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

Product Review

Still waiting for a new Mac Pro? Corsair’s mini PC has all the power you'll need

With a modern 12-core Intel Core i9-9920X processor, Nvidia’s RTX 2080 Ti graphics, and 32GB of RAM, the Corsair One Pro is designed to woo creatives who demand more power from Apple’s Mac Pro. Like the Mac Pro, the best part of this PC…
Mobile

Want to watch Netflix in bed or browse the web? We have a tablet for everyone

There’s so much choice when shopping for a new tablet that it can be hard to pick the right one. From iPads to Android, these are our picks for the best tablets you can buy right now whatever your budget.
Home Theater

The best MP3 players of 2019 cram tons of music into a small package

Want to go for a run, but your phone is weighing you down? Don't sweat it. Can't fit your whole music library on your smartphone? No worries. Check out our list of the best MP3 players, and find one that works for you.
Mobile

The 15 most stylish iPhone docks and charging stands for your device

The right iPhone dock does more than just hold your phone. If you’re looking for the perfect dock for your bedroom, or one to sit discretely on your office desk, there’s a good chance you’ll find it here.
Computing

Tablet or notebook? Our favorite 2-in-1 PCs give you the best of both worlds

If you can’t decide if you need a tablet or a notebook, then don’t bother. The best 2-in-1 laptops are both, and they can provide all the power you need. Check out our list for the best 2-in-1s for any user.
Computing

Amal and George Clooney want to change the world. Can Microsoft help?

Microsoft and The Clooney Foundation for Justice (CFJ) unveiled the TrialWatch app Thursday morning, a new tool in CFJ’s ongoing TrialWatch effort to shine a light on injustice in courts around the globe – which too often are simply…
Photography

Luminar Accent A.I. can now recognize faces for more natural instant edits

Want to edit faster? Skylum Luminar's latest update enhances the Accent A.I. to use machine learning for instant enhancements. The tool now recognizes faces for more natural skin tones along with other enhancements.
Computing

These are the best 13-inch laptops you can buy right now

With so much choice out there, how do you know which are the best 13-inch laptops? They should have beautiful screens, long battery life, and remain light and portable. This is a list of our favorites.
Computing

These gaming monitors will transport you to another dimension

What are the best gaming monitors you can buy right now? We select five that are all priced under $900 packing premium technologies like G-SYNC and FreeSync, high resolutions, and fast refresh rates.
Computing

Intel’s 10nm desktop dreams may be dead — new road map pushes them beyond 2022

Intel may never release a competitive 10nm CPU on desktop if a new roadmap is to be believed. It suggests that Intel will rely on its 14nm process to at least 2022 and perhaps even beyond.
Computing

Turn your desk into a command center with the best ultrawide monitors

Top of the line ultrawide monitors have the deepest curves, the sharpest colors, and the biggest screens on the market. You’re going to want one, sooner or later. So why not sooner? These are the best ultrawide monitors you can buy now.
Computing

Corsair’s Ironclaw, Glaive gaming mice are tuned for performance and comfort

Corsair is adding wireless capabilities to its Ironclaw gaming mouse this year, while the Glaive RGB Pro has been updated for maximum comfort with thoughtful ergonomics. Both mice feature accurate tracking and durable buttons.
Computing

These cheap laptops will make you wonder why anyone spends more

Looking for a budget notebook for school, work, or play? The best budget laptops, including our top pick -- the Asus ZenBook UX331UA -- will get the job done without digging too deeply into your pockets.
Photography

Illustrator teases tool to recolor an entire graphic in a few clicks

Not a fan of the colors in your graphic, but dreading the process of replacing each and every one? Adobe Illustrator could soon have a new tool that recolors an entire vector graphic at once, using the color palette from a photograph.