Microsoft Office 2013 license limits one install per computer

microsoft_office_2013

Microsoft isn’t making it easy to upgrade to Office 2013. Even if you’ve figured out what programs you really need in your Office suite and what your budget will tolerate (see this chart that shows the different Office options), you now have to consider how many machines you’ll want running the latest version of Office.

It seems Microsoft quietly changed the licensing terms in its Office 2013 productivity suite so that you can no longer install the software on more than one device – ever.

Adam Turner from Australia’s The Age newspaper first reported on the changes in the Office 2013 End User Licensing Agreement, chronicling all the conflicting information he received from various Microsoft technical support and public relations staff about the updated language and found that retail copies of Office 2013 are now single-license. This means you can only install it on one computer – similar to the way operating systems come pre-loaded on devices but exclude backup media.

What does this mean for consumers? We spoke to Darren Shield, an attorney at the New York boutique intellectual property firm Zussman Law PLLC, to better understand the licensing terms in plain English. “The license agreement does limit license holders to a single installation on a single device,” Shield said.”Given the fallibility of hardware and the upgrade-ability of PCs, it is unfortunate that the new Office version limits users to such a degree.”

In other words, for someone who’s buying a brand new Windows 8 or Mac OS computer and just needs to install Office 2013, you can absolutely buy a single-PC copy of the software (Office Home & Student, Office Home & Business, or Office Professional 2013) and install it onto that specific machine. Simple, right?

Where it gets dicey is when you need to re-install the software that you have already legally purchased. Perhaps you recently upgraded or repaired your computer; for example, because your hard drive was infected with a virus and you need to re-install everything, including your operating system and software like Office. It happens. The updated licensing terms does not make it clear whether it allows you to re-install your copy of Office 2013. After all, your copy of the software’s activation code is already linked to a computer, but one with new parts or a freshly re-installed operating system may not count. Some users on Reddit have reported that they were able to call Microsoft’s technical support staff to get their install code re-activated. Of course, it depends on who you speak to on the phone.

If you need the flexibility to run Office on multiple computers at home, then the $99-a-year subscription-based Office 365 seems like a great deal because you can install the software on up to to 5 PCs or 4 Macs. Considering that each single-license copy of Office 2013 starts at $140 for the Office Home & Student edition, you’ll be spending $700 for the office suite for all those PCs, compared to just $100 for an entire year’s subscription to Office 365.

The question is: How long do you need to keep giving your money to Microsoft so that you can continue to use office tools you’ve already paid for? According to ZDNet, if you’ve subscribed to Office 365 for at least one year, you will have an opportunity to download your files so you can at least open or print them from your computer. But you won’t be able to edit your documents unless you use an older edition of Office, use one of the free Office Web Apps on SkyDrive for basic editing, or just re-subscribe to Office 365. Microsoft basically wants to make it as unpalatable as possible for you to let your Office 365 subscription slide, so going for the subscription-based software could end up costing you more hassle.

It seems the harder Microsoft tries to encourage consumers toward the Office 365 route, the more reasons they’re giving users to stick with their out-dated version of Office or move on to free alternatives like Google Docs and LibreOffice 4. Are you planning to upgrade to Office 2013 or 365? Let us know in the comments!

Available at Microsoft Store

Computing

Microsoft’s Windows 95 throwback was just an ugly sweater giveaway

Microsoft's "softwear" announcement wasn't what we had hoped for. Thursday's announcement was not the new line of wearable tech or SkiFree monster sweater we wished for. But it did deliver the 90s nostalgia we wanted.
Gaming

Want to share your Xbox One games? Here's how to do it

Sharing games on modern consoles is possible, but it takes a few steps. Here's how to start sharing games on your Xbox One console, so friends and family can easily access your library.
Gaming

Where we droppin’ (presents)? Perfect ‘Fortnite’ gifts for the fans in your life

Chances are someone on your holiday shopping list is a fan of Fortnite. As the most popular game on the planet, there are plenty of Fortnite-themed gift options available for purchase in stores and online. Here are the best ones we found.
Computing

Heal your wrist aches and pains with one of these top ergonomic mice

If you have a growing ache in your wrist, it might be worth considering changing up your mouse for something ergonomic. But which is the best ergonomic mouse for you? One of these could be the ticket to the right purchase for you.
Deals

Check out the best Xbox One deals and bundles for December 2018

Microsoft's consoles are just as capable of streaming movies as they are of playing the latest games. Check out our top Xbox One deals and bundles, which include new and upcoming triple-A games like Battlefield V and Fallout 76.
Home Theater

Confused about LED vs. LCD TVs? Here's everything you need to know

Our LED vs. LCD TV buying guide explains why these two common types of displays are fundamentally connected, how they differ, what to look for in buying an LED TV, and what's on the horizon for TVs.
Computing

Canada’s winters inspired a startup to warm homes with cryptomining heat waste

Cryptomining may be the key to untold riches and the future of currency, but it’s also an environmental nightmare. Heatmine, thinks it has the answer, but it could mean bolting a mining rig onto every home and business in the country.
Deals

The best MacBook deals for December 2018

If you’re in the market for a new Apple laptop, let us make your work a little easier: We hunted down the best up-to-date MacBook deals available online right now from various retailers.
Computing

How to connect AirPods to your MacBook

If you have new AirPods, you may be looking forward to pairing them with your MacBook. Our guide will show you exactly how to connect AirPods to MacBook, what to do if they are already paired with a device, and more.
Computing

Hitting ‘Check for updates’ in Windows 10 opts you into beta releases

Users who are careful about keeping their system updated should watch out -- Microsoft revealed this week that clicking the Check for updates button in Windows can opt you in to testing beta code.
Product Review

The Asus ZenBook 14 is a tiny notebook that gets lost in the crowd

The ZenBook 14 aims to be the smallest 14-inch notebook around, and it succeeds thanks to some tiny bezels. Performance and battery life are good, but the notebook lacks a standout feature other than size.
Computing

Secure your Excel documents with a password by following these quick steps

Excel documents are used by people and businesses all over the world. Given how often they contain sensitive information, it makes sense to keep them from the wrong eyes. Thankfully, it's easy to secure them with a password.
Computing

Which Macs are compatible with MacOS Mojave?

Is your computer ready for Apple's big Mojave update? Here's what you need to know about MacOS Mojave compatibility, what Macs can successful download Mojave, and the requirements you need to know about.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Booze-filled ski poles and crypto piggy banks

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!