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

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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  • 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...
  • 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.
  • 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?
  • by bcdonadio ( 2821809 ) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @06:52PM (#42889181) Homepage
    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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @06:58PM (#42889291)

    Microsoft is doing their damndest to make me not want to use Windows anymore. Everything about Windows 8 sounds like an anti-consumer nuisance, they've spent 6 years turning the Xbox dashboard into the worst piece of clumsy advertising software as opposed to a valid gaming console OS, and now this crap.

    Yep, you're days are numbered Microsoft. Have fun burning what little bit of good will still exists for you.

    Microsoft isn't -- anti-Microsoft bloggers looking for ad views without any supporting information are doing their damnedest to make you not want to use Windows anymore, specifically by targeting the anti-Microsoft bias that a specific subset of people seem to have. A second article that got all of its information purely from the first is not a confirmation, either.

    An empirical test, though -- I've, in fact, moved a 2013 license between systems without any problem. YMMV, and I didn't read the license agreement, but one post trolling for ad views being referenced by a second blog trolling for ad views, both being linked by Slashdot in its continuing quest to troll its readers to drive ad views isn't really a good reason to make any decisions, except perhaps not reading Slashdot anymore.

  • Re:No. (Score:5, Informative)

    by ericloewe ( 2129490 ) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @07:00PM (#42889303)

    That's Office 365.

  • Re:No. (Score:4, Informative)

    by Kawahee ( 901497 ) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @07:03PM (#42889339) Homepage Journal
    I'm trialling Office 365 and I've seen the option to de-activate licenses. That was my first thought when I saw this story. But the article seems to suggest it's a different problem:

    Of course, Microsoft has a solution to this in the form of Office 365. Instead of buying a retail copy tied to a single machine, you could instead subscribe to Office 365, which is tied to the user not the hardware, and can be used across 5 PCs or 4 Macs at any one time. But subscriptions aren’t for everyone, and eventually you end up paying more for the software.

  • Re:No. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Kawahee ( 901497 ) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @07:04PM (#42889351) Homepage Journal
    I think the grandparent has confused retail copies of Office 2013 with an Office 365 subscription. The latter requires an account (and I'm not sure how you'd facilitate a subscription without one).
  • by PRMan ( 959735 ) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @07:08PM (#42889419)
    The ribbon is good in that you can set things by example visually that actually tick multiple settings at once. After learning it, I actually prefer it and don't like using a word processor without it anymore.
  • by gewalker ( 57809 ) <Gary.WalkerNO@SPAMAstraDigital.com> on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @07:11PM (#42889455)

    I just posted this on my facebook account. Feel free to post it everywhere.

    Microsoft has just raised the bar on greed. MS Office 2013 has a non-transferable license, it can only be installed on 1 computer. So, you lose this computer or it dies or you upgrade, you lose your license to MS Office 2013. See http://www.geek.com/articles/geek-pick/retail-copies-of-office-2013-are-tied-to-a-single-computer-forever-20130213/ [geek.com] for moredetails.

  • by Idarubicin ( 579475 ) 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 GigaplexNZ ( 1233886 ) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @07:40PM (#42889769)
    The summary already explicitly answered this. No, you can't.

    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

  • 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).

  • by sunderland56 ( 621843 ) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @10:24PM (#42891403)

    How would it phoning home make things different? All the software sees is the inside of the VM, which remains the same.

    Phoning home could prevent two different copies of the VM running at the same time - which is not the point. If my computer dies, I should be able to transfer legally acquired software from the old, dead machine to the new one. By running Office inside a VM, the user can do that - and Microsoft would not be able to tell, no matter how often it phones home.

  • by ThermalRunaway ( 1766412 ) on Wednesday February 13, 2013 @10:58PM (#42891673)
    What? Apple is no better because the MS Office Lic applies equally to PC or Mac hardware? The problem is the license, nothing to do with the hardware.

    In fact my $20 upgrade to Mountain Lion travels with my Apple ID. I sold an older MacBook and bought a new(er) one that had Lion on it. After I signed into the AppStore my Mountain Lion install worked fine...

    Or the $20 Pages or $20 Numbers applications I bought.. once... that work on any Macs I own... at the same time.
  • by arglebargle_xiv ( 2212710 ) on Thursday February 14, 2013 @12:13AM (#42892187)

    And I'll continue to use Libre Office :) No activation, no ribbon, works fine and does what I need.

    Another nice drop-in replacement is Kingsoft Office [kingsoftstore.com], a pretty full MS office clone without all the post-2007 braindamage the Microsoft added. I've been installing it for friends and family who need to work with Office documents but don't (or can't) want to pay MS's Office price (don't even get me started about Office 365, from the folks who also brought you Win8). Oh, and the whole suite is a 39MB download, compared to a DVD's-worth for MS Office. Even if you want the full-on commercial version rather than the free one (which only adds VBA and macros) that's all of $49.95.

    (Not affiliated with Kingsoft in any way, just happy to have something I can drop on people's machines when they need to occasionally work with Office documents).

  • by Xest ( 935314 ) on Thursday February 14, 2013 @04:42AM (#42893461)

    I'm not sure how true the summary is tbh.

    I bought Office 2013 Pro Plus through my university's website and it said it was quite clearly licensed for a maximum of 2 machines at once.

    That implies that at very least the license can work on two computers and I honestly don't think there's anything magical about the copy and license I purchased even if I did get a student discount (there are perks to remaining a student for life, even alongside working full time!) - certainly the media I received looks like any other copy of Pro Plus and there is no mention of "Super special student offer that magically allows you to run it on two machines at once" though that doesn't of course mean that there aren't regional/license differences - perhaps bundled OEM copies with new machines have the restriction mentioned in TFA rather than retail versions which I presumably received?

    Further, the wording "maximum of two at once" almost seems to imply that you can change the machine it's on, just as long as you don't exceed the maximum.

    But in my case I was actually pleased to see Microsoft had explicitly decided to authorise you running one copy on multiple machines, if anything this is a step forward - an explicit recognition from Microsoft that people do have multiple machines and expect to not buy a copy per machine, and expect their license to work on multiple computers as mine does.

Statistics are no substitute for judgement. -- Henry Clay