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Retail Copies of Office 2013 Are Tied To a Single Computer Forever 464

Posted by Soulskill
from the just-what-users-were-clamoring-for dept.
An anonymous reader writes "With the launch of Office 2013 Microsoft has seen fit to upgrade the terms of the license agreement, and it's not in favor of the end user. It seems installing a copy of the latest version of Microsoft's Office suite of apps ties it to a single machine. For life. On previous versions of Office it was a different story. The suite was associated with a 'Licensed Device' and could only be used on a single device. But there was nothing to stop you uninstalling Office and installing it on another machine perfectly legally. With that option removed, Office 2013 effectively becomes a much more expensive proposition for many."
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Retail Copies of Office 2013 Are Tied To a Single Computer Forever

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  • Great News (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    For users of Open Office or those who short Microsoft Stock

  • LibreOffice (Score:5, Informative)

    by gubon13 (2695335) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @06:41PM (#42889063)
    You can haz open source solution with full MS Office compatibility...
    • I wish it did, but it doesn't. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with libreoffice, but it is not completely compatible with MS office. If you work in a business that uses MS office you really can't get by with libreoffice - not unless you want to regularly tell you boss that you couldn't make the updates to the document he just sent you because you insist on using non-standard (for that business) software.

    • You can haz open source solution with full MS Office compatibility...

      No, no, no. LibreOffice would otherwise be quite perfect, but full MS Office compatibility is exactly what keeps it down. It needs more accuracy.

      This doesn't show up when you update your resume or write a couple of letters at home, but when you go into school/business world there's all kinds of serious formatting errors.

  • No. (Score:5, Informative)

    by rbmorse (833877) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @06:42PM (#42889069)
    Log into your Office account and deregister the current installation. That will free it up for installation to a new/different machine. You can do this as often as you want.
  • by eksith (2776419) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @06:43PM (#42889081) Homepage
    Doesn't affect us too much, since we've switched most of our internals to Libre Office, and it won't affect most of our clients who're quite happy with Office 2010 and a few who still use Office 2003. If your org needs new installations, there are better places to spend money than the office suite.
  • by Mistakill (965922) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @06:45PM (#42889099)
    What happens if your CPU or Motherboard dies, and you cant get that socket type CPU/Motherboard now... Or your HDD dies even

    In some countries, this stipulation would be against consumer laws I'm sure (maybe the EU, also NZ is quite possible)
    • by St.Creed (853824)

      I agree - this could be iffy with respect to consumer laws. However, freelancers are businesses and are unprotected by those laws, so I'm pretty sure small businesses are going to get shafted pretty hard on this one. The big problem is that freelancers often have to work from a laptop without acccess to a network, so the whole "cloud thingy" is not an option if your income depends on being online. But having the license tied to a single computer won't work for them either.

      All in all - it *is* time to take a

    • by bcdonadio (2821809) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @06:52PM (#42889181)
      I asked explicitly this question to Microsoft consumer care. They said: you will have to buy another copy. That's it folks. Just don't do business with this company: they don't know how to play.
      • That contradicts their usual practice of activating the software (OEM Windows usually, but some OEM-like office packages in the past) in case of a hardware failure.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      If it's like any of the other Microsoft installation limits I've run into, you just call the support number, they ask you why you're installing multiple times, and you tell them you fixed the computer because you the repair shop replaced your motherboard and hard drive. They are pretty reasonable in practice.

      • by DarwinSurvivor (1752106) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @07:12PM (#42889457)

        If it's like any of the other Microsoft installation limits I've run into, you just call the support number, they ask you why you're installing multiple times, and you tell them you fixed the computer because you the repair shop replaced your motherboard and hard drive. They are pretty reasonable in practice.

        The fact that people consider this reasonable still boggles my mind. If ford required you to phone them and re-activate your stereo every time you replaced your spark plugs, there would be a fucking media storm so big their stocks would drop faster than an f-150 driven off a cliff!

