Office 2013 EULA says the software is bound to one PC forever

By on February 13, 2013, 3:00 PM

Although you can usually click through most software license agreements with little consequence, you should probably skim Microsoft's terms before spending $140 to $400 on a retail copy of Office 2013 as two key parts have changed from previous versions of the suite.

If you purchased a retail edition of Office 2010, the end-user license agreement (EULA) permits you to install the software on up to two devices at once (a desktop and a laptop) and if you retire one or both of those systems, your license is transferable to new machines.

Neither of those permissions exist with Office 2013. Microsoft's updated EULA only lets you install the boxed editions on one computer, and only that computer -- forever. If we understand the terms right (and they seem pretty clear), you aren't allowed to transfer your license:

"Can I transfer the software to another computer or user? You may not transfer the software to another computer or user. You may transfer the software directly to a third party only as installed on the licensed computer, with the Certificate of Authenticity label and this agreement. Before the transfer, that party must agree that this agreement applies to the transfer and use of the software. You may not retain any copies."

We're not sure how "new" this news is, but it definitely hasn't gotten the exposure it deserves and many TechSpot staffers were surprised to learn about it. The updated EULA essentially demotes retail builds to OEM status, which seems comically restrictive given the price of Office -- especially the Professional edition. Are you really supposed to spend another $400 on a new copy if, say, your computer croaks?

The quoted EULA text above sure seems to suggest so, but Adam Turner of The Age set out to get a concrete statement straight from Microsoft. After various frustrating encounters with the company's PR and tech support departments -- the latter of which was totally clueless about the new terms -- Turner received a candid response: "No, the customer cannot transfer the license from one PC to another PC."

It remains unclear how or if this policy is enforced, though Turner suggests that it may be accomplished through your Microsoft cloud account. It's also unclear how Office 2013 determines what counts as a new computer. Would your license be toast after a RAM upgrade? Turner says he's still waiting on answers to these questions, but it took several days of contacting Microsoft to get the comment above.




User Comments: 39

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Win7Dev said:

What if you are constantly replacing parts in your desktop? What makes it a new computer? What if I replace my motherboard and processor but nothing else?

GeforcerFX GeforcerFX said:

This is what I was trained to tell customers when they asked, it was stuck to that computer forever, that's what Microsoft put in there training. But they also highlighted how office 365 can move from computer to computer without any problem, your just limited to 5 systems at once. If you need office pro on multiple computers then 365 home premium is actually perfect for you, you would be getting 4 years of subscriptions for the same price as the once PC disk, on 5 computers. If you need more they have 365 professional, but its not sold in stores, and on some of them you pay per computer per year (like $20-40 for the year for one PC), I think if M$ was smart they would make another lower end of office 365 with just word, excel, and powerpoint for 2-3 computers for 1 year for like $40-50.

2 people like this | Alvaro Alvaro said:

Open Office.

1 person liked this | theSon said:

Taking away our freedoms yet again. These money-sucking corporations will keep tightening their leash on us to make more and more money. Profits at the expense of freedom. Anything to make an extra buck. Immoral, psychotic corporations. Way to promote piracy of your software. If your hard drive croaks and you have to install a fresh version of windows on a freshly formatted drive, I bet you wouldn't be able to. Microsoft's profit from their monopoly that is the PC operating system isn't enough for them. Apple is no different forcing you to use Itunes and limiting functionality of their devices (I.e. inability to use iphones as usb data sticks by default). And lets not forget all those carriers that lock your phone and put you into this extemely highly priced contracts by seducing you with a low initial cost of the phone. And of course, Rogers and Bell in canada limit your internet usage and keep raising their prices every year. Putting leashes on us as I said.

What happened to the days with unlimited internet.

The day where you could install office as many times as you like.

Why are we paying the highest cell phone and internet rates in the world

Answer:

Deluded pyschotic money-hungry at the expense of morality and humanity corporations.

To hell with these evil bastards

3 people like this | theSon said:

I'd say keep using your version of Office 2010. Don't upgrade for 10-20 years or until the new office has significant upgrades for you to dish out over a $100.

