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Microsoft caves to Office 2013 licensing backlash

Microsoft announced that it is loosening the Office 2013 licensing in response to customer complaints.

Microsoft has heard the uproar from customers over the draconian Office 2013 licensing limitations, and it has relented. Today, Microsoft announced an update to Office 2013 retail licensing agreement that should quell the uprising and force customers to put away the torches and pitchforks.

Effective immediately, customers who purchase (or have already purchased) the Office Home and Student 2013, Office Home and Business 2013, Office Professional 2013 suites, or any of the standalone Office 2013 applications can move the software to another computer once every 90 days.

A couple weeks ago, Microsoft explained the Office 2013 licensing to specify that it is non-transferrable. In a nutshell, if you bought Office 2013 and installed it on a PC, and then that PC was stolen next week, Microsoft would expect you to buy a brand new copy of Office 2013 to install on your new replacement PC.

When I asked for further clarification, a Microsoft spokesperson told me, "Office 2013 has the same licensing provisions around transferability as the equivalent Office 2010 package, which was the package purchased by most Office 2010 customers."

Apparently, that did not sit well with Microsoft customers. A post on the Office News blog today announces that Microsoft has listened to the customer feedback, and is immediately changing the Office 2013 licensing policy to match the language of the Office 2010 retail licensing.

Now the Office 2013 licensing works like you'd expect it should. Purchasing the license grants you the right to install the software on a single PC. If that PC breaks, or gets lost or stolen, or you upgrade and replace it with a new one, you can install Office 2013 on the new PC. You can also sell or transfer the license to another user. The primary requirement under this license is that the Office 2013 software can only exist in one place, and be installed on one computer at any given time.

While this is a much more reasonable licensing policy for Office 2013, and it will satisfy many Microsoft customers, the reality is that most businesses and consumers should be choosing Office 365 instead of Office 2013 anyway. An Office 365 subscription includes licensing for the full Office 2013 Pro suite on up to five devices at a cost that works out to be cheaper than buying the single Office 2013 license in many cases.


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