back to article Microsoft: Office 2013 license is for just one PC, FOREVER

Microsoft has clarified the licensing for retail versions of its Office 2013 productivity suite, confirming that boxed editions of the software are licensed for a single PC only and that the license may never be transferred, even if the user upgrades to a new PC. Over the past week, Office users around the web have expressed …


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  1. banjomike

    LibreOffice will need to upgrade their servers cope with a sudden rush of downloaders. No WAY would I buy something like that. Presumably their will be some devious addon in Microsoft Ugrade to enforce it. I don't know, no Windows 8, no Office, looking at Linux, what is the world coming to.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Open source

      Open source or even OSX now appears to be better value.

      Considering the fact that I have moved 'Office Professional 2010' three times, from one Win 7 laptop to another and which now resides on my bootcamp version of Win 7.

      Microsoft may change their opinion when no one in their right mind buys it.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Does 'Bend Over' Ballmer have us over a barrel with our trousers down?

      1. jake Silver badge

        @AC 00:38 (was: Re: Does)

        Who is "us", Kemosabe?

        It certainly isn't me & mine.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @AC 00:38 (was: Does)

          Nope. Count me & mine out of that royal "us" too.

          Haven't touched any of that shit since XP... and yes, that was perfectly legit. Still have one of the early fully holographic CDs to show for it.

          Good luck to those of you who believe you're enjoying the squalid racket. I must confess, I'm actually slightly enjoying watching the spectacle of Microsoft growing ever more desperate and more merciless in its reaming of its remaining flock. I wonder how long the show can go on like this.

          1. unitron

            Re: @AC 00:38 (was: Does)

            I've got an XP cd that's even holographier than yours!

            It is, unfortunately, a counterfeit copy.

          2. HipposRule

            @AC 02:46

            If you haven't touched any MS stuff since XP what makes you think you are qualified to judge what it's like now? At least I've touched Firefox 18 and think it's shit.

            1. yossarianuk

              Re: @AC 02:46

              I bet you have only tried it on Windows .... Try it on Linux it is not shit.

              It is better to work with than Chrome IMO - copy and pasting bulk text for example works better with Firefox.

              1. Miek

                Re: @AC 02:46

                "copy and pasting bulk text for example works better with Firefox." -- Whhaaaaat?

              2. JDX Gold badge

                Re: @AC 02:46

                >>I bet you have only tried it on Windows .... Try it on Linux it is not shit.

                What kind of defence is that exactly? If they can't get it to work on the world's main OS then it IS shit. If they want FF to be a mainstream browser than a Linux one, it's kind of important they prioritise the Windows experience.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: @AC 02:46

                  >it's kind of important they prioritise the Windows experience.

                  Why? Why would it be important to prioritise an old, closed proprietary platform so obviously in its death-throws and which comes with a proprietor imposed browser and userbase too stupid to know any better anyway? That would be stupid.

                  1. This post has been deleted by its author

                    1. Amorous Cowherder


                      FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!

                      1. Anonymous Coward
                        Anonymous Coward

                        BEEP BEEP BEEP

                        Paging Dr RICHTO

                        Emergency on Microsoft licensing thread. Crash team to Microsoft licensing thread.

                        BEEP BEEP BEEP...

                    2. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: @AC 02:46

                      Whoops. Sorry HFG - knew that. Looks like there's plenty of stupidity to go 'round. ;)

                  2. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: @AC 02:46

                    according to the Linux and IOS community Windows has been dying since 3.1WFW, but until someone tells M$oft and the general PC buying world that it is, people will still buy it in their millions.

                    OS's are like religions, always the one you worship is better than anyone else's but you cant prove the existance or reasoning to believe why yours is so superior to the masses

                    1. This post has been deleted by its author

                    2. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      @AC 13:55

                      Linux is everywhere, in just about every modern electronic device everyone comes into contact with. Windows runs on PCs: Those quaint old big, heavy, slow, hot, ugly, noisy, expensive machines your parents used to use. These days people use slick, light, nifty, efficient, truly portable gadgets for an ever increasing amount of their computing. Tablets, phones, phablets... they run Linux and iOS. Microsoft has tried, desperately, repeatedly, for years, to muscle in on those important growing markets. LMAO. Microsoft remains an insignificant little blip in those important growing markets. Windows runs on PCs. Microsoft is hanging from the past by a very thin thread.

                    3. alcalde

                      Re: @AC 02:46

                      Maybe you can't, but I know I can because I made quite a long list after my first year with Linux encompassing the install experience on up, from organizational matters like the frequency of releases to technical issues like copy-on-write for process spawning.

                2. Volker Hett

                  Re: @AC 02:46

                  Judging from current sales figures, the main OS is Android.

                3. GBE

                  Re: @AC 02:46

                  > What kind of defence is that exactly? If they can't

                  > get it to work on the world's >main OS then it IS shit. If

                  > they want FF to be a mainstream browser than a Linux

                  > one, it's kind of important they prioritise the Windows

                  > experience.

                  I thought the Windows Experience(TM) was _supposed_ to be "shit"...

            2. Goat Jam

              Re: @AC 02:46

              Actually it is Firefox 19 as of today

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @AC 00:38 (was: Does) @jake

          So? You expecting applause or something?

          1. Seanie Ryan

            Re: @AC 00:38 (was: Does) @jake

            "Re: @AC 00:38 (was: Does) @jake

            So? You expecting applause or something?"

            Jake, i am applauding you right now. In fact i think i can hear someone next door doing the same thing.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @AC 00:38 (was: Does) @jake

              That's not the sound of applause coming from the chap next door - he's just read this

      2. TimeMaster T

        Re: Does

        Maybe he has you, but not me.

        I said goodbye to MS crapware years ago. I have one old laptop with XP breading dust bunnies in the back of the closet just in case I ever need it but my primary laptop and desktops are FOSS all the way.

        OK, not all of my software is FOSS. World of Goo and Minecraft may be closed source but they are both available on Linux, and companies that support Linux get my support..

      3. John Bailey

        Re: Does

        Nope.. I'm afraid its just you. I suggest you bring your own lube. Supple Steve is a bit forgetful these days.

        Mine's the one with the the Fedora 18 install disk on the pocket.

    3. No, I will not fix your computer

      Re: LibreOffice will need to upgrade their servers

      Perhaps, Microsoft's real reason was to find a way of making Office 2010 look good?

      MS Office Pro+ 2013, retail price £389.99 (seriously???)

      My girlfriend has an iMac and a Macbook Air, because of the way the licencing works with her appleid she only bought pages once (with the "free" credit that she got with the student discount), when she got her air it should have come with Mountain Lion, as it didn't they gave her a free upgrade, which then (as it is iTunes software) she could then also apply to her iMac too (for no extra cost).

  2. Dazed and Confused

    So if the PC dies

    The thieving bastards are going to mug you for more dosh

    F*&k that for a game of soldiers.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: So if the PC dies

      But how appropriate that the MS spokesman for this was Mr Fark...

      ...while it's certain that most awful things in this world stem from incompetence rather than malice Microsoft's recent actions seem so stridently uncuddly that they smack of Götterdämmerung of the 3rd Reich sort, i.e. the belief that the common people have failed the majestic vision and are not worthy of it, all that remains is darkness and fall.

      1. Steven Roper

        Re: Götterdämmerung

        My thoughts exactly. This behaviour is symptomatic of a company that has finally woken up to the fact that its old business model has failed and is panicking over its increasing irrelevancy, hence the push to rentism to try to secure a revenue stream. And as with all such situations, everything they do merely fans the flames of their own demise, as more and more customers realise they are being shafted and start looking for alternatives.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So if the PC dies

        "Whom the Gods wish to destroy, they first make mad".

        I must say though, it couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of people.

    2. P. Lee

      Re: So if the PC dies

      Indeed, it sounds as though you need to insure your software too.

      Otherwise, if someone steals your laptop, you have to fork out for another copy of Office too.

      On the bright side, the thieves will have a legal copy of Office, having it physically in their possession.

      "No piracy was committed during the theft of this device."

      You have a license to install, not a license to use.

      1. TheOtherHobbes

        Re: So if the PC dies

        Problem is - there is no legal definition of 'PC'.