Many people still use office 2003 because they hate the new GUI>

4 people like this | Railman said:

This and Windows 8 has led me to Linux. My next PC will be MS free.

Guest said:

I agree with Railman.

1 person liked this | BlueDrake said:

And of course, Rogers and Bell in canada limit your internet usage and keep raising their prices every year. Putting leashes on us as I said.

What happened to the days with unlimited internet.

You either have a really old package.. or with Bell (just recently..) pay an extra $30 for unlimited on any package. I'm not sure if that's available everywhere, but it was added as a new option now. I'm still sitting on an older DSL package though.

I know all about raised prices.. my bill goes up about $10-12 a year since it's no contract. Been on the package since 2006, would be longer but I tried elsewhere before their unlimited was cut.

On topic anyways. The whole leash to one PC? I'd never use this software, if they expect it I'll go find alternatives. There's no way I'd pay so costly an amount, just so they can have a hold on some software.

MrBungle said:

What if you are constantly replacing parts in your desktop? What makes it a new computer? What if I replace my motherboard and processor but nothing else?

As far as I know with Microsoft "your computer" = motherboard.

Thats how it is with OEM copies of Windows anyway.

2 people like this | MrBungle said:

Taking away our freedoms yet again. These money-sucking corporations will keep tightening their leash on us to make more and more money. Profits at the expense of freedom. Anything to make an extra buck. Immoral, psychotic corporations. Way to promote piracy of your software.

Its a stupid policy, I'll agree with you there, but as for it taking away your freedom I disagree, vote with your wallet and don't buy it. Also, regardless of whatever marketing/public relations BS they spew all over businesses large and small do not exist to produce products, offer services, or to even to provide jobs for their employees... They exist to make money for their investors.

If your hard drive croaks and you have to install a fresh version of windows on a freshly formatted drive, I bet you wouldn't be able to. Microsoft's profit from their monopoly that is the PC operating system isn't enough for them...

What happened to the days with unlimited internet.

The day where you could install office as many times as you like.

Why are we paying the highest cell phone and internet rates in the world

Answer:

Deluded pyschotic money-hungry at the expense of morality and humanity corporations.

To hell with these evil bastards

What happened is that they realized they could change their pricing scheme and make more money... again, they exist to make money not give you free stuff.

That said, this type of behavior is leading to a market where the consumers begin to distrust the major players like Microsoft and Apple, if they keep it up, someone else will offer a more open platform and end up being the new standard. MS became what they are because they started out building an open platform that anyone could write programs for and offered a relatively stable ecosystem you could invest in. If they push too far in their current direction and enterprise customers start abandoning them because their licensing is ridiculous they are in serious trouble. Personally I'd ike to see this Office 2013/Windows 8 fiasco push enough enterprise customers to Red Hat or one of the other Linux based alternatives that it scares Microsoft into being half way reasonable again.

Duckula22 Duckula22 said:

F that, I'm installing it on all my 'puters with 1 license.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I was ambitiously awaiting the release of Windows 7 and Office 2010. I'm not sure what happened, but thats where my ambition stopped.

With the direction Microsoft is going, I'm probably finished with Microsoft. As long as my machines continue to run and I can still purchase Windows 7 or Office 2010, I will continue to be happy. I don't know where I'm going yet, but I'm sure there is a less expensive option available, that I would be more than happy with. At the moment, I'm keeping my eye on Steam gaming support in Linux. For the first time ever, I am considering a Linux option. I already know that for myself, migrating to Open Office will not be a big heartbreak.

Guest said:

For anyone interested in Microsoft Office 2013 and NOT interested in burning down Microsoft headquarters with everyone who works there inside, fret not.

Go to office.microsoft.com and login with the Microsoft Account you used to purchase Office 2013. Go to the My Office tab. And you will see which machines on which you have installed Office 2013. You will also see a "Deactivate" link in blue so that you can deactivate that installation and install it on a different machine.

Guest said:

Actually, you click the little downward arrow next to you your name in the upper-right hand corner of the browser and click My Account. My bad.

