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Microsoft makes Office 2013 licensing much more restrictive

Microsoft has certainly made its share of strange moves over the years when it comes to software licensing. However, the company has again raised the ire of its customers with a change in retail licensing agreement for Office 2013. Microsoft confirmed this week that Office 2013 will be permanently tied to the first computer on which it is installed.

Not only does that mean you will be unable to uninstall the software on your computer and reinstall on a new computer, it also means if you computer crashes and is unrecoverable you'll be buying a new license for Windows 2013.
This move is a change from past licensing agreements with older versions of Office, and many believe that this move is a way for Microsoft to push consumers to its subscription Office plans.

"That's a substantial shift in Microsoft licensing," said Daryl Ullman, co-founder and managing director of the Emerset Consulting Group, which specializes in helping companies negotiate software licensing deals. "Let's be frank. This is not in the consumer's best interest. They're paying more than before, because they're not getting the same benefits as before."

Prior to Office 2013, Microsoft's end-user license agreement for retail copies of Office allowed the owner to reassign the license to a different device any number of times as long as that reassignment didn't happen more than once every 90 days. The Office 2013 EULA changes past verbiage stating, "Our software license is permanently assigned to the licensed computer."

When Computer World asked Microsoft if customers can move Word and its license to replacement PC if the original PC was lost, stolen, or destroyed Microsoft only replied "no comment."

Source: Computer World

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By bug77 on 2/18/2013 8:57:06 AM , Rating: 2
Just when LibreOffice 4 was released. This update is supposed to be huge. Not that there's anything wrong with Google Docs :-D

RE: Great
By bug77 on 2/18/2013 8:57:51 AM , Rating: 5
Oh, and let's not forget the grin on every pirate's face either.

RE: Great
By retrospooty on 2/18/2013 9:03:50 AM , Rating: 2
This is only for the retail version. IT becomes like the old OEM version for one PC only. I wonder if the cost will be lower like the OEM versions. If not, then it does suck. Another thing, I dont think they can legally make you buy a new copy if your hard drive dies, I am sure a call to support would get them to activate a new key for you.

RE: Great
By eagle470 on 2/18/2013 9:26:28 AM , Rating: 3
If it's in the licensing agreement, they can do what ever they want. THEY WILL OWN YOUR FIRST BORN!

RE: Great
By retrospooty on 2/18/2013 10:49:23 AM , Rating: 2
I have never bought Office in my life and certainly wont start now ;) Neither has my first born =)

I get it legit through work... and I get it at home no comment.

RE: Great
By Samus on 2/19/2013 1:28:22 AM , Rating: 2
But can it blend?

RE: Great
By bug77 on 2/18/2013 10:54:37 AM , Rating: 4

$140 for the home edition (I don't even know what OneNote is). Previously, that would have you set for 3-5 years. Easily. Now you're supposed to cough up $100 each year. Thanks, but no, thanks.

RE: Great
By retrospooty on 2/18/2013 10:59:52 AM , Rating: 2
Ya, I really don't get it. In an age where mobile computing is taking a big chunk of the consumer market. Rather than making it cheap and easy, like its competition, MS is making it harder for consumers. Oh well, good luck with that MS.

RE: Great
By bug77 on 2/18/2013 11:27:57 AM , Rating: 2
Well, no, they are not making it any harder. They just give you a big push towards mobile, because that's where they can still exercise their chokehold (as showcased here by the price hike).

RE: Great
By CaedenV on 2/18/2013 11:37:33 AM , Rating: 2
OneNote is perhaps the best single piece of software that MS has ever come out with... but in true MS form they have no idea how to market it. It is an organizational tool that allows you to take snippits of video, web pages, office documents of all kinds, text, and hand written notes and put them in a sort of digital notebook. At home I use it to help with project planning for home upgrades (solar panels, PEX water piping, etc.), while at work I use it the way I use to use Access to track my interactions with business partners. It is like having all of the useful stuff of access in a more visually appealing package, but without learning how to program macros (granted, Access is WAY more powerful, but it is overkill for what I do)

Also, if you have win8 OneNote Metro is free anyways, so it is just one less reason to get office anyways (granted the free version is not quite as useful as the desktop version, but still quite handy).

RE: Great
By quiksilvr on 2/18/2013 12:09:13 PM , Rating: 2
Isn't it $100 a year for five devices, so really isn't it $20 a year?

RE: Great
By Trisped on 2/18/2013 10:21:13 PM , Rating: 2
The $150 Home And Student version came with licenses for up to 3 computers.

