Microsoft Relents On Ill-Conceived Office 2013 Licensing Restrictions


When Microsoft began shipping copies of Office 2013 to customers in February, it quickly came to light that Microsoft was tying the individual licenses to the computer it was installed on; rather than to the user who purchased it and/or installed it.  This was a departure from previous retail versions, and meant that one could not move that license to another computer in the event of equipment damage or failure; or in the event of an equipment upgrade.  The howling from customers almost immediately reached a fevered pitch, and barely 2-3 weeks later, Microsoft has responded by relenting to licensing terms that are more similar to previous versions.


Many had expressed concerns that Microsoft was seemingly attempting to arm-twist customers over to its subscription-based Office 365 version, which could be installed on up to five machines and was fully transferable.  With the newly-announced change, Office 2013 customers now receive more flexibility; though still not quite the level of flexibility as Office 365 licenses.  Previous versions of Microsoft Office permitted installation on up to three machines at once.  Even with the rescinding of the draconian restrictions, customers can still only install Office 2013 on one PC.  It can only be transferred to another PC once every 90 days, unless the transfer is due to an equipment failure.


Coming on the heels of lackluster Windows8 license sales, and Microsoft’s strong-arm attempts to force its adoption by severely restricting access to and availability of Windows7 licenses, they may have been more or less forced into “damage control” mode.  Credit where credit is due to Microsoft on this one for responding quickly and positively to the public outcry.  Jevon Fark of Microsoft Office group’s blog post about the changes can be viewed here.

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