Microsoft Makes Office 2013 Single-License Model, Locked To One PC Only

Either someone at Microsoft screwed up the language in the licensing agreement for Microsoft Office 2013, or the company really, really wants everyone to switch to an Office 365 subscription instead of the locally-installed version of the software. The Age spotted some confusing language in the Office Home & Student 2013 license agreement that appeared to limit the installation to a single computer.

Mind you, that’s not one computer at a time, but one computer--ever. This is similar to the OEM licensing model, which marries Office with whatever machine it ships on forever. Of course, that really doesn’t make any sense at all for the average user. If every copy of Office 2013 is tied to a single computer, every time you upgrade to a new computer you’d have to buy a new copy of the software.

Microsoft Office 365
Users would be better served with an Office 365 Home Premium subscription

The key difference between the retail versions of Office 2010 and Office 2013 are as follows:

Office 2010: “One Copy per Device. You may install one copy of the software on one device. That device is the ‘licensed device.’”

Office 2013: “One Copy per Device. The software license is permanently assigned to the device with which the software is distributed. That device is the ‘licensed device.’”

Perhaps drawing the above conclusion from such a small alteration in the language is taking things too far, but Microsoft told The Age that “No, the customer cannot transfer the license from one PC to another PC.” (Whether that’s impossible to do or just illegal remains to be seen.) Further, that confirmation came from Microsoft’s PR wing after much haranguing, so it’s not out of the question that the PR folks simply got it wrong.

In any case, if it’s true that you can’t move your Office 2013 software to a different machine, it’s a terrible deal. Customers would be far better served by an Office 365 subscription (in case you missed it, there’s a home version of it now)--or perhaps they’ll just roll with Google Docs instead.