Also, how many people need 5 versions of Office? In most cases you are only going to have a desktop, a laptop or two, and a bunch of tablets (which would suck to use Office on).

RE: Great
By pattycake0147 on 2/18/2013 10:29:10 PM , Rating: 2
If it was $20 a year then I would be able to choose a single seat license for $20 per year...

RE: Great
By Moishe on 2/19/2013 3:02:15 PM , Rating: 2
I think the article is being disingenuous. OEM Office is this way as well, and I have owned it for years. I have made substantial upgrades to my computer, every single piece, including the hard drive and the version of Windows and that Office install has never complained.

If this is like the normal OEM license for Windows and Office, then there is nothing to complain about, and this amounts to a fun session of "bash MS."

OEM Windows can only ever be installed on one PC for life. yet those of us who build our own PCs know that Windows never complains about installing on newly rebuilt PCs.

RE: Great
By Uncle on 2/18/2013 2:21:12 PM , Rating: 2
Not mentioned, I thought people were worried about their privacy when using cloud based, and the problems of cloud servers crashing. Are these not issues anymore, or are we at the "Out of sight out of mind stage.", if its not brought up, then it can't be a problem anymore.

RE: Great
By Xplorer4x4 on 2/19/2013 7:09:28 PM , Rating: 2
Try Calligra Words. Not as pollished as it could be, but getting there. I can;t ever go back to another word processor now..

By mmatis on 2/18/2013 9:07:16 AM , Rating: 2
will also do everything the 99% need. But then I guess somebody's gotta keep Steve Ballmer in chairs. Can't be cheap to replace those things after he tosses them around...

RE: OpenOffice...
By sh3rules on 2/18/2013 9:22:52 AM , Rating: 4
I use OO for work: Writer for documents and Impress for presentations. I never felt the need to switch to MS Office. Once you get the hang of it, Open Office will cover your basic document needs.

RE: OpenOffice...
By Netscorer on 2/18/2013 10:52:15 AM , Rating: 2
Basic - yes. In corporate world MS Word and MS PowerPoint are merely a convenience tools. With little bit of training they can be replaced by virtually anything. MS Excel though is a heavy duty application war hound used to it's full extent in countless financial solutions. There is nothing even remote approaching versatility and compatibility of Excel in any rival Office suite. In my organization alone we have 200+ MS Excel based applications, most of them written and used daily by business users themselves. Alternatives to these apps are often highly expensive enterprise tools that remove empowerment from the users and require large IT force to maintain.
But for home user who just wants to maintain a simple financial spreadsheet, most free tools will do. The problem often becomes unfamiliarity and learning curve that are hard to overcome.

RE: OpenOffice...
By bug77 on 2/18/2013 10:57:34 AM , Rating: 2
A mere DB front-end will kick Excel's butt any given day. But yes, Excel is quite good at its job and not many would be willing to learn something else. So that "mere DB front-end" would need to be pretty spiffy.

RE: OpenOffice...
By GotThumbs on 2/18/2013 11:33:35 AM , Rating: 2
DB front end? Excel?

Please tell me you don't use Excel as a DB table?

Does no one understand Excel is a spreadsheet program and not a place for storing addresses and the like?

Using Excel as a DB is like using a fork to cut a steak. Wrong tool for the task at hand.

RE: OpenOffice...
By bug77 on 2/18/2013 6:36:55 PM , Rating: 2
Well, yes. It's a series of tables and you work with its rows and columns. Everything else is just a front-end.

And no, I don't use Excel as a table. I don't use it at all.

I didn't say anyone should use Excel as a DB either. I said that a pretty front-end on any DB can accomplish whatever Excel does. You got it backwards. Incidentally, I have seen people using more than 65k rows in Excel without even realizing they would have been much better served by a DB.

RE: OpenOffice...
By Felthis on 2/19/2013 8:52:25 AM , Rating: 2
That's funny because I'm using Excel as a front end for SQLite DBs because I can't find a pretty front-end for SQLite DBs that can accomplish anything remotely to what Excel does.

RE: OpenOffice...
By euler007 on 2/18/2013 1:37:03 PM , Rating: 2
Please direct me to the database that incorporates the following functions :

And has Solver too. Thanks.

Difficulty factor: office home & business costs about 1.25 hour of our charge out rate. Your free solution cannot waste more than 75 minutes of my time.

RE: OpenOffice...
By Ramstark on 2/18/2013 6:33:16 PM , Rating: 2
Then your work is not as complicated as you think. For writing letters and making nice "spammail" presentations

If you use Excel for more than calculating costs or as a DB cheapo, then Office is for you.

