Microsoft Makes Retail Versions Of Office Single Install

from the pushing-customers-away dept

Microsoft, long-standing hater of piracy, appears to have decided to step up their targeting system to place their own customers directly in their crosshairs. Your immediate reaction may be to blast the previous sentence as hyperbole, but you would be wrong to do so. Nothing else can explain what they are doing with their Microsoft Office 2013 retail software, which is to make it a single install license that is forever tied to one machine.
With the launch of Office 2013 Microsoft has seen fit to upgrade the terms of the license agreement, and it's not in favor of the end user. It seems installing a copy of the latest version of Microsoft's Office suite of apps ties it to a single machine. For life.

What does that mean in real terms? It means if your machine dies or you upgrade to a new computer you cannot take a copy of Office 2013 with you to new hardware. You will need to purchase another copy, which again will be tied to the machine it is installed upon forever.
For those of you who might not know, this is a completely new way of handling retail versions of Microsoft Office. Previous iterations still limited installs to a single user, but you had the ability to put the software on multiple machines. The reason that's necessary should be obvious, in how common it is for users within homes and offices to switch to new computers over a 3 or 4 year timespan. Most companies have a rotation process that could be murdered by this, assuming all of their users don't need the same version of Office (there are 3 different flavors), not to mention what happens when the PC you've had for two years does the system board dance of death, forcing you to replace it. In either scenario, retail buyers get to buy a whole new boxed product of Office, which costs anywhere between $100 and $400, again depending on the version. All of this, by the way, has been confirmed by Adam Turner of The Age.

Now, I realize not everyone works for a reseller like I do, so let me explain why this will universally piss everyone off and drive customers away from Microsoft Office entirely. We already mentioned the problems for the user above. In addition, while most sizeable companies traditionally have gone the Open Licensing route (which doesn't have install restrictions), small businesses often don't. Those small businesses number in the too-many-to-accurately-assess-ions, which means that instead of moving towards licensing or Office 365 (the likely goal of Microsoft) many customers may begin to explore alternatives, such as Google Docs, Open Office, and Libre Office. Not only would that cut into Microsoft's market share, but it could open a lot of eyes to those alternatives universally, which may then represent a threat to Microsoft's enterprise customers. I wouldn't suggest that most or even many larger companies would switch to one of the other suites, but market share certainly matters.

So, way to go Microsoft. You've made one of your most popular products more expensive and less useful at the same time, all because you want to push customers to Office 365. Which, were it compelling on its own merits, customers would be doing anyway.


Reader Comments (rss)

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    GMacGuffin (profile), Feb 14th, 2013 @ 1:41pm

    Silver lining?...

    Maybe this is good news, in that it might ultimately educate the "public" that Microsoft Office sucks so very very very much in so many many many ways.

     

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      ltlw0lf (profile), Feb 14th, 2013 @ 2:21pm

      Re: Silver lining?...

      Maybe this is good news, in that it might ultimately educate the "public" that Microsoft Office sucks so very very very much in so many many many ways

      Good thing I haven't been running Windoze in a couple years (except, unfortunately as a virtual machine at work, but they paid for it.) I still have a couple virtual XP machines for the games that won't run under Wine, but that is becoming much less of an issue since most of the GoG games have Wine profiles. I'd fix this to say Microsoft sucks so very very much in so many many many ways. When I was running Windows, it seemed like I was always running into trouble with activation...I'd replace a couple parts and the OS would have me call Microsoft for a code to activate the system, even though it was running on the same processor. The tech support guys from India would usually chastise me about running it on another machine, but they'd usually give me the code. After switching to virtualization, never had a problem with activation again even when it was running on different hardware.

      I actually had a coworker looking into buying a Mint Box because he wants to move away from Windows. This is a die-hard MCSE.

      It is nice to see that Microsoft is continuing their drug dealer model...the first hit is free, but then you'll pay more and more for it each time.

       

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        TheLastCzarnian (profile), Feb 14th, 2013 @ 10:03pm

        Re: Re: Silver lining?...

        I just had the misfortune of running Visual Studio 2012 for the first time. I know why your coworker is buying a Mint box.
        I've been moving away from Windows for 3 years now, and I've been a diehard Microsoft fan since DOS 3.2.
        Let's face it: their products are atrocious. First they shove the ribbon down everyone's throat, alienating their expert user-base. Then they change their desktop, alienating their general user base. Now they've created the most fugly IDE since Windows 2.0 (monochrome) and alenated their developers.
        I read a blog from one of their testers, and he was conviced that Microsoft was doing the right thing: after all, Henry Ford only offered his cars in black, right?

