Changes are a given. In software, they happen quite often. And for Microsoft, they happen without so much as a whisper.
Microsoft released Office 2013 this past January, and with it, major changes in the licensing agreement. However, they didn’t mention anything at the time about the changes. Not until Valentine’s day.
Microsoft confirmed to ComputerWorld in an email exchange that Office 2013’s end user license agreement, or EULA, specifies that by installing Office 2013 on a specific PC, the software license is tied to that particular PC. Effectively, if you replace your PC, you must also purchase a new copy of Office 2013.
For reference, the previous Office version, 2010, allowed a user who purchased a single license retail copy to install Office on a PC, and then re-install it on a new PC that replaces the old PC.
Obviously, for an individual who may be replacing their computer in the near future, this can prove to be a costly change. However, this is an option from Microsoft to help avoid such a wallet rummaging headache.
Microsoft has been selling Office 365 since mid-2011. 365 is a subscription based service that allows a user to have access to the Office programs from multiple systems (up to 5 with Home Premium). Instead of paying upfront for a single license, 365 charges either a per year fee or a per month fee and can be used on any combination of PC’s and Mac systems. Also, should you replace a system, simply deactivate the license on that computer and you can put Office on a new one.
The changes in the EULA, plus the fact that you have to dig through multiple pages on Office.com to find details on Office 2013, show that Microsoft is pushing consumers more towards subscription based cloud services over conventional retail products.
So, you may be wondering what option is best for you. And just like the answer to most questions of this nature, simply put, it depends on you. Individuals with a single PC in their home or business will likely never see the need to have 5 or more computers licensed for Office 365 and would be fine with a retail copy of 2013, even if they replace the PC within a year or so.
Multiple PC households and small to medium sized businesses will likely find the subscriptions both cost effective and more efficient, with the ability to share and collaborate on documents, plus the inclusion of Office products such as Access and Publisher.
If you’re thinking of making the switch to the latest version of Office, give us a quick call or Contact Us and we’ll help you figure out what option is best for you.