        If I change my monitor, does MS think I have a new PC? How about the graphics card? Case? Hard disk? Processor? New motherboard, same processor?

        So technically it's easy to challenge on the grounds of non-specific legal vagueness.

        And then if - hypothetically - a court discovered that installing a new version of Windows, or even just reinstalling the old version, also creates a new PC, there's any number of interesting legal challenges to that.

        1. Danny 14

          Re: So if the PC dies

          MShave historically tied the OEM versions to your motherboard. If that dies and a replacement is needed (most direct replacements still work) then you need to ring them up and chat. Ive only had to do that on a couple of occasions out of 1000's of activations (MAK rather than KMS) and have had no issue at all. In the old days of XP rarely wanting a reactivation it was an automated response.

        2. Eric Hood

          Re: So if the PC dies

          The motherboard is the PC as far as Microsoft is concerned. New MB = new computer.

      2. Annihilator
        Paris Hilton

        Re: So if the PC dies

        "You have a license to install, not a license to use."

        Interesting point... does that mean that Office won't come with an End User License Agreement anymore, and will be an End Machine License Agreement? The machine is licensed, but not the user?

        I can kind of understand it if the software comes installed OEM, in the same way that you usually can't transfer a Windows license from a PC you buy in a shope, but it appears this is wider than that.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: So if the PC dies


          No, doesn't have a nice ring to it.

          What if a small 'accident' happens to my keyboard, mice, monitor, PSU, motherboard, graphics card, but not my hard drive, and I have to replace all of them? Is it still the same INSTALLED software and I don't even need their insurance, right?

          It reminds me of a friend that restored a Volkswagen Beetle to working condition. Only the frame with the serial number was original, all else, tires, windshield, doors, steering wheel, pedals, seats, headlights, taillights, fenders, was new. The engine was still the same block, but every internal component, gasket, valve, belt, headers, battery, cabling and spark plug was replaced as well. It was the same car, registration wise.

          MS can go Fark itself.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @P Lee

        "On the bright side, the thieves will have a legal copy of Office, having it physically in their possession."

        Pure unadulterated genius sir!

      4. mwgjordan

        Re: So if the PC dies

        No, the thief didn't "agree" to the licence terms. So neither party has a valid licence.

    3. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: So if the PC dies

      Not just that.

      It is yet another MSFT - OEM manufacturers "rub my back so I rub yours" which should be questioned on competition grounds. How the f*** do you prove your warranty claim If you assemble your PC yourself or you buy it from one of the few remaining small manufacturers?

      Yeah, I know - they are now extinct. MSFT programme of assisting HP, Dell and Co in providing unfair competition advantage has practically eradicated them.

      Though this may backfire. I can see a neat business model here - just provide 10y warranty on a computer at the cost of let's say 30% of office license. Hardware is so cheap nowdays that this should be able to cover upgrading motherboards, hard disks and power supplies for 10 years :)

    4. Anonymous Coward

      Re: So if the PC dies

      Microsoft Knock Knock Joke:

      "Note the italicized portion above (emphasis ours). What it means is that the only way to give or sell your copy of Office 2013 to someone else is to physically give it to them, by handing over the actual computer that the software is installed on.

      Under these terms, you can't even transfer the software to yourself. If you buy a new PC, you're expected to buy a brand-new retail copy of Office to go with it, even if you uninstall it from your old machine.

      That Microsoft would be so brazen as to license its software under such terms beggars belief. And yet, as it turns out, that's just what it has done."

      Microsoft - "Knock Knock"

      Consumers - "Who's there?"

      Microsoft - "Microsoft."

      Consumers - "Fuck Off."

      Ahhhhhh Haaaaaaaa Haaaaaaaaaaaaa this bullshit from Naziware Land just gets more, and more and more insipid.....

      It's funnier than your mother in law having a car crash......

      1. BlueGreen

        "Under these terms, you can't even transfer the software to yourself"

        IANAL but I can't see this as holding in UK law. It is clearly unfair, therefore the contract is void.

    5. Captain Scarlet

      Re: So if the PC dies

      Probably, but I always say my motherboard died but its in the same case and they've been fine with Windows OEM (Unless they don't allow that now).

  3. Annihilator


    Presumably they'll be quick to inform us what a new computer constitutes. Or what happens if a hard disk fails, or the OS becomes corrupt and needs reinstalling.

    1. Steve Evans

      Re: FFS

      Yup, it's the windows licensing fun all over again...

      Change your HDD to an SSD, chuck in some bigger RAM whilst you're at it, and upgrade the GPU and "oh dear" different magic number generated, so it must be a different machine.

      *rolls eyes*

      Then remembers he's been using Open/Libre Office for years anyway due to the influx of .docx emails he couldn't open in Office 2003 which he received from people stupid enough to use the preinstalled 3 months free Smack, sorry Office 2007.

      Note to self to increase the anti-third person medication.

      1. xperroni

        Re: FFS

        Yup, it's the windows licensing fun all over again...

        The best part about it all is how it makes the experience significantly poorer to honest users who paid for the software. Pirates need not bother with any of this.

        I don't know how a "good" software sales model should look like, but sure as Hell it shouldn't make life more miserable to honest buyers than it does to thieves.

        1. Vic

          Re: FFS

          > sure as Hell it shouldn't make life more miserable to honest buyers than it does to thieves.

          Ignoring, for the moment, your incorrect use of the word "thieves"...

          This is the case with most digital content these days - the only ones who are forced to watch those unskippable "you wouldn't steal a car" propaganda trailers are those who have bought the DVD legitimately; all the hookie copies have it stripped off.

          Various forms of DRM force you to jump through hoops, but then someone strips off the DRM and the media/software is that much easier to use...

          So it is that the producers are actually providing an enormous incentive for their legitimate customers to use less-than-legitimate sources for their requirements. This isn't about trying to save paying for something, it's simply that the "cracked" versions of stuff are often much less aggro in use.


    2. frank ly

      Re: FFS

      Can you set up a VM, with virtualised hardware that has _all_ characteristics under your control - i.e. hard disk ID number etc.?

      If so, you can effectively carry the same 'PC' around with you for many years, running on different host systems. There is a 'soft' ID number on a hard drive that is created when it is formatted, which is a 'random' number based on the date and time during the formatting process. There is a small utility that will change this for you, which can be useful for some types of activity. As I understand it, there is an internal ID number of a HD that cannot be changed. So, can VMs deal with this situation?

      1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

        Re: FFS

        Many devices don't even bother supporting the fixed, locked internal ID number as it's not a mandated part of the specification and adding it programmatically and then locking it is just a further PITA process during the manufacturing process that adds cost to very low margin devices. Even for the supposedly locked devices (such as HDDs) there are usually tools somewhere to change these IDs as they are not hard locked.

        You can edit it and set it to whatever you want in a virtual environment, at least on VMWare. I don't remember seeing tools specifically for setting the IDS, but the configuration files are straight forward enough. IIRC VMWare itself uses these IDs to track copying and cloning of Virtual Machines.

      2. itzman

        Re: FFS

        Dunno. But I reinstalled a different OS on my desktop machine set up virtual box and copied the old virtual machines to it and told virtual box 'there is a VM: use it' and the whole caboodle was there and ran..

      3. Volker Hett

        Re: FFS

        Yes, VMs can, but you have to have a license to install Windows 7 or 8 in a VM first. This is certainly not the license your computer came preinstalled with.

        1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          VMs (Re: FFS)

          "Yes, VMs can, but you have to have a license..."

          Not only that, but most VM hosts are optimised for the performance of the guest rather than the concealment that there is a VM. Windows is perfectly well aware when I am running it in a VM. If people start habitually using VMs to get around licence restrictions, Microsoft will simply add code to prohibit this.

          It will probably turn up as an "update". Leave your machine running one Tuesday and wake up the following morning to discover none of your documents are readable anymore.

          1. Lallabalalla

            Re: VMs (FFS)

            And I have to be cognisant of all that just to write a friggin letter? "The hell I will."

          2. The Specialist

            Re: VMs (FFS)

            Then I will simply *roll back* that update and carry on as before!

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: FFS @frank ly

        >>So, can VMs deal with this situation?