        • by LunaticTippy (872397) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @08:01PM (#42889991)
          What a humorous example! I've run into numerous stereos that have an antitheft feature where it requires a code after losing power. Some dealerships will provide the code for free, most won't. The real bad ones demand that you bring the car in for service and pay an hour of labor. Sometimes the code was provided to the original owner of the car, sometimes not. Good luck finding it, you're not supposed to keep it in the car.

          BTW, I've seen manufacturer's procedures for changing spark plugs call for disconnecting the battery. You'd literally have to phone them and re-activate your stereo every time you replaced your plugs. This has been going on since the 90s, and it is obvious you've never heard of it.
        • by Amouth (879122) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @08:04PM (#42890037)

          You do realize that most OEM car radio's require an activation code to be entered before they will work if power is lost? so you change the battery or it gets run down you have to put in the access code. Now the difference is in the original owners manual/paperwork there is a card with the code on it, most people lose this and are happy the can call a dealer and get it for free by giving the VIN# of the car.

          GMC & some others take it a bit further with their ECU's on some of the higher end cars in that the first time they power up they talk to all the sensors on the buss and burn them into WORM memory (real worm or presented as worm) and are useless if moved to another car (i'm not quite sure how they handle single sensor changes vs multiple).

    • In some countries, this stipulation would be against consumer laws I'm sure

      Since when did that ever stop them trying to get away with it?

      (maybe the EU, also NZ is quite possible)

      <political rant> However, in New Zealand, they can probably just get a law change in their favour - Look to Warner Brothers </political rant>

    • by Kenja (541830) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @07:02PM (#42889321)
      What happens is you download the crack for the software you legally purchased.
    • Explain the situation on the phone and they'll activate it for you.

      I had a similar experience the other day with a retail Home and Student 2010 license card, which, to my astonishment, ties the license to the machine, the motherboard specifically (like OEM Windows). I installed it on a nearly stillborn samsung tablet (should've waited the extra hours for it to definitely die) and couldn't activate Office on the replacement. So the person on the phone gave me the bad news and activated it for me.

      Similar expe

    • by wile_e8 (958263)
      Well then you just buy another Surface Pro and a new copy of Office to go with it. What, you aren't really planning on fixing your old computer, are you? Well then you don't really matter.
    • by tompaulco (629533)
      What happens if your CPU or Motherboard dies, and you cant get that socket type CPU/Motherboard now... Or your HDD dies even
      Well, in my mind that is still the same machine, as you just replaced some broken parts. I have no idea how MS sees it. But frankly, if they are going to tie it to the hardware, then they need to price it as a product that you are going to have to renew every 2 to 3 years. So make it $25, and I'll be happy to buy a new one when I get a new PC.
  • Compared to AppStore (Score:5, Informative)

    by gnasher719 (869701) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @06:52PM (#42889179)
    Non-commercial use: Any number of Macs that you own and control. Commercial use: Any number of computers used by the same single person, or one computer used by any number of persons.

    One computer and can't move to a different computer? That's ridiculous. So if sell your computer and buy a better one, you have to re-buy the software? Or if your computer breaks? Or your computer is stolen? I wonder what your insurance company will say if your computer is stolen, they pay for a replacement, and then you say that instead of restoring your apps from your backup you want them to pay for new copies?
  • Why bother? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JDAustin (468180) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @06:54PM (#42889211)

    I use Excel & Access 2003 on a daily basis (Access provides a simple front end to SQL databases). The only time I load up Excel 2010 is when the sheet has more then 256 columns (rare) or ~65k rows (more common now). The ribbon is a pain as I lose all my custom menu bars (and the after thought of a hack put into the ribbon for this sucks). What is there about 2013 that would appeal to a non-corporate end user? Saving to a cloud? We have Google Drive/DropBox folders for that.

