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.
Filed Under: microsoft office, single install