        Yes, here is my VirtualBox settings for XP. Create a virtual disc and run this script before installing XP (OEM version from a restore disc)

        I hardly use it these days and I won't be buying MS Office

        #! /bin/bash

        VM_NAME="xp01" # Name of your Virtual Machine

        VSETED="VBoxManage setextradata $VM_NAME"


        $VSETED $CFG_PATH/DmiBIOSVendor "Hewlett-Packard"

        $VSETED $CFG_PATH/DmiBIOSVersion "F.0C"

        $VSETED $CFG_PATH/DmiBIOSReleaseDate "06/05/2008"

        $VSETED $CFG_PATH/DmiBIOSReleaseMajor "15"

        $VSETED $CFG_PATH/DmiBIOSReleaseMinor "12"

        $VSETED $CFG_PATH/DmiBIOSFirmwareMajor "113"

        $VSETED $CFG_PATH/DmiBIOSFirmwareMinor "45"

        $VSETED $CFG_PATH/DmiSystemVendor "Hewlett-Packard"

        $VSETED $CFG_PATH/DmiSystemProduct "HP Compaq 6715b"

        $VSETED $CFG_PATH/DmiSystemVersion "<RK154AV>"

        $VSETED $CFG_PATH/DmiSystemSerial "xxxxxxxxxx"

        $VSETED $CFG_PATH/DmiSystemUuid "xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xx-xxxxxxxxxxxx"

        $VSETED $CFG_PATH/DmiSystemFamily "103C_5336AN"

      5. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: FFS - Can you set up a VM

        YES !!!

        "Computer. In this agreement, "computer" means a hardware system (whether physical or virtual) with a storage device capable of running the software. A hardware partition or blade is considered to be a computer."

  4. Graham 24

    Ship of Theseus for the modern age

    So, if I install Office 2013 on a computer, and then, on progressive weeks, upgrade the motherboard, processor, memory, hard disk and video card, is it still the same computer five weeks later? Have I invalidated my licence? Do I need to reassemble the previous components into a working system to be legally allowed to use the software?

    1. LaeMing


      You are not Microsoft's target demographic and your situation is not worth their consideration. Only mindless consumers of IT please. Hey! It works for 21st century Apple!

      1. Dana W

        Re: Simples.

        Except of course Apple does not actually DO that.

      2. Chris Parsons

        Re: Simples.

        Downvoted for thinking it's clever to say 'simples'.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Simples.

          Sorry, Chris. But it IS clever to say "simples". That's just a fact.

        2. Steve the Cynic

          Re: Simples.

          "Downvoted for thinking it's clever to say 'simples'."

          Sorry, but "simples" is a perfectly good word.


          In French, where it is the plural form of the adjective "simple" (which can mean 'simple', but also, in the context of railway tickets, one-way, as opposed to "aller-retour"). So I might have one "billet simple" but if I have two, then they are "billets simples".

          Simple, non?

      3. Lallabalalla

        Re: Simples.

        Is that the same Apple that charges £25-odd for a new OS, £6.99 for Pages which includes free updates virtually forever and the right to install it free on any device with your appleId?

        Or some other Apple that exists in your head :)

    2. dajames

      Re: Ship of Theseus for the modern age

      So, if I install Office 2013 on a computer, and then, on progressive weeks, upgrade the motherboard, processor, memory, hard disk and video card, is it still the same computer five weeks later? Have I invalidated my licence?

      So, the same case then? You should be OK ...

      Microsoft are relying on the fact that most people don't upgrade, they go out and buy a new PC and so need a new licence. If this change in licensing terms means that more people upgrade their systems in future, and less old kit ends up in landfill, it may even be a good thing.

      ... up until the point at which Microsoft persuade the hardware industry to start making motherboards that won't fit in the old cases, anyway!

    3. stucs201

      Re: Ship of Theseus for the modern age

      “This will become, in time, the ax of someone’s grandfather,” said the king, lifting it out. “And no doubt over the years it will need a new handle or a new blade and over the centuries the shape will change in line with fashion, but it will always be, in every detail and respect, the ax I give you today."

    4. Steve the Cynic

      Re: Ship of Theseus for the modern age

      "on progressive weeks, upgrade the motherboard, processor, memory, hard disk and video card, is it still the same computer five weeks later?"

      Sounds like my old machine. I bought it in 97 with Win95 OSR2. Over the years I replaced every part of it - motherboard, RAM, video, sound, monitor, hard disks, OS (--> 98SE then --> 2K), CD-ROM drive, case, the keyboard, and eventually even the floppy drive (it was the longest-surviving of the original components, probably because it had the lowest rate of wear and tear).

      Because I had already started this process when I first included it in a network, it got the host name "grandfathersaxe"...

      Oh, and based on what I've read so far, all the comments and even the article suggest strongly that nobody remembers the OEM Windows licences, where you couldn't transfer them anywhere. Not to a new machine of yours, nor on the original machine to another person (along with the machine, duh). This Office 2013 thing isn't as bad as that.

      1. BorkedAgain

        Re:Grandfather's Axe

        Perhaps we should deploy Ganto's Ax instead...

  5. pPPPP

    Well, if you really need to have office, just stick with an old copy, or install it in a VM running Windows. I find that I need it for some office docs that simply won't work properly in Libre. So it's in a VM running a minimal install of XP.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Much like Triggers broom, my PC has had the same case for a decade. It might have had five different motherboards, processors, memory and graphics cards... So surely I'd be ok on their license. Likely story.

    Though I was never going to buy it anyway, I do about two office files a year outside work and it's nothing LO or Google Docs can't handle.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Same case for a decade?

      I take it that you have a plastic beige one?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Same case for a decade?

        Nope, I invested in a nice black aluminium Lian Li PC6070B in 2002! Turns out despite everyone raving over BTX the following year or so, it turned out remarkably future proof.

        It's only real problem has been it didn't foresee the rise of the 3ft graphics card and larger CPU coolers, so I had to put the hard drives in a hot swap bay. Though, in reality the need for a physical drive is nearly pointless now so I do have plenty of space up there and now with SSDs they will fit in the place where the hard drives wouldn't. Funny how it all works out really. Because of the removable motherboard tray, some larger heatpipe coolers won't fit (but can be fitted once it's slid in)... and there is no real useful mounting point for something like a Corsair H60... though the largest air cooler I did fit was the Scythe Infinity, which was absolutely ridiculous.

        1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

          Re: Same case for a decade?

          BTX - What a waste of time!

          My brother brought me a Dell something-or-other that had stopped working and he wanted fixing. No problem says I, and open the case.

          Hmm, something wrong here, everything's arse about face. Ahhh. BTX mobo.

          Could I find anything either retail, eBay or other tat bizarre. No.

          Could not even reuse the case. Stripped the reusable bits and scrapped what remained.

  7. mark l 2 Silver badge

    What if you run it in a virtual machine, a virtual PC would still be the same PC if you copied the VM over to another physical PC a few years down the line.

    But then just like the OEM versions of Windows which no one sells the COA labels for without the PC do they ;)

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      @mark l 2

      Typically, if you move a VM to a new PC, the guest sees the change of processor. Quite possibly it seems a change of motherboard, too. These are the changes that Microsoft are least likely to write off as "typical hardware upgrades". You VM will, however, have the same network card and hard disc (and possibly also graphics adapter). These are the changes the Microsoft are most likely to ignore for licensing purposes.

  8. Khaptain Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Who actually buys office anyway ?

    Serious question :

    Obviously most people on El Reg will have Enterprise, MSDN copies.( Ok, the Windows crowd will)

    Employees machines use Enterprise licences.

    Student get it "free" from their university ( or LO or alternative).

    Linux folks use LO or alternatives.

    Pirates download it in torrents.

    Grannies and Grandpas dont really need it ( well not many of them).

    Teenagers have got more interesting things to do.

    The unemployed wont buy such an expensive piece of software when notepad is usually OK.

    So who is actually left and what actual percentage of the userbase does this relate to ?

    Small clubs and associations ?

    A very minor percentage of the working population ?

    Obviously someone outside of the above list is buying it but is is very difficult to imagine who exactly.

    Anyone have any stats or actual figures ?