  • by guttentag (313541) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @06:55PM (#42889229) Journal
    That can't be true, because it's too good to be true. If a copy of office were tied to a single machine forever, that copy of office would die with the machine and eventually office would become extinct. You'd see beat up computers with yellowed cases and burned in screens in endangered software sanctuaries. Or the world would realize that equivalent software is available elsewhere for less money (or free). But we all know Microsoft won't let that happen because software survives by being propagated from computer to computer, paid or not.
  • You used to be able to install on desktop and laptop with one copy of office now they want you to have 1 copy for each system no locked to the systems death.

    • What's even worse is that Home and Student is the same price but is only valid for a signle computer, instead of three.

      They're really pushing Office 365, and I'm not sure I enjoy the idea.

      • What's even worse is that Home and Student is the same price but is only valid for a signle computer, instead of three.

        They're really pushing Office 365, and I'm not sure I enjoy the idea.

        Interestingly Office 365 is restricted in where you can use it. For some countries they just won't let you buy it. Not 'axis of evil' countries either; some of them are on the State Departments list of 'countries we REALLY want US companies doing business with".

  • by The Optimizer (14168) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @06:56PM (#42889263)

    ...they'd rather see Home users use a different licensing model... something with more long term revenue for the company. One way to help such a new model would be to make the current purchase model less attractive.

    nahh. That couldn't be.

    • For those of us that DON'T look at Microsoft licensing models (mainly because we don't buy after-market software from them), what other model are you referring to?
  • by erice (13380) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @07:01PM (#42889311) Homepage

    If I add a disk, is it the same device?
    If I swap the disk, is the same device.
    If I keep everything but swap the CPU, is it a new computer?
    If I keep the CPU but swap the motherboard?

    If I swap components incrementally, when do I need to buy a new license?
    Does the software actually check?

  • by Noir Angellus (2740421) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @07:01PM (#42889313)
    in many countries whose law permits the sale of second hand software licenses (eg pre-owned games). What Microsoft's legal team has forgotten (ignored?) is that state and federal law override any and all conditions they put in their EULA and they have no legal recourse when they blatantly ignore local law.
    • by OhPlz (168413)

      Permitting the sale is a different thing than requiring software companies to allow for such sales.

  • Upgrade anything on the computer and your good to go, hell even upgrading the BIOS ( or UEFI ) would count. Once anything changes, offically the computer has changed and the terms are reset.
  • It's Bye-Bye MS. And Apple haters complain about "vendor lock in" -- Why do I get the feeling that if I were to buy a copy of office, it would be from the Chinese Pirates?

  • They won't find out until 2016 when they try to reinstall the OS or move to a new machine. Of course by then they will just buy Office 2016.
  • just shows the stupidity of the average arthropod

    I am surprised microsoft has not driven themselves out of business with their draconian & heavy handed methods of conducting business

    Linux & LibreOffice does it all for me = the cost of freedom is eternal vigilance
  • by tekrat (242117) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @07:14PM (#42889481) Homepage Journal

    This *will* be the year of Linux on the Desktop!

  • by 0111 1110 (518466) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @07:22PM (#42889579)

    I'm waiting to see how the resident MS shills are going to positively spin this one. No unbiased person could be in favor of this.

  • by Idarubicin (579475) <(moc.liamtoh) (ta) (teiuqslla)> on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @07:22PM (#42889583) Journal
    It looks like the real legwork for this story was done by Adam Turner, from The Age. See "Does your copy of Office 2013 die with your computer? [theage.com.au]", from 11 Feb 2013.

    The story linked from the Slashdot article mostly just summarizes Turner's already-concise (but still more-detailed) article, and wraps it in a different set of ads.

  • by Idarubicin (579475) <(moc.liamtoh) (ta) (teiuqslla)> on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @07:35PM (#42889725) Journal
    The obvious answer is the Ship of Theseus [wikipedia.org] solution.