         

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          ltlw0lf (profile), Feb 15th, 2013 @ 10:24am

          Re: Re: Re: Silver lining?...

          I just had the misfortune of running Visual Studio 2012 for the first time. I know why your coworker is buying a Mint box.

          I believe for him, it was Windows Server 2012 with touchscreen support on a Server. "Touchscreens do not belong on a server." I, of course, agree...though I'd go one step further and say that any GUI doesn't belong on a server. My servers use a serial interface at home...

          I read a blog from one of their testers, and he was conviced that Microsoft was doing the right thing: after all, Henry Ford only offered his cars in black, right?

          I don't have a problem with Microsoft consolidating their builds to a single build. My problem is that they don't give you the option of turning off the parts of their UI which aren't necessary and get in the way. The original UI is still there, and pressing a key gets you to them (and a registry change disables the new UI entirely.) It should be an option in control panel. Same with the darn ribbon, which added far more workload to my job since I was used to using the Alt-keys to bring up the menus I wanted. Of course, have none of those problems under Linux/LibreOffice.

          I like the car analogy as well, though I'd go one step further and say it wasn't Ford only offering cars in black, but modifying the car design so that the driver faced backwards when driving on an ejection seat that would trigger whenever anyone other than the driver tried to start the car.

           

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 14th, 2013 @ 1:59pm

    Who Cares?

    Libreoffice is better and it is free as in free speech and free bear.

    www.libreoffice.org/

     

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    Brad Hubbard (profile), Feb 14th, 2013 @ 2:09pm

    Won't Impact Companies

    Most companies (certainly any over about 10 employees) have flat per-user, per-year licensing agreements with Microsoft that entitle them to whatever versions of the software they need. This is part of the reason for Microsoft vendor lock-in, these terms are often negotiated at 100% of employee workforce (making deploying Apple products more expensive by default), since you're paying for a Windows license, a Domain license, and Office license for every employee.

    But this change? Won't affect much for companies. Just home users.

     

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      WDS (profile), Feb 14th, 2013 @ 2:29pm

      Re: Won't Impact Companies

      If you had said (certainly any over about 100 employees) I might think you are right. Many companies with fewer employees look at that recurring annual cost versus the price of a boxed set, and opt for the boxed set and operate with different versions depending making a support problem for those of us handling it. I've tried repeatedly to get my company of about 25 employees to go the licensing route but they look at the cost and tell me to deal with the mixed environment.

       

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        Dark Helmet (profile), Feb 14th, 2013 @ 2:48pm

        Re: Re: Won't Impact Companies

        Thank you, beat me to it. My company works almost exclusively with companies 10-200 employees, and few of them do anything other than Open Licensing or have us provide cloud-based servers with SPLA licensing. Almost none of them have the type of agreement the original comment mentioned....

         

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          PaulT (profile), Feb 15th, 2013 @ 12:42am

          Re: Re: Re: Won't Impact Companies

          Yep, this is my experience too. Hopefully MS's actions here will shake things up a bit, as too many smaller companies don't have dedicated IT staff and so make bad procurement decisions based on marketing. I've seen too many companies where the management refuse to go with anything that's not the current known brand name (e.g. MS for Office rather than using Google Docs or Libre, even if they adequately meet their needs), but will try to get the software for the cheapest cost - hence boxed versions rather than a free competitor or volume licence.

          It'll be a couple of years before those companies start having major problems with this version of Office, and then it will be interesting to see which route this forces people down - will it be volume licencing, a competitor or simply piracy? The first court case for the latter would be interesting - after all, what better defence for piracy can there be than "I paid for the software"? Yes, troll brigade, I know that's still a violation of the licence, but your endless battle against "piracy" is now reduced to an attempt to fleece the people still paying. The real pirates are already using this version of Office with no danger of facing any of the problems that await paying users. This, believe it or not, is a major problem.

           

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          Rich, Feb 15th, 2013 @ 10:29am

          Re: Re: Re: Won't Impact Companies

          Yeah, but I heard that you have a habit of "altering deals" and making the other party pray you don't "alter it further!" :)

           

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            ltlw0lf (profile), Feb 16th, 2013 @ 5:33pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Won't Impact Companies

            Yeah, but I heard that you have a habit of "altering deals" and making the other party pray you don't "alter it further!" :)

            Sorry sir, but I believe you have him mistaken for someone else.

            I do believe, however, that he has a problem with people jamming up his radar and sending him the raspberries.

             

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        Ndttech (profile), Feb 15th, 2013 @ 10:29am

        Re: Re: Won't Impact Companies

        I purchased a copy of Office 2013 from Digital River through MS for $10 with a backup disc mailed for $13 thanks to the company/MS agreements.