    <--- Paris doesn't need it, she once tried to classify her nail polish collection with Excel but it left coloured marks on the screen.....

    1. Dazed and Confused

      Re: Who actually buys office anyway ?


      the millions of small businesses?

      all those people who get sent office doc files that don't quite work right in LO.

      1. P. Lee

        Re: Who actually buys office anyway ?

        Keep squeezing a small-biz and you'll find LO works "well enough."

        Its a dangerous game MS are playing. It amazes me that so many businesses are insisting that there is no economic downturn and profits must keep going up.

      2. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Who actually buys office anyway ?

        "...millions of small businesses?"

        Close, but more like...

        millions of small businesses who haven't yet used an alternative, but claimed they "tried".

        1. Dazed and Confused

          Re: Who actually buys office anyway ?

          > millions of small businesses who haven't yet used an alternative, but claimed they "tried".

          Oh, believe me, I've tried.

          I've got rows of Linux boxes around me, but I can't escape for M$Office, my customers communicate with me in orifice files and I keep finding formatting inconsistencies between LO and M$. Just working in LO often works better and more consistently than using M$ which lets face ain't ever going to win any prizes for SW quality (why can't it consistently position text boxes for example - my most recent screaming fit), but sadly I'm stuck in a world which uses M$ and so I need to be able to speak orifice.

        2. SleepGuy
          Thumb Down

          Re: Who actually buys office anyway ?

          Uh, many of us *HAVE* tried. Try opening an RTF file that uses tables and form fields in LibreOffice. The file is completely mangled. Try document protection (the little padlock that is on Office 2003) to prevent the main document from being edited by allowing only the form fields to be filled. How about just try tabbing from form field to form field when the document is locked (Of course locking and unlocking is a multi-step process in Libre Office). It's a huge mess. So yes, I have a stack of Office 2003 licenses for the "small business" I work for. I've tried every alternative but we must use .RTF for compatibility with other software we use and the alternative office suites just don't work.

      3. LateNightLarry

        Re: Who actually buys office anyway ?

        Hundreds of federal and state and local government agencies.,. The USPS probably buys about 200,000 copies of MS Office for all of its computer systems in the administrative and post offices nationwide... Of course, they may not upgrade it for 3-5 years, until the next rollout of computer systems which will be even more locked down than the current ones.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Who actually buys office anyway ?

        People who fall into a demographic technically known as "suckers".

    2. Old Handle

      Re: Who actually buys office anyway ?

      According to Microsoft, nobody.

      1. tony2heads

        Re: Who actually buys office anyway ?

        Nobody buys OFFICE, just buy a license to use office

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Who actually buys office anyway ? @khaptain

      You're not from this planet are you, judging by the inane comment......

    4. Khaptain Silver badge

      Re: Who actually buys office anyway ?

      Judging by some of the above comments, it appears that some of you didn't actually bother readingor trying to understand what was written. I would hazard a guess that some of you didn't actually get past the comment title. Or alternateively you don't actually work in IT and therefore don't understand what Enterprise licences or MSDN are.

      I will allow you the pleasure of looking up the difference between an Enterprise Licence ( EASL) and a retail licence. Microsoft have several different licencing options which, although not free, definately help reduce the cost of buying multiple licences.

    5. James 51

      Re: Who actually buys office anyway ?

      Student get it "free" from their university ( or LO or alternative).

      OU students get it for £42 approx. Not that much but certainly not free.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    I would tell them to....

    ...stick their sh*t software up their collective ar*es.

    But to be honest, I haven't used any of their stuff for years.

    LibreOffice does me and the family fine and has done in one form or another for years.

  10. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Office 2010 PKC

    Will those people who bought a laptop and paid extra for a copy of Office 2010 to be bundled with it be happy to find out they can't take it with them to the next computer? They'd probably feel entirely justified in pirating it on their next computer, it wasn't so long ago that bundled software meant a DVD being included in the box.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Office 2010 PKC

      There was a copy of that installed on the Dell I bought, never activated it though and instead bought a retail version which I upgraded with a student licence. Have moved it several times, and correctly I might add.

      However the sneaky partition still resides on the hard drive just waiting to ambush me.

  11. Pomgolian

    May I be the first to say..

    ...Fark that for a game of soldiers.

    1. AndrueC Silver badge

      Re: May I be the first to say..

      Farkin' 'ell.

  12. asdf


    Yet another phase in the corporation slowly becoming irrelevant cycle. Monetizing (without vaseline) existing customers even harder to make it appear you are still growing and healthy. Unfortunately Apple is also starting to enter this phase but Microsoft is farther along.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: hmm

      'Monetizing (without vaseline) ' - awesome new phrase - thank you!

  13. Paul Dx

    MS, FOAD !!

    That is all.

    1. Swarthy

      Re: MS, FOAD !!

      MS, FOADIAF !!

      -there, fixed that for you.

  14. JaitcH

    Who actually reads or even cares about licences?

    I stopped buying originals after sending a defective OEM version of Windows back to MS and they 'lost' it.

    Our local copy shop, only kilometres from MS VietNam, always laughs at the 'suits' from MS who regularly visit and tell him he is illegal or asks he want to sell legal MS products. The 'copyright' squad of Vietnamese Plods hasn't been around for a couple of years now - I guess their inspection 'sting' has faded, ever since they were forced to issue Notices advising when they were coming!

    His prices are unchanged, USD$1, for a DVD crammed with all manner of MS software starting with the latest versions.

    Really free enterprise rules!

    1. Amorous Cowherder

      Re: Who actually reads or even cares about licences?

      Take it this guy has never heard the song, 'Don't copy that floppy!'?

  15. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    Hey customer, not feeling f*cked enough? Smell Ballmer's sweaty armpits, then.

    So we will have yet another one of those NONREMOVABLE UNDER PENALTY OF DEATH ... I mean CONTRACT BREACH ... stickers on our machines?


  16. ceebee

    interesting move there Microsoft....

    This goes with the apparent move to lock down games to a single xBox (or Playstation).

    Microsoft and other players are trying to kill the secondhand software and gaming market as well as extract maximum cash from the punters now via subscriptions and sleight of hand changes to licensing and pricing (witness Mac Office prices increases).

    So goodbye MS. The new Office is ok but there is nothing in Office 2013 I need particularly that is not in Office 2003 for which i have a legitimate and TRANSFERABLE enduring licence. (And do not have to put up with the awful ribbon UI).

    LibreOffice is getting there and includes a vector drawing package that Office has never had, so a combination of Office 2003 and LO does me fine.

    MS has rocks in its head if it thinks I am going to pay a subscription fee for basic word processing!!

  17. Grikath

    Simple question:

    If anyone in a physical shop would insist on conditions of sale like this, what would be your answer? MS better install revolving doors.

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: Simple question:

      Exactly. For example:

      End Wearer License Agreement for MS Coat 2013

      The licensee is granted permission to wear MS Coat (henceforth known as 'coat' or 'the coat') for one season only. The coat is not transferable to another user or other season except where the licensee dies within the original season in which case the coat may be transferred to the licensee's next of kin on presentation of a death certificate, for the remainder of the season only.

  18. h3

    If this does cause libreoffice to get much greater marketshare it will be interesting to see how MS reacts then.

    (They usually are at their best when they are losing marketshare.)

    Home users usually get MAK keys. (Or it installed if they take their PC to work.

    1. Dazed and Confused

      Re: it will be interesting to see how MS reacts then.

      Oh we know how they'll react.

      They'll do the Apple and send the lawyers in.

  19. Herby

    One could really start a business of...

    ...selling Libre Office licenses. Right here, for sale cheap! When it asks for the license key, enter this magic number. Only $1.00 with updates available for free!

    What a business model.

    Of course, it might be interesting to sell install DVDs (or whatever media works) of Libre Office in a retail store. It would cost about $10.00 each (media/duplication costs). Hung on a nice rack.

    1. Horridbloke

      Re: One could really start a business of...

      I'm pretty sure Tesco here in the UK were selling a branded / supported / disguised variant of Openoffice for £10 several years back.

  20. 4ecks

    Just had look at the "License"

    Now I'm confused, can I or can't I install the software on a VM. The MSLA appears to contradict itself, and if so does it then invalidate the MSLA?