1 person liked this | Duckula22 Duckula22 said:

Nobody should have to do that though. Annoying the crap out of legit users, because other won't pay for software. Seriously, even having legit copies of MS software I still prefer to patch activation 'cause I find it f'n annoying.

Duckula22 Duckula22 said:

And yes, I don't care about the 1 PC = 1 license thing, I still install the same software on all my machines with only one license, because it all happens at home, and I'm hurting nobody by doing so.

1 person liked this | Butch said:

This, if accurate, is very disappointing. Reducing the "retail" version of Office to OEM status is not acceptable. MS is really forcing everyone to Office365 obviously. Oh well, looks like my Office 2003 is going to have to limp along for awhile longer....

HellcatM said:

Here is what I would like to see. You pick what you want to use and you just pay for that. I would only use Word so I would just click on Word and pay whatever the price of Word would be. If my girlfriend uses Word and Outlook and Power Point, we pay for the use of all three. The price of Office 365 can stay the same $40-50 a year.

Moderator note: fixed.

2 people like this | cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Here is what I would like to see. You pick what you want to use and you just pay for that. I would only use Word so I would just click on Word and pay whatever the price of Word would be. If my girlfriend uses Word and Outlook and Power Point, we pay for the use of all three. The price of Office 365 can stay the same $40-50 a year.

Why don't you quit quoting everyone on the forum. If you have something to say, just say it. There is no need in quoting 50 people.

hahahanoobs hahahanoobs said:

What if you are constantly replacing parts in your desktop? What makes it a new computer? What if I replace my motherboard and processor but nothing else?

Read the last paragraph again.

tipstir tipstir, TS Ambassador, said:

MS has to protect their investment.

free4rm said:

Open Office.

I'm with you, I uninstalled MS office from my desktops and laptops then installed Open Office. I only use MS office at work but have the convenience of Open Office with the file formats.

Railman said:

Office 365 seems to be the most cost effective option, but I would not trust M$ to keep the subscription rates at the same rate. Once they have locked in a critical mass of customers they will substantially increase the annual rates.

MrBungle said:

At home so long as Office 2003 keeps working I'm going to stick with that... All I ever do is occasionally use word for a spell checker or to update my resume and once or twice a year add to a spread sheet of things I intend to deduct from my taxes... When Office '03 becomes too old and won't install anymore I think I'll move to open office.

Timonius Timonius said:

I'll stick with my LibreOffice (which is a fork of OpenOffice when they got purchased a couple years back).

Either way the open source software is the way to go - especially for the casual home user. As for having something compatible with what is used at work? No sweat - for the most part it all works quite well.

misor misor said:

I just bought a 3-pc license mso 2010 home and student; qualified to download/install 1-pc license mso 2013 home and student.

my previous 3-pc license mso 2007 home and student is semi-retired (all installed in 2 old laptops and 1 old desktop)

Duckula22 Duckula22 said:

I'm with you, I uninstalled MS office from my desktops and laptops then installed Open Office. I only use MS office at work but have the convenience of Open Office with the file formats.

I like LibreOffice, the concept, but I find MS Office 2010 more enjoyable to use, it's more responsive, and somrething very important to me... the grammar and orthography for both EN and SP are superb, compared to those available to LibreOffice, or OpenOffice. It seems to me that LO and OO are pretty much the same thing.

ypsylon said:

Forgive me but as a LO user I can say nothing more than:

Hahahahahaha! GTFO M$.

Duckula22 Duckula22 said:

I read somewhere that LO's version 4 is out, and that it came with a bunch of improvements and new features, I'll take a look and see if the grammar and spell checkers are any better than what was available a few months back.

gooderguy gooderguy said:

It's very clear to me they simply want to push people to the 365 version where you have to pay every year, I mean, how many more features can they cram in there to try to convince people to buy a newer version every couple years

MrBungle said:

I'll stick with my LibreOffice (which is a fork of OpenOffice when they got purchased a couple years back).

Either way the open source software is the way to go - especially for the casual home user. As for having something compatible with what is used at work? No sweat - for the most part it all works quite well.

