The nub of the situation is that whilst with earlier versions of Office (e.g. Office 2003, Office 2007 and Office 2010) it was possible to transfer your licence from one computer to another; with Office 2013, if you buy a licence for Office 2013 and install it on a computer, that’s it. You can’t transfer it to another computer. So if, for example, after a couple of years, you upgrade your computer to a newer model, you can’t move your Office 2013 licence across. You have to purchase a completely new licence, which is in turn locked to your new computer.
I see that Jevon Fark, in Microsoft’s Office Team, has attempted to clarify the licensing situation. However, he singularly fails to make the proper comparison between the earlier so-called Full Package Product versions of Office 2003, 2007 and 2010 (i.e. Office products that were supplied with actual DVDs) and the current situation with Office 2013, where it is no longer possible to purchase the software. Instead, all you get is a product key, and if you download the software to a computer and activate it using the key – that’s it – it is locked to that particular computer.
So, is Fark’s blog post disingenuous, contemptible, or both?
In my opinion, it’s both.
I will neither purchase Office 2013 licences, nor subscribe (at five times the cost of my current Office licences). Instead I will continue to use my (transferable) Office 2010 licences for the foreseeable future. And if in the future I require to replace my Office 2010 product, then I will seriously consider alternatives before I look again at what Microsoft has to offer.
Update 6 March 2013: Well, it appears as though Microsoft has had second thoughts. Mr. Fark has now posted that it is possible to transfer licences between computers. Good to see that common sense can prevail after all. Thank you to all those who protested that Microsoft were doing the wrong thing with the original licence conditions.