    1. dkjd

      Re: Just had look at the "License"

      Not sure about office, but if you run windows in a VM under windows then you need two windows licences, one for the main "windows" and another for the copy running in the VM.

      1. Wensleydale Cheese

        Re: Just had look at the "License"


        "if you run windows in a VM under windows then you need two windows licences, one for the main "windows" and another for the copy running in the VM."

        Not if you are running a non-WIndows host. I have Windows Home Server 2011, Windows 7 and Windows 8 running here in VMs hosted by Linux and OS X.

        1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

          @Wensleydale Cheese

          Ah, but you probably can't use the Windows license that came with the computer in the VM. Microsoft were very careful about the time it changed the EULA for Vista to only allow the higher tier of Windows licences (did they call it ultimate or elite or something like that) in a VM.

          If you bought any system pre-built and pre-installed, it is exceptionally unlikely that you had this type of Windows license with it.

          As you can probably tell, I'm not a Windows user myself, although I did peruse the EULA for Win7 when I built my youngest kids PCs. There's a lot in the various MS EULA that I don't like (particularly about gathering and sharing information about you), but the kids wanted to be able to run mainstream games, so what choice did I have.

          My favourite clause of ridicule in a MS EULA was in the XP Home one, which tried to limit the number of systems (unspecified what constituted a system) on a home network to 5 or less by prohibiting you from connecting to more than 4 other systems from a computer running XP Home, but then XP itself trawling the what it could see and trying to stick it's fingers into anything it found. Completely unenforceable clause. The one for the old Microsoft Intellitype keyboard (seriously, an EULA for a keyboard! - well strictly for the driver software although it was stuck to the back of the keyboard) was a hoot as well.

      2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Windows in a VM

        The majority of Windows licences are either OEM or some sort of volume licence deal. The licence terms for the former prohibit use in a VM because it is not the hardware it was pre-installed on. The licence terms for the latter are typically lax enough that "using up" two licences wouldn't actually be a problem.

      3. Dazed and Confused

        Re: Just had look at the "License"

        Not sure about office, but if you run windows in a VM under windows then you need two windows licences, one for the main "windows" and another for the copy running in the VM.

        Bend over Mr customer

        Now pull your pants down

        this won't hurt a bit..

  21. Sil
    Thumb Down


    Software vendors love to write illegal clauses in their license agreements.

    If I remember correctly a European court deemed illegal to forbid software license resale.

    Not a lawyer but I don't see how such a restrictive clause can be legal and I will welcome its challenge in a court of law.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Illegal

      It's a pity that it isn't illegal to knowingly include illegal terms in a licence for the purposes of denying non-lawyers of their rights.

      1. pepper

        Re: Illegal

        That would be nice Ken, it should come with a severe punishment, maybe fully invalidating the license from that point onwards?

  22. IJC

    Why do you care?

    So much hatred for so little reason. Primarily from people clearly stating they don't or won't use the offending product anyway!

    Microsoft's licenses are no more or less draconian than most other commercial software licenses. If you don't like the license don't buy the product. Nobody is forcing you. If you don't care enough to spend a few minutes learning what you are spending your money on that is your problem, not Microsoft's. Caveat Emptor.

    At the end of the day it is their product and they can do what the hell they like with it. If people care enough they'll use an alternative. Most people don't care so Microsoft carries on making big buckets of money and people whinge and whine it ain't fair. Exploiting people's laziness, ignorance and stupidity is hardly a new game. Nothing unique about Microsoft in that.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why do you care?

      "If you don't like the license don't buy the product". Exactly, I hope more and more companies and people do just that.

    2. Marshalltown

      You have got to be jesting

      In the US many small businesses do business with city, county, state or federal agencies who _require_ documents in MS defined formats. These agencies want to be able to review, mark up, and return such documents for finalization. Attempting to change horses in midstream can be astonishingly expensive. MS has worked to distance itself from older interface types and the younger office help don't know anything else. The owners ... who knows what they think? My boss wants "something in a box." Never understood it, but that's the response when I mention switching. The one point where we continue to disagree is that I will not do statistics with Excel - or any spreadsheet for that matter. R is the tool of choice. Pointing out that R is used world-wide by governments and companies, simply gets a glassy, "but it's off the internet. What about viruses?"

      When I work at home, I usually use LO, but heavily formatted Word docs frequently mutate into catastrophic states, so I retain a functional copy of Office one a Windows machine that's rarely booted.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: You have got to be jesting

        That is a prime example of why government offices should forced to use Open Source. We all know that Microsoft's open document format is a farce. Of course, bureaucrats and politicians love their little cash envelopes and there's much less, to none, of that if the IT guys in your own department are smart enough to set you with Open Source.

      2. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

        Re: You have got to be jesting @Marshalltown

        I'm nit-picking here, but if all you have to use is an MS file format, that does not prohibit you using OO or LO.

        Of course, if they also want the file to be formatted the same, then you should really avoid MS file formats completely. (Did you notice? Changing the target printer often upsets the careful formatting even in the same version of Word!)

        If you definitely want to make sure a documents looks correct, you really need to use a proper page description language.

    3. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Why do you care?

      Why do I (we) care? Only Microsoft control the file format and only Microsoft can guarantee that your documents can be saved and read properly yet you're being offered an office suite with the same terms and conditions as Nintendo WiiWare games (one non-transferable licence linked to the machine), only it's not 500 points and the information it reads and saves is far more important than a list of high scores.

      If you would like to transfer the suite to your other machines you've got to pay rent for the privilege (Office 365).

      Not even Apple manages that, their iWork programs are linked to the user's Apple ID.

      1. IJC

        Re: Why do you care?

        You obviously have no idea of the full range of Office licenses available do you?

        If you want to read documents sent by someone else but don't want to buy Office there is always the free viewer.

        The license being discussed is a non-commercial license for a single machine offered through retail outlets, so yes it is comparable to the games you buy for a console.

        If you want to do anything other than use it on one single machine then you buy a different license. Why is that so hard to understand? No-one is forcing you to buy this particular license.

        If you don't want to buy a license from Microsoft buy a different office suite or download a free one. You can still use the viewer to see what documents should look like.

        Its your choice.

        As you say you can always choose Apple. But that's like jumping out of the frying pan into the fire isn't it?

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Legalities? Where's the EU when you need them

    “the license may never be transferred”

    Is this the kind of thing that could be overturned by the courts, if someone decides to find the motivation and money to challenge it? Surely, this is the kind of thing an EU commission should look into and fine them for, free alternatives or not? It seems an unfair contract to sell someone a product for devices which commonly get changed frequently (how many people change laptops every 2-3 years?), offer features to automatically move your settings and data over to the new machine but refuse to let you transfer your software, even manually.

    I suppose, Microsoft know there are free alternatives out there and their summer is over. So, rather than compete with free software by lowering prices, the strategy is to go the opposite way and squeeze the cow as hard as they can until the last drop of milk comes out.

    This is a company is increasingly desperate times. And you know what increasingly desperate times will inevitably lead to...

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Legalities? Where's the EU when you need them

      The EU is currently busy in a lawsuit against Luxembourg and France because they tax e-books at 6% VAT instead of [something higher agreeable to I don't know who].

      Please hold the line... [Ode to Joy sounds through the speaker]

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Tomtom Club

    If you bought a satnav and someone crashed into your car so you replaced it (either bought a new one or the insurance gave you a replacement), only to find that you had to buy a new satnav even though the old one was perfectly fine, wouldn't that be rather unfair of the satnav manufacturer?

    The thing is, a satnav is a tangible device whereas software is virtual, which somehow means different rules apply. So how come the same companies tell us that pirating software is theft, just like stealing a grandmother's jewellery, dismissing the argument that someone who wouldn't buy the software but does use a free copy is not a lost sale and has not caused the company to spend any extra money, not even on an installation disc? I'm not arguing either way for piracy, just pointing out how software companies like to argue both ways when it suits them.

    It's ok, I've overstood. This is a wordy rappinghood.

  25. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge


    wrong with this install

    Type in company name and keycode, that binds it to a PC,

    Build new PC


    Type in name and keycode binds it to that PC and cancels the software on old PC.