        Installed it...didn't like it...back to Office 2010 ...which also cost $1o back a few years ago....

         

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      michael, Feb 15th, 2013 @ 3:22am

      Re: Won't Impact Companies

      That's absurdly false.

      Enterprise agreements cost a lot of money to get into I initially so most small businesses do NOT have per user license agreements with microsoft. Even at 50 users a small business is looking at over $25k just to get office licensed.

      This will hurt the small business most since they home users have a much easier transition. To an alternative such as Google docs than a small business of 10 users that don't have a full IT employee to help novices deal with changing software.

       

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    Jay (profile), Feb 14th, 2013 @ 2:17pm

    Microsoft on a roll

    I find it awesome that Microsoft is doing this...

    Not only are they pissing off their business clients by forcing them into bad deals, but their gaming sector is pulling the same shenanigans in not allowing used games onto their console.

    Fine if you think that every new download is a sale, but the truth us, you've lost the piracy wars if you think only of protecting your former markets. Microsoft isn't expanding their markets and is inviting me competition to come in and destroy their business models.

    It's a great way to show how vulnerable their positions are truly becoming in the digital age.

     

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    fogbugzd (profile), Feb 14th, 2013 @ 2:18pm

    I think there is something else going on here. In general, the pricing of the traditional version of Office 2013 is crazy. The strategy seems to be to provide the traditional desktop setup to people and businesses that absolutely demand the traditional setup and who are willing to pay absurdly high prices and put up with restrictive licensing (you highlighted the retail version, but I understand that business licenses are also unfavorable to the user).

    Microsoft is pushing the '365 version of Office. It has an annual license fee that will include free upgrades to future versions of office (as long as you keep buying annual licenses). 365 also allows installations on up to 5 computers. Microsoft has made it pretty clear that traditional Office 2013 users will be stuck with what they get out of the box forever except for maintenance patches; no new features for 2013 users. Ever.

    Annual licensing appeals to large businesses, but as a general rule small businesses and individuals hate it. Can you buy stock in BSA? (and I don't mean Boy Scouts of America) I have a feeling that piracy of Office 2013 will be rampant, so the BSA might have a great future.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 14th, 2013 @ 2:23pm

    Sigh. Let's recall once again the classes of people actually punished by DRM:

    1. Paying customers.

    How long do we expect until it's cracked this time?

     

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    mischab1, Feb 14th, 2013 @ 2:34pm

    Office 365?

    I'd never even heard of Office 365. I like how the first sentence on its Wikipedia entry is, "Office 365 primarily denotes a set of subscription based software services that requires monthly or periodic payment of fees to Microsoft Corporation."

     

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    Lesath (profile), Feb 14th, 2013 @ 2:37pm

    All the more reason I will forever use Google Docs.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 14th, 2013 @ 2:40pm

    What's the practical definition of "new computer"?

    Same OS installation? Hardware configuration? Motherboard-and-cpu?

    What, if any, upgrades to my machine will Microsoft permit?

    ("Of course it's the same computer -- it's only had 3 new hard drives, 4 new power supplies, 2 new motherboards, and 3 new graphics cards. And the case is identical!")

     

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      Mike Gowland, Apr 9th, 2013 @ 7:39am

      Re: What's the practical definition of "new computer"?

      From past experience, Microsoft will usually ignore Graphics, Sound and RAM upgrades/downgrades. What usually triggers the "ACTIVATE MEEEEEE" shite is the Processor, Motherboard or Hard Drive.

      You might get away with it if you replace like-for-like in the event of a failure. But this isn't what the author is getting at.

       

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    weneedhelp (profile), Feb 14th, 2013 @ 2:41pm

    Feedback

    The new expanding thing with all the social networking links... hate it.


    On to the article:
    It will be cracked. I will then use the cracked version, or move on to open office. Dumbest move ever.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 15th, 2013 @ 8:57am

      Re: Feedback

      The new expanding thing with all the social networking links... hate it.


      Don't hate on the disruptive new style mannnn

      Yeah, I'm not liking it terribly much either. Is it really so hard to scroll?

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 14th, 2013 @ 2:45pm

    Ha! And people were skeptical that Microsoft would NOT ban used games on their next Xbox. Yeah right. I think this is proof that they will.

     

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    Internet Zen Master (profile), Feb 14th, 2013 @ 2:47pm

    If they're doing this for MS Office...

    It's probably a safe bet they've got something similar in store for the Xbox...

    As the Zen Master says, "We'll see."

