Microsoft Nudges Office Users Toward The Cloud
February 15, 2013

Microsoft Gives Office Users A Gentle Nudge Into The Cloud

Michael Harper for — Your Universe Online

The Office suite has long been Microsoft´s bread and butter, selling the software suite to businesses large and small as well as normal, workaday consumers. In recent months, the Windows maker has been giving their customers a choice between Office 2013, the latest update to their familiar package, and Office 365, a subscription-based bundle of software with an eye towards the cloud and collaboration.

Now Microsoft has given those undecided customers one more reason to make the move to the cloud: Office 2013 will work on one and only one PC.

According to Paul Thurrott´s Supersite for Windows, Microsoft has done this “to nudge customers to subscription offerings like Office 365 Home Premium.”

The proof is in the fine print of Office 2013´s license agreement. According to The Age, previous versions of Office like Office 2010 have included specific restrictions for retail and OEM customers. The retail license agreement, for instance, claims that users may install other copies of the software on other devices, so long as it is the primary user who is using the software. By contrast, the OEM license restricts this usage, forever linking each copy of the software to a single device.

Office 2013´s license agreement now uses the old OEM restrictions for retail copies of the software, calling it a “non transferable license” or a “perpetual license.” The new agreement reads: “You may not transfer the software to another computer or user.”

Adam Turner of The Age went searching for some clarification on this issue and was told by Microsoft: "Each retail copy of Office 2013 carries a one-device license. Once users install the software on a single PC, it can only ever be used on that one device."

In the past, users could install a second copy on a portable device such as a laptop in order to take their software with them on-the-go. The new license agreement prohibits this.

In a second statement from their PR team, Microsoft further refined their definition of “perpetual license,” saying: "A perpetual license of Office 2013 can only be installed on one personal computer. This means that the customer can only install it on one device, either a desktop or laptop, but not both. If the customer has a system crash, they are allowed to reinstall Office on that same computer. If there are problems with this process, customers can contact Microsoft technical support.”

This means that if a customer buys a new PC, they´ll have to buy a completely new copy of Office 2013. But of course, customers could avoid this entire issue by simply opting for the new Office 365, a choice that Microsoft apparently wants everyone to make.

For $99.99 a year, non-corporate customers can buy a copy of Office 365 Home Premium, which includes access to Word, Excel, Powerpoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher and Access. Unlike the traditional version, Office 365 users can install this software on up to 5 devices, from desktops and laptops to tablets. To further sweeten the deal, Microsoft is also adding 20 GB of storage in their cloud-based storage system, SkyDrive. Office 365 customers also receive a modest 60 free minutes to use for Skype calls.