    But then its all about shoving people onto office 365 and them paying $$$ to rent software....... I wonder what will happen...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: whats

      "Type in name and keycode binds it to that PC and cancels the software on old PC."

      Uninstalling Norton Internet Security for 3 PCs automatically updates the associated online account to credit the licence. This was a pleasant surprise when a user changed their mind about which laptop model they wanted. It is the sort of intelligent business behaviour one hopes for - even though traumas with MS Office had suggested it might be otherwise.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: whats

        More fool him for using Norton...

  26. David Webb

    Wasn't there a recent ruling in the EU about people having a legal right to sell on software if they no longer require it? Yep....

    Where the copyright holder makes available to his customer a copy - tangible or intangible - and at the same time concludes, in return form payment of a fee, a licence agreement granting the customer the right to use that copy for an unlimited period, that rightholder sells the copy to the customer and thus exhausts his exclusive distribution right. Such a transaction involves a transfer of the right of ownership of the copy. Therefore, even if the licence prohibits a further transfer, the rightholder can no longer oppose the resale of that copy.

  27. southpacificpom

    Away with the fairies

    Microsoft are truly away with the fairies...

    1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      Re: Away with the fairies

      Sorry, I just had this picture of a fat Ballmer fairy with wings buzzing around the halls of Redmond. Argh.

      Pass the mind soap, please..

  28. Charles Manning

    Don't like it, DON'T BUY IT!

    MS have the right to impose any restrictions they want. You have the right to refuse to purchase.

    If MS told you that you needed a special upgrade to use Office on Sundays and public holidays - fine.

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Don't like it, DON'T BUY IT!

      Believe me, I won't.

      Microsoft have the right to imposesome restrictions on the sale of their software (Canada still has a handful of consumer protection laws, unlike the savages to the south of us) and I have the right to tell Microsoft to eat a sack of wiggling, severed dicks. Fuck Microsoft's licensing department with a Russian meteor. Better yet, fuck them with a Yucatan meteor.

      I will continue my practice of donating the cost of an MS licence to the Libre Office foundation for every install of that software I make. I'm not afraid of paying good money for good software. I do however have fundemental ethical objections to the bullshit terms and restrictions that Microsoft builds into bloody everything they make. More so to the hundreds of millions they spend on lobbying around the world to make sure that we have fewer consumer rights this year than last. Bastards.

      1. PT

        Re: Don't like it, DON'T BUY IT!

        No, please not a Yucatan meteor. I only live 1500 miles from Redmond, and in any case they're too close to Yellowstone for comfort.. A Tunguska meteor will be quite sufficient.

        1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

          Sometimes the only way to be sure...

 to drop a large rock on it from space.


          Where's my Space Core icon?

      2. jake Silver badge

        Re: Don't like it, DON'T BUY IT!

        Sure changing your tune, there, Mr. Pott. You used to claim (under a year ago) that MS was the only software available that worked properly in RealWorld[tm] offices.

        You also used to claim to dislike innocent civilians being killed by random acts. Do you know how many people, world-wide, would die as a result of you shooting off your mouth & bringing down a Chicxulub event, targeting the Microsoft licensing department? Neither do I, but it would probably be far more humans dead than all the wars in history combined. That would be far fewer than the zero dead or wounded as a result of my legally owned & operated fully automatic weapons ...

        You also used to claim that you, as a Canadian, were more civilized than those of us in the Southern half of the North American Continent. I mean, seriously, forcing people to eat a sack of wiggling, severed dicks JUST because they offer a bit of code that you have grown to hate? Even though nobody has ever forced you to use it, much less purchase it? Very civilized, Mr. Pott.

        I dislike MS products along with the rest of all y'all, but *that* outburst was just plain ridiculous. I didn't even bother giving it a "thumbs down", because I can't be arsed to do something so utterly useless.

        (signed) A. Savage ... who knows that the cowardly Mr. Pott has me ::plonked::, thanks to the gawd/ess-like powers of the flashy gold-badge thingie.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Don't like it, DON'T BUY IT!

          Sorry to gang up on you, but I'm actually with him on the rock thing. After all, it was the US who came up with the term "collateral damage".. Not that I condone the killing of innocent people, but here too we must look at the greater good.

          And it's not his fault you can't tell sarcasm from reality.

          1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

            Re: Don't like it, DON'T BUY IT!

            I am aware of collateral damage. I am simply more interested in ensuring the job is done right the first time. >:)

  29. Captain DaFt

    Scenario in my head (For US)

    Another episode of DaFt's Theater of the absurd

    Tax Agent: "May I help you?"

    Bob: "Yes, I'm here for a refund on the tax you mistakenly collected on my online acquisitions of MS office 2013."

    Tax agent: "Refund? You purchased 10 copies, and owe tax on each purchase."

    Bob: "But I didn't purchase them, did I?" Shows paperwork with EULAs "As you can see here, I leased them, nice and legal, It's Microsoft that owes taxes for income, not me for purchasing, since I did no such thing!"

    Tax Agent: looks confused "One moment, I'll have to check this against the database." Shuffles papers, searches on computer, call in boss, confers in whispers, boss looks through data, more whispers, boss leaves. "Well, it seems that legally, you are correct, and you should get a refund in 6 to 8 weeks,"

    Bob: " Well, now that that's sorted, I'd like to apply the lease amounts against the new small business incentive, which gives me a full refund on the lease, plus 15%, I have the paperwork here."

    Tax Agent: "Gnarr!"

    Two weeks later, at Microsoft HQ:

    A chair flies through a window as Ballmer is heard screaming, "WTF do you mean we're having to pay taxes for people to buy the piece of..."

    Underling from accounting: "Well, we did state that it's a lease, not a purchase, so we're accountable for taxes on leases collected... And worse, Congress just passed an emergency bill making us liable for 75% of the cash it's paying out in its small business incentive package, since in the past two weeks, the majority of the incentive has been paid out to cover our leases."

    A large oak desk follows the chair in flight. Ballmer: "GODDAMMIT! Is there any good news?"

    Underling from accounting: "Well, Since word of this has spread on the Internet, we've sold.. er, leased nearly 400 million copies of Office 2013 in the past two weeks alone!!"

    1. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Scenario in my head (For US)

      Capt Daft

      Great story. It needs something about the accounting guy telling Balmer that he is giving notice and will be starting at Google in 2 weeks.

    2. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      Re: Scenario in my head (For US)

      You know, I'd buy, sorry, lease a copy if that was a likely scenario, but only if we got a webstreamed camera in Ballmer's office when he's told. I'm sure that if we sold access to that webcam we'd have more than enough money to properly support LibreOffice..

  30. Chairo

    It wouldn't be the full MS experience

    without a little pain, would it? I mean - a retarded user interface, file formats which change from version to version - special experiences are not cheap. Paying more just adds to the fun, so Microsoft is actually doing you a favor.

    For everyone else - you still have the choice to move to any other free or commercial software package if you don't like Microsoft's terms.

    Oh and one more thing - if you are a professional who needs the original Microsoft Office for whatever reason - you have the choice between two different pains - paying the Microsoft tax or living with slightly changing document stiles. And don't start whining around that your precious document does not look 100% identical when opened with something else than the real thing! If you do DTP with MS-Word you cannot be helped and anyway the next incarnation of MS-Office will most likely break your document, so stop whining around, please.

  31. julianh72

    I've probably bought my last software from Microsoft then

    It's Microsoft's prerogative, I guess, to licence their product on any terms they see fit. I'm happy to pay a "fair" price for software that I use, but I prefer to buy rather than rent, especially if it's "core" software, and I'll pay for upgrades if / when I see fit. (like when they add some new functionality that I actually want / need.) Recently, it's been getting harder and harder to see any good reason to pay with my own money for the genuine Microsoft Office (compared to the 95% + compatible free / cheap alternatives), but when you could pick up Home / Student versions for around $100 for 3 - 5 installs, and transferable when I upgraded one of our PCs, that was a price I could bear for the comfort of being 100% compatible.