I think the licencing plan of MS is getting everyone on the subscription licence, cuts costs and keeps the pirates "somehow" away...

RE: OpenOffice...
By Moishe on 2/19/2013 3:05:01 PM , Rating: 2
Basic needs. I used OoO for years and it went OK as long as I only cared about spreadsheets and documents. Even then, the GUIs were never as easy to use or understand (like the early versions of GIMP).

If you have any need for more than the basics, Office is where it's at.

Just like every other form of DRM...
By Articuno on 2/18/2013 9:10:07 AM , Rating: 2
This only hurts legitimate users. Pirates will be able to install as many copies of the retail version as they want, as usual.

I now have no qualms about pirating Office, by the way. There's a difference between charging a fair price for someone's coding work and charging an unfairly expensive price because you're losing money and mindshare by the hour.

RE: Just like every other form of DRM...
By drlumen on 2/18/2013 10:47:34 AM , Rating: 2
Even at that, this is not an effort to thwart piracy but merely a grab for more money from their licensed users.

MSO 2010 will be the last one I buy. When it becomes obsolete I will just shift to google docs or OpenOffice.

By Netscorer on 2/18/2013 11:01:16 AM , Rating: 2
I sincerely doubt this licensing change is a money grab. MS gets majority of their Office income from corporate world and this change does not affect them.
What this achieves is a more favorable comparison of Office 365 and this is where MS wants to steer individuals and countless small companies who can not qualify to enterprise licensing.
Basically, this is a carrot and stick strategy. An inviting Office 365 initial licensing is a carrot and severe restrictions on stand-alone copies is a stick.
My guess though is that all this will achieve is that individuals and small companies will just stick out with their Office 2007 and Office 2010 copies till the very end.
While $100 per year of Office 365 with all the goodies thrown in sounds good to some people, most are just very apprehensive of paying annual fees for something that they might or might not use.

By GotThumbs on 2/18/2013 11:36:47 AM , Rating: 2
I disagree. Pirates are NOT interested in using Office. Of course you may have some, but it's not a significant number. Open Office does the trick if for some reason....A pirate need to do a spreadsheet.

I think your stretching it way beyond realistic rational.

By mike66 on 2/18/2013 4:52:09 PM , Rating: 2
Is it fair that I only pay $17.95 AUD( 3 licenses ) for my copy of MS office? That's the deal that all D.O.D. members get, we also at times get really big discounts on windows. If MS can provide 100,000 cheap licenses makes you wonder about their true profit margine. I'm not buying either this time around as both office and windows are a rip-off, it's all about revenue streaming for stuff that I feel I already paid for, pay for Media centre seperately! my arse I will. So it's hello Linux as it can now play games through STEAM = the MS killer app that MS forgot about.

365 Only
By steedsrva87 on 2/18/2013 9:04:52 AM , Rating: 2
Here it begins... they are slowly forcing us to use their new office 365 with added inconveniences. While that may not be so bad with what 365 offers, I'd prefer to pay once.

On the other hand though, would LibreOffice (and others like it) actually compare to Office Suite, enough so to take customers away?

RE: 365 Only
By Motoman on 2/18/2013 10:27:12 AM , Rating: 2
On the other hand though, would LibreOffice (and others like it) actually compare to Office Suite, enough so to take customers away?

The inescapable fact of the matter is that 99.99% of all computer users in the world do nothing with their word processors, spreadsheets, etc. beyond what WordPerfect and Quattro Pro did back in 1990.

Any and all office suites do vastly more than essentially everyone needs to be able to do. But MS Office has a stranglehold on the corporate world, and that bleeds through to the home user - since that's what they use at work, they think they "need" to use it at home.

It can be mind-boggling how people will insist that they "can't figure out" how to use some other software package...even things as simple as web browsers. I'll tell people to avoid using IE because of all the malware that targets it - use Opera, Firefox, Chrome...don't care, so long as it's not IE.

But then they'll stare at Opera/Firefox/Chrome like they have no idea how to use it - even when you demonstrate easily that they all work exactly the same way. And then they'll go back to IE and get their computer infected because they're stupid users who think it's a good idea to download everything that shows up in a pop-up window.

RE: 365 Only
By GotThumbs on 2/18/2013 11:39:53 AM , Rating: 2

You can't fix stupid.

RE: 365 Only
By Moishe on 2/19/2013 3:12:09 PM , Rating: 2
You're right, but there are millions of people who "can't figure it out" because I think they've just lost the ability to learn. It's pathetic. On the other hand, MS has created a very refined product over time that is easy to use and intuitive. The change alone is a barrier because people don't like change. Between the different Guis, menu names, and look & feel stuff, many people won't switch.

