In an attempt get people to purchase their rent-as-you-go Office 365, Microsoft has changed its retail licenses for purchasers of Microsoft Office 2013. Microsoft confirmed that once a retail copy of Microsoft Office 2013 is installed on a PC and activated — the process of entering a 25-character “key” to prove the software was legitimately obtained — it cannot be uninstalled and then re-installed on another machine owned by the customer. The program will be perpetually licensed to one device and will not be able to be transferred to another device for any reason. For instance, if your computer dies and you purchase a replacement you will not be allowed to transfer your purchased copy of Microsoft Office 2013to the other computer, instead you will have to purchase another copy of the program to have it installed. In essence, you will have thrown away the cost of the previous copy of Office.
According to a Microsoft spokeswoman, “A perpetual license of Microsoft Office 2013 can only be installed on one personal computer. 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. We’ve been very clear in all of our communications that customers seeking transferability should get Office 365 and that Microsoft Office 2013 is licensed to one device.”
The by-subscription plans for Office 365 let customers transfer a license from one machine to another with a few clicks on a management portal. Office 365 Home Premium provides five Office licenses that can be assigned and reassigned at will to a consumer’s computers and sells for $100 annually, or $10 monthly. For families that need four or more copies of Microsoft Office 2013 or OS X’s Office for Mac 2011 for their computers, Office 365 is a better deal than buying separate “perpetual” retail licenses. In an attempt to make those perpetual licenses less attractive to end-users, Microsoft has raised retail prices by as much as 17%, and has also eliminated the multi-license packs of Office 2010 it sold to consumers and small businesses.
It is unclear how Microsoft will enforce their strict licensing of Microsoft Office 2013, but it is expected that the company will utilize its activation technology to ensure Microsoft Office 2013 stays installed on one specific PC.