    This is a step to far for me. I'm already dreading the thought that my next PC will almost certainly come with Windows 8 pre-installed, so that alone has encouraged me to "limp along" with our current suite of Windows 7 machines until the OS shakes itself out. I may have to bite the bullet if / when my work switches to Windows 8 - but that's not going to be for a few years yet, since we are still only half-way through the process of migrating to Windows 7!

    This latest decision means my next computer (if / when I eventually buy it) will be getting one of the free alternatives (probably Libre Office, from what I am reading), and if it works for me, I can't see me ever going back to Microsoft for Office software again - their loss, not mine!

    I suspect I won't be the only former Microsoft customer feeling this way ...

  32. MachDiamond Silver badge

    Non-work day

    I had to go to a meeting today at a government office. I had my laptop with me and I had arrived early. I got some work done since the meeting started late in addition to me being early. The one thing I did not have and could not get is internet access. I don't work outside of my office often enough to get a cellular modem for the laptop. If I understand O365 correctly, I will need to be online for it to work or I will need to be online in case it wants to check in with the "collective". Let's add in the fact that I work on a Mac and pretty sure that O365 only works on Windows. I didn't read through the whole FAQ on the M$ site. IF I used M$ Office 365 I would have to run it under VMware which I do have although I do not let the Windows VM talk to the internet. Mac isn't completely hardened against attacks, but it's has to be admitted that there are orders of magnitudes less eBugs targeted at it. My point is that in the situation which obtained today I would have not been able to get any work done if the software had to be connected to the Borg.

    I use my home office computer or my laptop at any given time and I want to be able to install any purchased software on both machines without having to buy two copies. It's just like the CD's I have ripped and transferred to my iPod. I'm either listening to the disc or the iPod at one time, no conflict. Why can't software companies get used to the idea?

    Don't turn me in but I have pirate copies of software on my computer. I also have the purchased box set sitting on the shelf. The reason I do it that way sometimes is that the piracy protection code is a PIA and it's easier to have a copy where all of that has been stripped out. It also means that software that will tell you what the serial number is in the info box isn't giving out the number that is registered to me. It would really suck to have a serial number of mine for an expensive application get invalidated if somebody copied it down and sent it out online.

  33. tempemeaty
    Big Brother

    Steve Ballmer is just trying to wear us down.

    Just an additional way to force people into software as a net connection dependent ongoing keep paying forever service. Steve Ballmer is a fat chair throwing tyrant and I've grown as tired of his abusive treatment of customers as I can handle.

    May a thousand thousand camels leave unwanted gifts in Steve Ballmers' bath room.

    May he be forced to dig out his bathroom with a spoon.

  34. Gil Grissum

    I don't think so

    Microsoft is not in a position to push anyone into doing anything. There are alternatives to Office 365 and Office 2013. I won't be getting either of Microsoft's new Office extortion attempts. Good luck with that, Microsoft.

  35. ceebee

    i don't normally double post on a topic but...

    Quite separately, I checked the system requirements for Office 2013.

    Win7 or Win8

    1ghz processor,

    1024x576 pixel screen, 64mb video ram

    .NET 3.5, 4.0 or 4.5

    3gb of disk space (3gb!!!!!)

    so NO Vista or WinXP users may apply.

    Whilst I can understand the requirements I find it odd that Vista is not supported? What is missing from Vista that is required in Office 2013? It is just an office suite we are talking about!!!!!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: i don't normally double post on a topic but...

      "Whilst I can understand the requirements I find it odd that Vista is not supported? What is missing from Vista that is required in Office 2013? It is just an office suite we are talking about!!!!!"

      That MS wants Vista killed and to sell an upgrade to Win 8. More money in their pocket.

    2. graeme leggett Silver badge

      Re: i don't normally double post on a topic but...

      Some elements of Vista that they din't think was worth coding around for the relatively small number of people who had Vista and hadn't bought an Office package yet?

      It's not necessarily the case that Office 2013 won't work on Vista (or even XP) but they don't want to be helping you to run it on Vista, or sorting out problems when it doesn't work.

      Office 97 isn't supported on Windows 7 but it does mostly work - with XP mode.

      1. Zimmer

        Deja vu all over again

        Similar situation in 2002.. 3 legit copies of Office Pro which would not install on new XP machine.... not used MS Office since.. not missed it.. Not missed MS Win much since 2004, either...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Faulty tower sales

      Shhhh! Don't mention Vista!

      Bill Gates mentioned it once, but I think he got away with it.

    4. chrisf1

      Re: i don't normally double post on a topic but...

      This oddly points to the subscription I wish they would do for consumers. A modest annual fee for a properly supported and evolving operating system. I will - eventually - find that my Win XP partition stops being of any relevance - its already vastly reduced.

      I'm very unlikely to buy another one from them, especially as the pricing structure and upgrade paths available actively puts me off as it penalises the choice of staying a version behind the bleeding edge and becomes increasingly hard to do maintenance and run my system as I would choose.

      Oh well more experience of cross platform applications it is then if you insist Mr Ballmer! I'll spend the money on an Android tablet instead.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If all Intel chips had full virtualization capabilities that would open up what many would do. Run Windows as a Guest OS and when you need to migrate to a new machine, you just move the VM over. No need to worry about licenses at all. The real problem is getting all of the hardware to me directly accessible by the host OS.

    1. Roo

      Using VMs to work around broken software & unreasonable restrictions on usage...

      ... removes the incentive for vendors to stop screwing you. In some cases it'll give them another revenue stream to milk (eg: HyperV). In my case I have found that using an alternative product that doesn't force me to use a VM to run it is more cost effective in terms of time and money.

      License compliance is not free folks, I strongly recommend that you factor that into your purchasing decisions. ;)

  37. James O'Shea

    Game over

    I just called Microsoft NonSupport and had a nice chat with someone named (I'm not making this up) 'Jules'. Except that he sure didn't sound like a Jules. But hey.

    Jules insisted that the license didn't mean what it clearly said. Jules said, that, for instance, if I provided Customer Support with the license key, _of course_ I could reinstall Office 2013 on a new machine, should my old one be missing or destroyed or something. And _of course_ there would be no charge for this. I asked Jules to point out where this was stated in the license agreement, or, indeed, anywhere in writing from Microsoft. Jules could not point me to any such written statement.

    I informed Jules that I had, either personally or through work, purchased MS Office going back to Office 95, and before that, Word going back to 1.0.5 for Mac and Excel 1 for Mac and before _that_ MultiPlan and Chart. I further informed Jules that Microsoft would never, ever, see so much as a penny from me or from any company where I have purchasing approval, ever again. I further informed Jules that I hope and pray that this conversation really was being recorded, and that someone senior at Microsoft would actually pay attention, though I doubted it. I then hung up.

    I suspect that the office will be using Office 2010 for a very, very, VERY long time, or until some other office suite produces acceptable results. Current versions of LO and OO don't, quite, deliver acceptable results; they're still too clunky. However, if necessary I can live with clunky.

    Microsoft can kiss my ass.

  38. Magani
    Thumb Down

    Microsoft Office 365

    The gift you keep on giving (to Microsoft).

  39. Boo Radley

    Why Buy ANY Office Product?

    I can't help but feel that all of you are assuming that the average Office user would either READ or UNDERSTAND the License [and its implications] before purchasing it. And that this would actually influence the buying habits of average Sheeple. People are stupid, they buy what big companies tell them to buy.

    My first [and last] Micro$oft purchase was Win95 that came with a new pc that my now-ex girlfriend Silent-Treatmented me into buying. In 1995. And I have never used nor felt the need to use ANY Office product. And I never will.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Why Buy ANY Office Product?

      Wow, you should self-publish that story.

    2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Why Buy ANY Office Product?

      "that my now-ex girlfriend Silent-Treatmented me into buying"

      Is that a euphemism for having her mouth full, or for refusing to speak to you? I'm sure others will want clarification on this point, too. It makes quite a difference to the interpretation of the story.

      1. Boo Radley

        Re: Why Buy ANY Office Product?

        She would frequently give me the Silent Treatment for unspecified transgressions. Either that, or the Frying Pan to the Head. And despite her awesome Pot Roast, I eventually had to get rid of her.