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 14th, 2013 @ 2:57pm

    Let's see:

    - Windows 8 and its not-a-tablet-and-not-a-desktop interface.
    - Trying to force an app store model onto a general purpose computing platform.
    - No used games on Xbox 720.
    - One-time-only Office installation.

    Ballmer sure seems intent upon driving Microsoft into the ground, doesn't he?

     

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    streetlight (profile), Feb 14th, 2013 @ 2:58pm

    Corel needs to get WordPerfect competitive

    There used to be so many things that WordPerfect could do that Word cannot do. Probably the best thing was managing formatting with the codes display. The suite still includes Quattro Pro, generally as good as Excel and a presentation application plus some other stuff that may be useful. Not sure about a data base program, but Quattro Pro has database capability.

    Corel needs to somehow make their office package more visible. And the price must be competitive with the various MS Office packages. The Home and Student edition is $100 on Corel's site.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 14th, 2013 @ 3:47pm

      Re: Corel needs to get WordPerfect competitive

      WordPerfect was good in mid 90's. Later on... Not so much. I think libreoffice or google docs are far better choices no matter if you are business or private user. Private users see free as a huge plus, same goes for small companies. Larger companies need support and often consultants specialised in the programs used (to get the needed special apps or develop them) and libreoffice and/or google docs beat wordperfect hands down on those areas.

      I am not saying the suite is bad or anything, but quality is seldom the most important feature of a suite. Flexibility and use are.

       

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      RyanNerd (profile), Feb 15th, 2013 @ 9:38am

      Re: Corel needs to get WordPerfect competitive

      WordPerfect? He's dead Jim.

       

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    kyle clements (profile), Feb 14th, 2013 @ 3:01pm

    "What does that mean in real terms? It means if your machine dies or you upgrade to a new computer you cannot take a copy of Office 2013 with you to new hardware. You will need to purchase another copy, which again will be tied to the machine it is installed upon forever."

    This is completely wrong. What this means IN REAL TERMS, is that users will download a cracked version of office from the pirate bay when their legit version fails to function on a new machine.

    Or jump ship and use a FOSS alternative.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 14th, 2013 @ 3:07pm

    Hey, I'm good with it. M$ already has tons of problems with malware links to Word and Excel files. I long ago gave up on them. When I see Word or some version of it on my newest computer, along with the trial ware antivirus also this idiot version is deleted right off the bat. I won't allow Word and Excel on my computer. I go for Open Office, which is what is installed on it now.

    As far as I am concerned, M$ Office isn't a product to use, it's a product to avoid at all costs. With this move by M$ I see a lot of people will be joining me on Open Office.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 14th, 2013 @ 3:36pm

    This is a sign that they've run out of useful new features for their software. They can't get people to buy a new version because it's better, so they try to get them to buy a new version because they got a computer upgrade.

     

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      madasahatter (profile), Feb 14th, 2013 @ 8:29pm

      Re:

      IMHO you noted the basic problem for all office suites. They are all essentially mature products each with its own strengths and weaknesses.

      I have not seen a compelling reason to buy or rent Office 2013 for me and I doubt I am unique.

       

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    Atkray (profile), Feb 14th, 2013 @ 3:46pm

    Most individuals

    Most individuals that would buy this probably could get by just fine with the free versions that are available with your hotmail, msn, live, or outlook email account.

    In addition to the above mentioned options.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 14th, 2013 @ 4:09pm

    Open Office anyone?

     

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    Mr. Applegate, Feb 14th, 2013 @ 4:33pm

    Microsoft will simply point you to the 'better' option which is their "Office 365 Home Premium" which can be installed on up to 5 PCs and for the low, low price of like $100/Yr.

    The trend in software for years now has been to migrate to a 'lease' where they are guaranteed yearly income for the software. Microsoft started this with Software Assurance and this is just the next logical step.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 14th, 2013 @ 4:35pm

    Gotta love their ideas to combat piracy and how they seem to always go in the wrong direction.

    A single machine install IS NOT going to apply for a pirated copy. Do they seriously think the people cracking software are just a bunch of morons tucked away in grandmas basement? Plenty of the people doing this are more knowledgeable on the subject of code than most software manufacturers.

    What they're doing is wrong of course but they still deserve recognition for the genius behind their work. Even if it is wrong you cannot deny the fact that some of the methods they come up with are pretty goddamn impressive.

     

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    aikiwolfie (profile), Feb 14th, 2013 @ 4:51pm

    Just use Libre Office

    This is really just one more reason to use LibreOffice.org instead or even Google Docs.

    That way everybody is a winner. Microsoft's software doesn't get pirated and users get to use their software as they see fit and save 100 or so into the bargain.

