
    mrmez , February 15, 2013 12:26 AM
    People wonder why iOS et at. is so commercially successful. While there are many factors, ease of installation and transfer is a significant factor.

    Make software stupidly easy to buy, install, use and transfer.
    Buy an app for my iPhone, transfer it to my iPad. New phone, everything transfers over with a few clicks. Same with Apple computers. Get a new one, click restore. Done.

    I wouldn't say goodbye to Office 2013, just hello to a pirated copy.
  • 18 Hide
    dimar , February 15, 2013 12:27 AM
    Don't waste your money. Just use LibreOffice.
  • 7 Hide
    meluvcookies , February 15, 2013 12:30 AM
    Microsoft seems set to destroy any good will between it and its loyalists. I've never owned a mac, but I'm seriously considering it for my next laptop purchase simply because I've been appalled by Microsoft's recent attitude towards consumers. I hate to draw a parallel (because I'm not a console gamer), but it's as bad as the rumors about "no used games" for the xbox 720...but this is worse, because it affects so many people looking for good, reliable, and consistent productivity software.
  • 7 Hide
    gromann , February 15, 2013 12:30 AM
    I'll stick to open office..
  • 13 Hide
    bak0n , February 15, 2013 12:36 AM
    meluvcookiesMicrosoft seems set to destroy any good will between it and its loyalists. I've never owned a mac, but I'm seriously considering it for my next laptop purchase simply because I've been appalled by Microsoft's recent attitude towards consumers. I hate to draw a parallel (because I'm not a console gamer), but it's as bad as the rumors about "no used games" for the xbox 720...but this is worse, because it affects so many people looking for good, reliable, and consistent productivity software.


    I'll be going linux as soon as steam support is fully there for my favorite owned games.
  • 4 Hide
    BadTrip , February 15, 2013 12:39 AM
    "It sounds like the licensing key may be tied to a computer's MAC address"

    I seriously doubt this. Reaching at best.
  • 6 Hide
    ibjeepr , February 15, 2013 12:40 AM
    Ohhh bad call MS, bad call. I hope the corporate 365 subscriptions make up for the lost home user business. Oh, wait, businesses don't use new versions of office either.
  • 6 Hide
    thefiend1 , February 15, 2013 12:44 AM
    who needs office anymore when you have google docs and such?
  • -5 Hide
    king smp , February 15, 2013 12:55 AM
    running 2013 Pro enterprise license edition i got through work
    I use outlook for work,excel,word,publisher
    nice feature is opening more than one excel workbook to compare
    also uses GPU acceleraton
    also we have our work files on Skydrive pro so I can access them anywhere
    for a home user get a sealed copy of 2007 on Craigslist cheap and you are good
    but for a professional you need at least 2010 office
    face it libre is great for free but in business environment you need M$ Office
  • 6 Hide
    Anonymous , February 15, 2013 12:55 AM
    Sounds like Microsoft sucks, Apple sucks, they all want to drain you dry and become billionaires.
  • 5 Hide
    heero yuy , February 15, 2013 12:56 AM
    isn't that illegal?
    i'm sure there's some law regarding software licenses (something about that they cannot be locked to one machine or something)
  • 6 Hide
    mamailo , February 15, 2013 1:03 AM
    "If that computer happens to crash, then the Office 2013 license dies with it, thus customers are not only forced to purchase a new rig, but a new copy of Office 2013.."

    This has to be illegal or it should be.
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