from the the-customer-is-always-right dept
A few weeks back, I wrote a piece about how Microsoft was changing the licensing terms for the retail versions of its Office product so that it would be a single install license. As I mentioned in that piece, this seemed like a pretty clear attempt to get retail customers to move to MIcrosoft's Office 365 line, requiring an ongoing subscription. Otherwise, retail customers would be beholden to their PCs, left to buy a new copy of Office should that machine no longer function (especially so if that machine wasn't under warranty). Customers, to put it mildly, were not impressed.
And it was that customer feedback that has apparently prompted Microsoft to revert the Office 2013 retail products back to the traditional, transferable licensing arrangement.
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.While it's nice that Microsoft ended up listening to their customers, some folks are noting that these sneaky kinds of licensing attempts are nothing new for the company.
By the way, if all this seems familiar, it’s not your imagination. Microsoft tried a similar tactic with Windows Vista in October 2006. The original license agreement imposed a new limit of one transfer on retail copies of Windows. At the time, I called it “a sneaky change in Windows licensing terms.” After a similar outcry from Microsoft customers (a Microsoft executive acknowledged having received "lots of e-mail and other feedback" on this issue), Microsoft rolled back the changes and restored the original license terms less than a month later.This trend should be a lesson to Microsoft, as well as other technology companies. If you want to get customers to adopt a certain product line you have, do it by making that product more valuable, rather than by reducing the value of a competing product.