And then there are the legitimate needs like MS Access, flowcharting, etc I did a bunch of searching for a replacement for Access and nothing came close. The time spent trying to make another do what Access can do is a waste. I would rather spend a few hundred dollars on a product that will do what I want in a timely fashion than to spend hours or days trying to come up with a cheap or free workaround. I've done it, and my time is valuable.

I call BS
By cwolf78 on 2/18/2013 11:26:24 AM , Rating: 3
If this is truly the case, then riddle me this. I just upgraded from a AMD 790X motherboard with a Phenom II X2 550 BE to an ASRock Z77 Extreme4 with a 3570K. I previously had Office 2013 Pro Plus. After the upgrade, I re-installed Windows 8 and in order to reactivate, I had to call the Activation Hotline because my hardware had changed. But with Office? I had to do absolutely nothing. So unless Office 2013 somehow ties into the activation of Windows 8, I don't see how what is claimed in this article is possible.

And for those dogging on Office 2013, if you actually use it at all, you will realize its a bigger improvement over 2010 than 2010 was over 2007.

RE: I call BS
By crispbp04 on 2/18/2013 1:27:28 PM , Rating: 3
It's absolute BS. I know better, and so does everyone else that is actually a microsoft customer instead of a bandwagon hater.

RE: I call BS
By Moishe on 2/19/2013 3:13:17 PM , Rating: 2
I agree. This article is blatant MS bashing.

Microsoft has it backwards...
By SAN-Man on 2/18/2013 9:18:05 AM , Rating: 5
Office 2007 and Vista were good in my opinion.

Office 2010 and Windows 7 were incredibly good.

Now we get to Office 2013/365 and Windows 8. Pass.

You see, Microsoft, if you're going to force changes on people you can't do it was products that are arguable not any better (possibly worse) than the previous iterations.

Office 2010 and Windows 7 are too good. I could go on using them another 5-7 years .

How is this not an amazing deal?
By crispbp04 on 2/18/2013 1:25:12 PM , Rating: 3
I see it priced at $9.99 a month for up to 5 PC/Macs. That's a cost of $2.00 per month per device. That seems extremely reasonable to me considering it includes 20 gigs of cloud storage, the bonus skype credits, and it's always up to date.

iphone users are paying a large subsidy for having an iphone that greatly exceeds this cost, but don't complain to their carriers for getting raped? 20 gigs on icloud is $40 a year, which is 40% of the cost of the yearly office cost. It's basically a no braier decision here if you use multiple devices.

When are people going to stop hammering msft for being "evil". It's just getting ridiculous. Let's not forget that no open source office solution is even in the same ballpark as MS Office.

By crispbp04 on 2/18/2013 1:45:57 PM , Rating: 2
I know that my comment wasn't regarding the retail version. The retail version is for newcomers to the office world. I highly doubt microsof is binding it to a single pc that can never be upgraded. It's never been a pratice of theirs and I don't see them going this route.

In regards my comment about office 365, I bet people will start talking about free alternatives, which are incredible for the price, obviously. But it's like anything, you expect to get what you pay for, and you're not obligated to anything. Microsoft offers a great office product and if you don't want it, you aren't forced to use it. So why hate? That's what i'm more curious about is why people spew hate for no seemingly valid reason. Let's hear a reason backed up by fact or personal experience. Please. I want to hear the story about how Steve Ballmer came into your house and forced you at gunpoint to fork over money to microsoft while you were left crying in the corner with a hurt behind after being metaphorically raped.

Obvious attempt to push subscription model
By tayb on 2/18/2013 9:57:54 AM , Rating: 2
This is an obvious attempt to push the Office 365 subscription model. Unfortunately $99 a year is a ripoff and idiotic licensing terms for desktop software isn't going to change that.

Google Docs is free and online. LibreOffice is free. OpenOffice is free.

Someone needs to slap some sense into Microsoft.

By Netscorer on 2/18/2013 11:08:43 AM , Rating: 2
$100 a year is not a rip-off if you count all the goodies MS throws in the package. Free Sky Drive storage, 60 mins of Skype per month, 5 stand-alone installations of MS Office and other benefits. The problem is this is like a premium cable TV - it all sounds enticing but then you realize that you are not going to use most of it, so why pay full price? In TV business there are multiple tiers, so people have choice. What MS should do is present this choice for home users. If I don't want 5 stand-alone copies of MS Office and I don't use Skype and I already have plenty of free cloud storage from alternative providers, would I get a discount? Until MS can answer yes to this question, I will not sign up for Office 365.