    Even more shocking than this policy of Microsoft's is how EMC licences Captiva. They do it "per image captured". When you reach your pre-paid level of images you can't scan any more until you buy a new licence package.

    Imagine if Microsoft charged per Word document? Perhaps by page produced in Word? Or even per word typed in Word?

     

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    Nik Rolls, Feb 14th, 2013 @ 5:09pm

    There is no comparison

    Seriously, does anyone think that the alternatives really compare to the power and polish of Office? Especially Office 2013. I used to use Libre Office and I use Google Docs every day for work. Every day I'm sorely disappointed and frustrated, compared to what I have at home with my 365 subscription.

     

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      nasch (profile), Feb 14th, 2013 @ 7:21pm

      Re: There is no comparison

      Seriously, does anyone think that the alternatives really compare to the power and polish of Office? Especially Office 2013.

      I haven't used MS Office since the 2007 version I think, I use OpenOffice instead, and I haven't even been remotely tempted to buy a copy of MS Office. I don't know how spectacularly awesome 2013 is but I'm not interested in spending a bunch of money on it.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 14th, 2013 @ 8:35pm

      Re: There is no comparison

      Are they truly comparable in every aspect? Probably not (at
      least not yet).

      Are they "good enough" for many many many users? Yes.

      Are they a better value for the price?

       

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      techflaws (profile), Feb 15th, 2013 @ 2:29am

      Re: There is no comparison

      Polished, my a**. I also thinks it's really funny to have Mircos~1 trying to scare people away from OpenOffice due to the time they would need to learn the oh so new interface while at the same time releasing Office 2007 with it's dreaded ribbon interface. You just can't make this stuff up.

       

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      Niall (profile), Feb 15th, 2013 @ 5:11am

      Re: There is no comparison

      Do they have the crapsack Ribbon? No, then they are probably better overall, if you are forced to work with a ribbon-flavour of Office - luckily I'm not - yet!

       

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      JEDIDIAH, Feb 15th, 2013 @ 8:02am

      Mindless marketing regurgitation

      "power and polish" is just nonsense marketing terms that demonstrate that you don't really have an argument and that you need to repeat someone elses.

      The vast majority of people simply don't need Microsoft's brand of Word Perfect style overkill. Never did.

       

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    zem, Feb 14th, 2013 @ 6:28pm

    Is MS Office even worth stealing anymore?

    Given the easy availability of legal free alternatives who would even bother stealing it?

    Haven't used MS Office in my business for over 10 years. It's a waste of money to buy, and a waste of time to pirate.

     

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    Jennifer, Feb 14th, 2013 @ 7:15pm

    weep sob weep

    Oh wait, I use ***LIBREOFFICE!***

     

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    commenter8 (profile), Feb 14th, 2013 @ 7:20pm

    LibreOffice is awesome and free

    Micro$uck is also screwing customers in many other ways. Anyone who buys a Win 8 Home Edition laptop expecting to downgrade the OS to XP or 7 is in for a very rude awakening - you will have to upgrade to Win 8 Pro before you can downgrade to XP or 7. Time to get off Micro$uck's vampire wagon...

    http://www.libreoffice.org/

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 15th, 2013 @ 2:23pm

      Re: LibreOffice is awesome and free

      I'm sure you can load fresh with a drive format regardless which is the right way to downgrade a new system anyway.

       

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    totalz (profile), Feb 14th, 2013 @ 8:18pm

    Just another screw up...

    Like the silly Win 7(+Vista) which requires you to reactivate Windows even if u plugin a new usb storge which may consider a new hardware.

    What a pain, especially the online activation doesn't always work!

     

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    G Thompson (profile), Feb 14th, 2013 @ 10:18pm

    argggghhhhhhhhh.

    This is the Age again making a complete stuffit and totally misunderstanding the actual terminology used in the licenses. Though a fair amount of blame should be on the ambiguous wording of the EULA by Microsoft too.

    Also this is the Australian License only they are blathering about and not USA (or elsewhere).

    Ok. As per the license:
    a. One Copy per Device. The software license is permanently assigned to the device with which the software is distributed. That device is the "licensed device."
    b. Licensed Device. You may only use one copy of the software on the licensed device at a time.
    c. Separation of Components. The components of the software are licensed as a single unit. You may not separate the components and install them on different devices.


    This means in Plain English.
    You can ONLY have the retail copy on ONE device at a time instead of the old way of being able to have separate copies on separate AND different device types ie: laptop, PC, tablet and NOT two Desktop PC's

    So what they mean is if you have a laptop, and a Desktop PC, and/or tablet or any combination that you need to purchase a separate licence for EACH device. This is not unusual and at the cost of the OEM and Retail products now in Home usage (remembering that most homes use the students version which is cheap anyway) quite reasonable.

