Confirmed: Microsoft Office 2013 Licensing Tied To One PC Forever

Earlier this week, we reported that it appeared as though Microsoft had changed language in the EULA for Office 2013 that would trap your license on one PC forever. This was a stark departure from EULAs for past version of Microsoft Office that allowed users to move their software licenses to new computers.

The Age was the first to notice that peculiarity, and now ComputerWorld has confirmed it via emails to and from Microsoft: Once you activate your Office 2013 license on a given PC, that license is tied to that PC forever. If you want to have Office 2013 on a different PC at any point and for any reason at all, you have to buy a new license. Indeed, when posed the question of whether or not the license could be moved if the original PC was lost, stolen, or destroyed, Microsoft replied with “No comment.”

Office 365

It’s not at all difficult to see that this absurdly restrictive licensing model is simply an attempt to drive users toward getting a cloud-based Office 365 subscription. In some cases, Office 365 might be a better value for a family that can install and use Office on multiple household computers, for example, but now Microsoft is twisting the system to make it difficult for users to figure out what the best value is for their given situation. Should they pay the one-time cost of the Office 2013 software and hope that they can keep it for a few years, or do they sign up for the $100-per-year subscription and just know that it will cost them X numbers of dollars every month for the rest of their lives just to use Microsoft Office?

This is a terrible gaffe on Microsoft’s part. At a time when there are ample options for productivity software beyond Microsoft Office, the company is trying to strongarm users using sneaky tactics, which isn’t traditionally a very smart way of hanging on to your customers.