    In Adam Turner's article [theage.com.au] (on which the blog post linked in the Slashdot summary is based) Microsoft declares that " If the customer has a system crash, they are allowed to reinstall Office on that same computer..." but with the caveat, "No, the customer cannot transfer the license from one PC to another PC." Sounds like I'm allowed to upgrade my computer, and I'm allowed to replace broken parts...I just can't "transfer" the license between PCs.

    Who knows the way to fix an old Fiat?

    Step 1: Raise hood.
    Step 2: Turn the radiator cap counterclockwise until fully loosed.
    Step 3: Lift radiator cap straight up, at least six inches.
    Step 4: Remove old Fiat from under radiator cap. Replace with new Fiat.
    Step 5: Screw radiator cap back in place.
    Step 6: Close hood.

    Clearly, the solution in this situation is similar. Disconnect your mouse. Replace the computer underneath. Plug in a new computer. The license, obviously, transferred with the Theseus-mouse.

  • by digitig (1056110) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @07:59PM (#42889975)
    I don't know whose the single computer will be, but it won't be mine.
  • Libre Office!! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BeadyEl (1656149) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @08:07PM (#42890049)
    It'd be nice to think this would boost use of OpenOffice and/or Libre Office, but probably not.
  • by fufufang (2603203) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @08:26PM (#42890273)

    Time to learn LaTex. Open Office is not suitable for complicated/large documents.

  • by Somebody Is Using My (985418) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @08:52PM (#42890535) Homepage

    * Hey Steve! How's it going.
    - Terrible, Bill, terrible. Nothing's going the way we expected. I mean, we tried our best with Zune - we made it brown even! - but it's no good. Some people even liked the Zune software.
    * I see. What else have you tried?
    - Well, we replaced the toolbar in Office with - get this - a ribbon. We told everybody it would improve their workflow.
    * Bet that shook things up!
    - No, people kept buying Office. The ribbon even had fans! They wanted it extended to other apps! But then I thought... XBox!
    * XBox?
    - Yeah... we'll put ads all over the thing! There'll be a tiny button in the corner to start the game and everywhere else... ads!
    * Yes!!!
    - No! People complained, but XBox Lives subscriptions are up and game sales are through the roof! Hell, we even canned Bungie and sold more Halo games than ever!
    * Oh dear.
    - Then I'm sure you heard about Windows 8 and Metro.
    * Oh yes, terrific job there. And you tied it to Surface and Windows Phone too!
    - Yes, we're all very proud of that. And now this thing with Office 2013; we're tying it to a single computer. No reinstalls. If your motherboard craps out, well, you'll just have to buy a new license!
    * Surely that will work. No one will be able to ignore the message we're sending now.
    - I don't know, Bill. I don't know. People liked the whole Office365 subscription thing, after all. They'll probably like this too. You know and I know that Windows and the Microsoft ecosystem is an abortion and a disaster, and that we've been striving desperately to get people to leave it for greater and better things - I can't help but remember the excellent work you did with "The Road Ahead" and leaving out the Internet entirely; you'd have thought that might have clued them in that we're just hacks - but it's just not working. But look, what if I try this next: security updates only available to people who have a paid subscription. Yeah, that might do it, don't you think?
    * Never give up hope, Steve, never give up hope. I can't think of anyone better for this job. And here, toss a chair. It'll make you feel better.

  • by fast turtle (1118037) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @09:28PM (#42890877) Journal

    and until I find a usable replacement for the features it has, I'm stuck with Office 2007. Sure it works but I'd like something that's open source instead and using a Wiki setup just doesn't cut it for me as it means installing to much additional software.

    Now if I can find something that gives me 90 percent of the features (individual notebooks, insert media, text and such), I'd be able to move back to open source as my only online game now has a link to setting things up in Wine along with links to doing so in RH/Deb/Suse and others.

As the trials of life continue to take their toll, remember that there is always a future in Computer Maintenance. -- National Lampoon, "Deteriorata"

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