    As for the "cannot transfer to another machine" that the Age is pushing, that is totally wrong in so many way and is absolutely NOT what the license says.

    What it says is that if you want to use the license on a device REMOVE it from another device. Though if it is an OEM license it resides (as it always has) with the machine itself (though HDD's and CPU's could be changed etc if repaired.. like in Windows license) and cannot ever be separated and sent to another unique machine. OEM has always stated that. The Retail licence DOESN'T!

    I can't believe I'm defending Microsoft, though knowing the Age and how Adam Turner never contacted an actual solicitor who know as about Australian Law and just relied on the PR department of Microsoft and wanted to spread FUD I can understand why I am defending them.

    Not your Fault Tim, you have just believed some 'reporter' from Australia who has taken it upon themselves to spread FUD without legal or otherwise basis for the 'story'

    Oh and Adam if you are reading this, did you actually pass this story by someone like Asher Moses? hmmm?

     

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Feb 14th, 2013 @ 10:47pm

      Re:

      Informative! Thank you

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 15th, 2013 @ 12:01am

      Re:

      the removal part usually implies some kind of deactivation/uninstallation process that involves the installer talking to microsoft servers to tell them that the license is being removed, right?

      what happens if/when the motherboard/cpu/hdd dies and you have to replace the whole computer?

      or what if (..insert any number of sudden device unavailable scenarios here..)
      result = you're screwed

       

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        G Thompson (profile), Feb 15th, 2013 @ 12:30am

        Re: Re:

        This is the same thing that happens with Windows [version Whatever] as an OEM install. Basically it allows you to change a HDD or CPU or memory or motherboard at different times, though if done all at once it means the actual OEM structure (Original Equipment Manufacturer) is not viable any more and therefore the product you have is NOT the one covered under the actual OEM license. Though if it's due to a repair of the device under warranty (or Statutory warranty conditions as under Australian law) then the OEM stays and Microsoft have to honour that, and do. (What they do in the USA is anyone's guess though I'm going to make an informed assumption that yes your screwed then)

        If on the other hand it is a retail version then the license is transferable over to the new machine (even though there is no actual physical movement other than HDD maybe) and Microsoft WILL honour it under Australian law.

        There is NOWHERE in the license for retail products that state it is non-transferable, and under both Aust "Consumer and Competition" Law and Contract law this is impermissible.

        Again if this comes into the USA, dunno.. your consumer laws are basically non existent so I cannot give a qualified answer, though just looking at the license this does not in any way suggest this would be problematic as the referenced article (from the Age newspaper) states it would be.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 15th, 2013 @ 12:51am

    Competition is wonderful, nobody cares what the terms of the licenses are for Office, because everybody have choices.

    You can install it, in a virtual machine that will always be the same machine, and the TOS says explicitly that you are entitle for one copy per device, since it is virtual, you can have as many copies as you like since the device can be replicated without problems. doubt? take a look at the MESS, which people dump hardware components and catalog them, with the added bonus that they actually work (for those who need a frontend GUI try using QMC2. It is also worth mentioning that virtual machines are all the rage right now and if you want to experiment with one you can use Qemu.

    - Now if you don't want the hassle, just install any of the hundreds of open source Office like projects that exist today not to mention the paid ones that also exist by the dozen.

    https://www.linux.com/news/software/applications/699387-the-state-of-open-source-office-so ftware

    https://www.pcworld.com/article/2010005/5-free-open-source-alternatives-to-microsoft-offic e.html

    http://www.junauza.com/2010/06/10-best-free-alternatives-to-microsoft.html

    I don't use those things, I only use Gnumeric for spreadsheets and Gedit for text editing, but others are others and have different priorities.

     

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    Ninja (profile), Feb 15th, 2013 @ 1:43am

    And they wonder why we pirate... I bought a Student pack when M$ Office 2007 was released. Installed it legally in 3 of my 5 machines and simply cracked the next two. I tend to buy every two iterations (so I'd be buying a copy of 2013) but knowing about this I think I'll just pirate. If Libre/Open managed to deal with the new file types (docx, xlsx etc) then I might as well as not even pirate it.

    That with that horrible metro interface may help taking M$ out of the lead and developers actually focus on open platforms.

     

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      ltlw0lf (profile), Feb 15th, 2013 @ 3:44pm

      Re:

      If Libre/Open managed to deal with the new file types (docx, xlsx etc) then I might as well as not even pirate it.

