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Bowing to public pressure, Microsoft has changed its licencing policies for the new version of Microsoft Office.

The biggest change is that Office 2013 licences can be transferred to a new computer – the original licencing arrangement meant the licence was restricted to a single machine. This meant, in theory, that you couldn’t move your version of Office to a replacement computer if you upgraded, a condition that rightly outraged the blogosphere.

Microsoft didn’t formally announce the change, probably not wishing to draw attention to its original policy. It was disclosed in a blog posting by the unfortunately named Jevon Fark, “from the Office Team”.

Fark wrote: “Based on customer feedback we have changed the Office 2013 retail license agreement to allow customers to transfer the software from one computer to another. This means customers can transfer Office 2013 to a different computer if their device fails or they get a new one. Previously, customers could only transfer their Office 2013 software to a new device if their PC failed under warranty.

“While the license agreement accompanying Office 2013 software will be updated in a future release, this change is effective immediately and applies to Office Home and Student 2013, Office Home and Business 2013, Office Professional 2013 and the standalone Office 2013 applications. These transferability options are equivalent to those found in the Office 2010 retail license terms.”

Fark assured us that “at Microsoft, we strive to make Office the very best product to help busy people and families get things done. A key ingredient in our formula for success is listening to our customers, and we're grateful for the feedback behind this change in Office licencing. Thank you.” Well, that’s good to know. No more jokes about Microsoft telling us to get Farked, please.

This might be stating the bleedin’ obvious, but why was this stupid condition ever put there in the first place?

Office 13 is the newest version of Microsoft’s widely used user productivity suite, which foe two decades has been the industry standard and which is a cash cow for the company. Microsoft has now also released Office 365, an online version that allows a single subscription to be run on five different machines.


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Graeme Philipson

Graeme Philipson is senior associate editor at iTWire and editor of sister publication CommsWire. He is also founder and Research Director of Connection Research, a market research and analysis firm specialising in the convergence of sustainable, digital and environmental technologies. He has been in the high tech industry for more than 30 years, most of that time as a market researcher, analyst and journalist. He was founding editor of MIS magazine, and is a former editor of Computerworld Australia. He was a research director for Gartner Asia Pacific and research manager for the Yankee Group Australia. He was a long time IT columnist in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, and is a recipient of the Kester Award for lifetime achievement in IT journalism.