At home sure, I can understand why businesses continue to favor office though... If you need to create macros or build spread sheets that pull data directly from databases or custom design something in access you really need to have all the VBA (visual basic for applications) stuff running under the hood.

Guest said:

It does not matter.. same as the OEM EULA does not much to M$'s dismay. It holds no legal weight due to 1st sale doctrine.. and ANY winbloze license can easily be transferred LEGALLY to another system despite M$'s tantrums. This has been proven in court as well.

However this is once again a typical slime ball move by M$... and one more reason why Open Office is FTW.

HelplessKitten said:

Just install OpenOffice, LIbreOffice, or whatever freeware you prefer and enjoy the freedom :)

ChadL ChadL said:

What if you are constantly replacing parts in your desktop? What makes it a new computer? What if I replace my motherboard and processor but nothing else?

I replaced my mobo and cpu and I had to reactivate Win8, didn't have to do that with Win7. So you may just have reactivate Office again, its just an automated phone call. But really MS should use plain language in its ULAs and spell out what you can and can't do with the software.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

But really MS should use plain language in its ULAs and spell out what you can and can't do with the software.
Until they do, I'm not gonna worry with the fine print as long as I can activate.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Why don't you quit quoting everyone on the forum. If you have something to say, just say it. There is no need in quoting 50 people.
Dude, just report it, don't try to reason with it. You either get an electric shock, or the corn kernels. In this way, learning forum etiquette by trial and error, can be made to mimic other types of standard teaching methods..

Moving on...

....[ ].....I think if M$ was smart they would make another lower end of office 365 with just word, excel, and powerpoint for 2-3 computers for 1 year for like $40-50.
For those of us who got here late, M$ used to make "Office Lite". They called it, "Microsoft Works". It had a word processor, a calender, a lightweight graphics app, and more. It cost maybe 30 bucks as a standalone, and came as "value added software" on many OEM computers.

In fact, it worked so well, and fulfilled so many people's needs, that M$ discontinued it. I think they're trying to force you to buy office. And now, they're trying to force you to buy it for every machine. Next stop likely will be"the cloud", and by subscription only.

So, don't let your "good idea" fly too far from the nest, and whatever you do, don't put it on a resume you intend to hand in to M$......:eek:

Guest said:

Oh yes indeed. OpenOffice for Windows, or the more recent version, LibreOffice for Windows. FREE forever, folks. Why would anyone give Bill Gates any more money?

Scavengers Scavengers said:

Apache is awesome.

Dave

tekman42 said:

I just moved my 500Gb Seagate HDD from a Dell Vostro 1520 I purchased from Dell Outlet 4 years ago, to a Used Dell Latitude E8400 I purchased off Ebay.

I have Windows 8 Pro W/MediaCenter installed along with a new 2013 Office Pro installed.

Once the updating finished at the I/O level, I immediately received a request to reactivate Windows by calling and entering all those numbers and then receiving a complete new set of numbers and POW, I was reactivated.

Then I attempted to open up Word 2013, and a box popped up requesting that I reactivate office 2013, and I clicked accept and it immediately:

REACTIVATED without so much as a whimper...and so this tethering to ONLY one machine isn't ALL true!

I don't know if Office 2013 reactivated without a hitch because I moved the O/S and Hdd to the new/Used E6400 machine and because Windows 8 Pro successful reactivated so therefore Office didn't protest or if their saying it was Tethered to a single machine is just the Company Line being adhered to or what.

Anyhow, it was a 0-Problem reactivation for my Office 2013 Pro that I own but I'm glad the usual procedure of beating your head against the wall for 3 hours of hold, then told no can do, but then shuffled for another hour from ***** to *****...ohh...I meant from tech to tech.

So maybe others have had a similar experience but All I can vouch for is my experience and I'm still scratching my head as to how "easy" it was!

Good luck to the rest of you folks out there, and hope...hope...hope!

Respectfully,

BKetcham

Guest said:

Unfortunately for Microsoft this is now illegal as I understand it under EU law where if you have a perpetual license you are free to sell it, and therefore move it to another machine!

Wonder if Microsoft is really wanting to break the EU Law and possibly have another large fine?

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