      Libre/Open Office have no problem opening docx/xlsx files. I do it all the time at work (the only reason I run Windows on a virtual machine tends to be because of IE only web-apps, and LibreOffice cracked the docx/xlsx nut a while ago. I haven't had any problems with people complaining about me corrupting their documents lately (with doc, every once in a while someone would complain.)

       

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    me, Feb 15th, 2013 @ 5:04am

    This is exactly why

    I use libre at home on linux, and google drive in the cloud and free office stuff on my droid devices. FUCK YOU redmond!

     

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  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    zernypersson@hotmail.com, Feb 15th, 2013 @ 5:27am

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 15th, 2013 @ 6:18am

    The license is tied to the machine until you uninstall it. Previously, MS would allow you to have the software installed on multiple machines - like a desktop and laptop. You could use it in both places as long as you weren't using it at the same time. People abused that, so they've lowered the retail price and removed that option - perfectly fair. It can be installed on another machine just not more than one at a time.

    This is like the 5th place I've seen this story and I really wish people who do a little fact checking before they regurgitate incorrect information. Perhaps try contacting MS before running with a story that's already been debunked everywhere it's posted.

     

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      PaulT (profile), Feb 15th, 2013 @ 6:53am

      Re:

      "The license is tied to the machine until you uninstall it."

      ...and if you can't uninstall it for whatever reason? (e.g. laptop stolen, hard drive or other hardware failure leading to replacing the machine, etc.)? There's a hundred things that could happen that would mean that a person is unable to uninstall before they need to install the software on a new machine.

      "People abused that, so they've lowered the retail price and removed that option - perfectly fair."

      Not really. It's going to cause a lot of headaches for people who don't know about this story, for years to come, and the ultimate answer to anyone legitimately having problems with their single install they're trying to use correctly is "you have to pay more money".

      If they're finding that customers (most of them likely small business of home users who don't understand the licencing conditions) are regularly violating the conditions, they have fair ways to deal with that. They could adjust their licencing model to fit this reality, or make a 2 client setup the norm - with perhaps the option to downgrade to the single machine option for a refund if the customer agrees to that new term. They could build the software in a way that informs people trying to install on a 2nd machine that they can't do that, rather than simply block them - maybe build in a trial period as per a downloadable demo before blocking a reinstall to mitigate abuse.

      There are many ways to deal with this situation which doesn't risk penalising legitimate users yet again - and the hilarity of this is that it's just more likely to drive people to competitors or piracy than suddenly make people buy 2 licences of Office.

      There's also the question of what constitutes a "machine". If the motherboard dies and I have to replace several major components, is that going to trigger the licencing mechanism to think it's a different PC?

      "This is like the 5th place I've seen this story and I really wish people who do a little fact checking before they regurgitate incorrect information."

      Perhaps you'd like to provide links or at least address the many things your explanation has omitted, because you're not actually addressing the concerns people have - many of them already noted above. You're only addressing one possible scenario - where people can uninstall before a new install is necessary. There are many other scenarios.

       

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        identicon
        Dave Nelson, Feb 15th, 2013 @ 9:24am

        Re: Re:

        While the above comments may apply to a foreign license (ie: Australia) THEY DO NOT apply to the US. The "software" is licensed to ONE "licensed computer" FOREVER. No uninstall, mo moving to another machine. The only way it can be transferred to another owner is if you sell them the entire machine, Office included. I have read the EULA and it are TERRIBLE. NO WAY do I spend my hard-earned money on this farce.

         

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    identicon
    T. Traub, Feb 15th, 2013 @ 6:40am

    Two words

    Libre. Office.

    Just get it, install it everywhere, and remove this Microsoft malware from your computers.

    LibreOffice works well enough that most people will not miss Office.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 15th, 2013 @ 7:24am

    Linux growing everyday!

    Steam Games Discount :D

    die Micro$oft and your UEFI

     

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    identicon
    Dave Nelson, Feb 15th, 2013 @ 7:37am

    I BOUGHT Office 2007. I got a free upgrade to Office 2010 with it. I WILL NOT be buying Office 2013 if that license is locked to one set of hardware. I have been a fairly loyal Microsoft customer since the early '80s. I'm about fed up. Sorry M$.

     

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    Jake, Feb 15th, 2013 @ 7:48am

    People still buy MS Office to install themselves on their home PCs? Everyone I know went over to OpenOffice around the time That Fucking Paperclip debuted.

     

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    Hugo, Feb 15th, 2013 @ 7:59am

    lol ive used both Libre and Open Office and they dont come even close to what Office offers.

    Those Free programs are good for the purpose they offer, compared to Office they are jus trash.

    Google docs is the best alternative.