By danjw1 on 2/18/2013 11:47:03 AM , Rating: 2
So? Who uses this anyway? Maybe some businesses, but the people who would care, the home user, probably isn't. With Google Docs and Libre/Open Office. I am sure there are still home users of office, just people who don't know any better. I expect they won't know any better than to buy this version of Office, either. So Microsoft will keep some businesses and silly people. They are welcome to them.

By crispbp04 on 2/18/2013 2:39:02 PM , Rating: 2
You answered your own question. Businesses. People who need something with high reliability, availability, consistency, security, privacy, and compatibility. Things that open source can't always guarantee.

For consumer markets, open source can be a huge advantage. College students are lucky that they usually get microsoft stuff for free. For everyone else, microsoft products can be prohibitively expensive. Google docs may be free, but you sacrifice privacy. Open office is good but can sacrifice compatibility and performance.

The bottom line: We have the power of choice and options! If everything was free then everything would be junk. Coding isn't cheap. A differentiator is required to charge a cost. The great thing about competition is that it keeps great products reasonably priced.

What is important to consumers and businesses has never been as close to being the same as it is today. People are becoming more reliant on technology and everyone's needs are growing.

I get what microsoft is trying to do with Office 365. They are trying to create a sustainable long term environment. Haven't people pay a large cost up front for a product is a huge barrier to entry. I love the ability to get a free trial of a product and pay a small recurring fee to continue usage. I am a big fan of non-contract based subscription based models because it includes all the upgrades, the security of support if ever needed, the ability to choose what you want and scale accordingly.

Let's look at a few different scenarios.
1) college student
2) small business entrepreneur
3) suzie homemaker that needs to maintain spreadsheets for budgeting and use a word processor for her recipes and kids essays.
4) corporate IT manager
5) hipster

scenario 1: can likely use all msft products for free or dirt cheap. Once they graduate will either adopt open source or work for a company that gives them continued access. Lesser likely option is that they'll pay for the service.

Scenario 2: small business entrepreneur on a tight budget. for $9.99 a month I can get office on all 5 computers, instead of an initial investment of ~$1500 for outright licenses. Perfect model for scaling as needed. Cloud anything with cheap subscription models are the best for this situation.

Scenario 3: mom doesn't want to spend a ton, they have one family computer. Her options are to spend $139.99 for office, or hopefully find a family member who can get open office or another free solution set up for her. Subscription model makes no sense here

Scenario 4: Large corpations get budgets for X amount of dollers and will spend on expensive upgrade cycles. The analysis must be made for whether or not it's more important to catch every upgrade or if their cycle is more of an every other upgrade situation. This will determine if a subscription based model or outright per seat license fits their needs.

scenario 5: You don't need office, just continue to be hip and realize that you're a minority. If you ever need to look at a doc or xls you can use google docs. I can assure you microsoft is not the enemy. They are not trying to rip you off. You have freedom of choice, I swear. Your rage should be geared towards the abusive OEMS who delivered crappy subpar hardware with terrible bloatware. Your rage should be aimed at the memory manufacturers who colluded to keep memory prices artificially high so that PCs shipped with crippling amounts of ram to where they couldn't even function out of the box. Your praise should be given to Apple for proving that quality does matter and drastically changing today's hardware landscape. To google for proving that open source is capable of scaling(although with side effects). The list goes on and on. Just try to think outside your small world when you begin to bash and blindly hate.

Microsoft is dead
By DiscoWade on 2/18/2013 9:16:35 AM , Rating: 2
It is like someone at Microsoft is saying "How can we screw the customers now? We are Microsoft, they will just bend over and take it."

No we won't. Microsoft needs to get rid of the entire management team. What works on paper does not work in the real world. On paper, forcing Office on one computer or forcing people into a subscription looks like a good way to increase revenue. What will end up happening is people will begin searching for alternatives or not upgrading at all. You have to treat your customers right, otherwise they will choose the alternatives. And there are alternatives now.

pay the competition instead..
By Silver2k7 on 2/18/2013 2:10:03 PM , Rating: 2
If I bought MS Office 2013 today and then in say 2-3 month I build a new computer, then I would have to pay a 2nd time for the office software... just to be able to use it on the new computer.. thats totally unacceptable in my book.

Im not sure what Microsoft are trying to accomplish.. launching Windows 8 without an optional *classical windows start menu*
MS Office 2013.. with stupid licencing.

With such stupid licencing I would rather consider buying Corel Office for $49.99.. or the more expensive Corel Word Perfect.

"I modded down, down, down, and the flames went higher." -- Sven Olsen
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