Microsoft reverses its Office 2013 license transfer rule

Microsoft drops one of the absurd bait-and-switch 'features' of Office 2013 licensing

Microsoft has had a change of heart about its controversial transferability rule for Office 2013 applications. A new post on the Office blog says that henceforth your Office 2013 license won't die with your machine. If you buy Office 2013 and install it on a PC, then later decide to upgrade the PC (or have to replace the old one because of an unexpected trip over Niagara Falls), you can take the old license and transfer it to the new machine.

Three weeks ago I screamed bloody murder -- using terms like "draconian" and "obtuse" -- about the way Microsoft mangled its Office 2013 licensing. It was inconceivable to me that you can buy Office 2010 today, get a "free" upgrade to Office 2013, and lose the ability to move your Office license if you decide to change machines. With Office 2010 it's trivial. Until today, with Office 2013 it was impossible.

Now it seems Microsoft has listened to someone (perhaps a pod of lawyers confronting an avalanche of threatened lawsuits?) who's knocked some sense into the upper echelon's crania. Here's what Microsoft consumer marketing guy Jevon Fark now says:

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.

That, of course, is precisely the way it should've been from the beginning. Now if Microsoft would only allow Office 2013 upgraders the same multi-PC licensing options they had with Office 2010. (If you get a "free" upgrade to Office 2013, you will soon discover that whereas your copy of Office 2010 could generally be installed on two or three machines, your new Office 2013 can only be installed on one.)

The Office blog ends with this nifty note:

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 licensing. Thank you.

Ah yes, I'm sure that's exactly what happened. You're welcome, Microsoft.

This story, "Microsoft reverses its Office 2013 license transfer rule," was originally published at Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow on Twitter.

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