    Office 2013 tied to 1 Machine is a shitty thing to do MS, you guys are screwing around, fuck yourself.

     

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      JEDIDIAH, Feb 15th, 2013 @ 8:04am

      Heil Balmer!

      Your post sounds like it was recycled from the mid 90s.

      Microsoft products didn't particularly impress me then either.

      The competitors were different but the FUD was the same.

       

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    quawonk, Feb 15th, 2013 @ 8:05am

    People, mostly businesses, keep buying it, Micro$oft has no incentive to change. Next step: you may only run the program 500 times. They'll probably still buy it.

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Feb 15th, 2013 @ 9:23am

      Re:

      I have a computer that had a version of software (don't remember the exact product) that allowed 30 trial uses...

      After a year, I was only on my 20th 'trial' as I just left the program running (only power failures, and forced re-boots triggered a new 'trial').

      Yes I'm sure users would accept a 'Can only be run X number of times' but it would be cracked before anyone hit X....

       

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    identicon
    netscorer, Feb 15th, 2013 @ 8:08am

    Microsoft is bent on losing individual users

    MS Office still rules and will continue so in enterprise word. Given that almost all data handling applications now have Excel import/export and there is no viable alternative to number crunching users, MS Office is a lock in for any medium to large company.
    Small companies would either explore going to free alternatives or sign up to Office 365 suite which is priced attractively enough to justify the annual subscription cost.
    Individual users though are left in the dust with this latest revision to licensing terms. Paying $100 every year for Office 365 is just too cost prohibitive for them and most would prefer to either continue using their older version of MS Office or explore alternatives. This may actually have a compounding effect for Microsoft. Since having MS Office traditionally is one of the biggest reasons home users buy Windows-based computers, this new change would allow them to reevaluate their decision and simply skip the next purchase of the new PC or laptop and go either Apple or Google direction. A drop in sales numbers of PCs would hurt Microsoft stock hugely as it will be perceived (rightfully so) as a long-term weakness by the market.

     

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      Gwiz (profile), Feb 15th, 2013 @ 10:48am

      Re: Microsoft is bent on losing individual users

      MS Office still rules and will continue so in enterprise word. Given that almost all data handling applications now have Excel import/export and there is no viable alternative to number crunching users, MS Office is a lock in for any medium to large company.

      I disagree. Both Libre Office and Open Office have spreadsheet programs. Spreadsheet programs have changed very little since Lotus 1-2-3. Any data handling program I've run across since the 80's has, at the very least, the capability to produce CSV (comma separated values) files that any spreadsheet can read or write.

      Now if you are talking about automated conversions through VBA or something like that, then yeah that's a bit tougher to do without MS. But remember, Microsoft doesn't guarantee that any of that stuff will remain compatible in future versions, so it's a crap shoot anyways.

       

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Feb 15th, 2013 @ 12:06pm

      Re: Microsoft is bent on losing individual users

      Matlab

       

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 15th, 2013 @ 8:10am

    Also, just fyi for those who aren't aware, the new Windows 8 is pretty much the same. Had issues with it on a new desktop at work, the recovery got screwed up, had to reinstall everything from scratch. Only then did I realize that I didn't have the OEM product key (since it's not on the desktop itself anywhere, like with all previous versions).

    Luckily, I had taken advantage of the Media Center for free add-on they were having (which ended last month). Had the Serial for that, which was valid. Or so I thought.

    Installed Windows 8 Pro, added the Media Center add-on to it (which requires a valid Serial). Installed and restarted fine. Next day at boot, get hit with the "Windows not activated" message. I activate it, get hit with "Sorry, this license is already activated elsewhere. Please enter another license."

    Basically screwed. It still works fine, just that message coming up randomly is annoying as heck. And I can't deactivate the license from the "other computer" because I had to wipe everything originally on the same computer I was attempting to activate it on after the reinstall.

     

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    shane (profile), Feb 15th, 2013 @ 8:58am

    DIE Microsoft DIE!!!

    It's a Good Day to DIE HARD!!!!!

     

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  •  
    identicon
    J Baustian, Feb 15th, 2013 @ 9:34am

    it all depends on the price

    The price for a single install of Office must be considerably less than other versions. So, if it ends up costing about $29 or $39 for a retail purchase or digital download, that would be a reasonable price for most people.

    If you want a version that you can install on multiple computers, then you should pay more -- you should probably pay about what MS now charges, or maybe a little less.

     

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    identicon
    Dan, Feb 15th, 2013 @ 9:44am

    It's funny to see MS ad along the post :D

    It was really funny to notice the ad on the side bar "A word from our sponsors" asking to buy Office 365... and buy it today :D lol

     

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