  40. johnwerneken

    Intellectual Property is Theft, its a form of Piracy itself

    That which of its nature is capable of multiple non-exclusive simultaneous uses, and which cannot be secured, cannot be property. Period. It can be like a Linux distro, copyrighted, so that people other than the creators have difficulty selling it or anything derived from it. And supported, not necessarily for free and sometimes at a steep charge indeed. Any other business model is a crime against nature.

    I have never put up with anyone else's opinions about their so-called property and I do not propose to start doing so now or at any later time. I am not the sort of person who EVER considers consequences, everything to me is self-validating at the time done or just plain wrong, so don't bother shaking rewards or punishments at me, save those for Church where one might find people who believe in such.

  41. unitron

    If that's the full retail version's restrictions...

    ...imagine what the OEM is going to be like.

    1. Danny 14

      Re: If that's the full retail version's restrictions...

      Oem is already per pc. There are ways around it with regards to pc repairs but again you could install it on new systems. If you changed the mobo for a different version then you need to phone up for a reset.

      VL will be the same per seat, pc or FTE as appropriate. KMS doesn't care about pcs, just the IDs requested.

  42. Danny 14

    NNo different from oem software but certainly different for a boxed product. Would be interesting to see what they think of vm's as technically they will be the same system for ever.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    VBA question

    Over the years I've used VBA in Excel as an easy way to control an IE Webbrowser object. It gives access to the DOM of any website without any permissions problems.

    Do the Libre/Free Office versions emulate VBA?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: VBA question

      Nope, they don't support VBA but you may well find AutoIt to be even easier.

  44. Pen-y-gors

    Personally I'd be quite happy with a one-use licence

    Provided the price reflected the licence change - I used the same copy of Office 2000 on 3 different machines over the years and my Office 2007 is also on its third machine - so if M$ would kindly reduce the price to say, £30, then I'd be happy to get a new copy for each PC - so long as they continue to sell old versions without that blasted ribbon!

    Maybe they should launch Office Light - a cheap version that only includes the functionality that the majority of real people actually want/need.

    No, hang on, I think I'll stick to LO...

    1. david bates

      Re: Personally I'd be quite happy with a one-use licence

      That sounds dangerously like WORKS to me....

      Are you really, really sure?

  45. bigfoot780
    IT Angle

    De activation

    Still don't understand why you can't deactivate windows and office

    As you can with photoshop and acronis.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Poison Pills vs. New Features?

    The number of new features added have become inversely proportional to the number of poison pills Microsoft has added to the suite. I was an Expert at Office, particularly Excel for many years for US trading desks. Office 2003 was the last functionally important release.

    So what do I use now? Office 2000 with the 2007 Compatibility viewer. There's no activation and the latter is free. Office 2000 runs on Win7 just fine and it installs in about a minute! When I have to do something using a later version of Office, VM's work nicely as was pointed out already.

  47. Escapee from ubuntu

    If Microsoft was a person... would be time to put them on suicide watch.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Actually, the Microsoft guy is 100% correct

    We think this new lineup offers unmatched choice and value for students, families and everyone in between

    He's ab-so-lu-te-ly correct. 100%. Before this license scam scheme, people were by habit inclined to just be sheep and bleed a bit more to keep Ballmer and co in new furniture, so their choices were limited. This new approach more or less *forces* them to look around for alternatives, and so their options widen - leading to the unmatched choice the Microsoft guy was referring to.

    Well done, Microsoft. Unintended, no doubt, but well done nevertheless.

    1. Vic

      Re: Actually, the Microsoft guy is 100% correct

      > He's ab-so-lu-te-ly correct. 100%

      He is indeed.

      Note the words used very carefully: "unmatched choice and value". Not "good choice and value", merely "unmatched"...

      I can offer "unmatched quality of singing voice"...


  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Formal notification (sample)

    Please let it be known that anyone who sends us files in a newer XML Microsoft-only format will from now on be charged for the conversion. Any files in the formats .docx, xlsx and .pptx will automatically be returned by our email gateway with an error message, a copy of this statement and an alternative email address that is excluded from this filter. Use of that email address implies agreement with the conversion charge as it is not published and thus unlikely to be used by accident.

    Formal bids are to be supplied in either PDF, Open Document Format or non-XML file formats as used in older versions of Microsoft office, typically identified by extensions .doc, .xls and .ppt.Organisations wishing to be considered for our supplier list are expected to take note as the above will be an integrated part of the contractual obligations.

    Internally we mainly work with the older Microsoft file formats to ensure a degree of compatibility with others - any Microsoft package can save in these formats and it means we can access this information on Macs, Linux machines as well as the single Windows machine we were still willing to waste money on, mainly for the aforementioned, chargeable conversions.

    Thank you, and good night.

  50. RyokuMas

    Stupid, stupid, stupid

    Microsoft need to adapt to survive in the changing environment - this kind of idiocy is only going to drive people away.

    Ultimately, Microsoft's self destruction is a bad thing because the market needs choice. I have no particular love for Microsoft given the tricks they've pulled in their time, but I have no wish to see the same sort of thing happen all over again under a Google monopoly - which would also drag Linux through the mud.

  51. Electric sheep

    No problem with that

    Assuming its £19.99?

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You do not own it ...

    So, if they never sell the product to anyone and no-one owns it, then by their own logic i cannot actually steal it even if i download a hacked copy and merrily use it without paying a bean?

    I may be using it without licence but the phrase "piracy is theft" yet again gets questioned on basic grammer!!

    More importantly, theft and copyright are criminal and civil respectively, aren't they?

    I am sure this would not stand up in any court though.

  53. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    "We do not sell our software or your copy of it"

    OK, fine. And we do not buy it.

  54. Wilseus

    The more you tighten your grip, Microsoft...

    ...the more customers will slip through your fingers.

    1. Silverburn

      Re: The more you tighten your grip, Microsoft...

      +1 for the Princess Leia reference.

  55. Wombling_Free

    Replace CPU, replace HDD, replace GFX, keep mouse.

    It's still the same computer, MS. Yes, I am prepared to take it to court.

    1. Dave 15

      Re: Replace CPU, replace HDD, replace GFX, keep mouse.

      You've been watching only fools and horses....

      Trigger claims that he's had his road sweeper's broom for 20 years, adding that the broom has had 17 new heads and 14 new handles

  56. Grant Mitchell

    How does this work for upgrades... what's the dentition of a computer...

    So, if I keep everything but buy a new motherboard... is that a new computer? Then a while later. I drop in a new CPU - new computer yet?. a new case the following year? Raid HD fails, so I replace it...

    I'm guessing it's the CPU, but if the contract says computer, It could easily be argued that a CPU isn't a computer, as it alone is not capable of running the software.

    1. Wilseus

      Re: How does this work for upgrades... what's the dentition of a computer...

      "So, if I keep everything but buy a new motherboard... is that a new computer? Then a while later. I drop in a new CPU - new computer yet?. a new case the following year? Raid HD fails, so I replace it..."

      This is an interesting question, as it's a philosophical one, and is a well known paradox:

      Interestingly the commonly held answer can be different depending on the local culture. In Japan for instance, a building is considered the same one even if it has been completely destroyed by fire and rebuilt.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: How does this work for upgrades... what's the dentition of a computer...

        Yeah, we're responsible for that one. Thank General LeMay.

    2. Rukario

      Re: How does this work for upgrades... what's the dentition of a computer...

      The dentition of a computer... incisors=0, canines=0, premolars=0, molars=0. Therefore,

    3. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      Re: How does this work for upgrades... what's the dentition of a computer...

      For Windows, MS calculate hashs of information about a number of different components in a system (processor, memory, network card, display adapter, disk and controllers, BIOS signature and many others), and actually stores this on their systems as well as in hidden and protected files that not even an Admin user can change. When you change components, the checking process tries to work out how much of the system has changed, and either allows the change or deems it a different computer and asks for re-authentication. It's been like this since XP. It allows you to change processors, disks and display adaptors with relative impunity.

      Unfortunately, now that PCs have heavily integrated motherboards, most of the components Windows check are actually on the mobo. This means that changing that is almost certainly going to trip the 'it's a new computer' check, and has done for much of the last decade. The Microsoft Licensing Centre have been fairly good about this in the past if you've cared to explain, and issued the new authentication strings if requested, but I suspect that is likely to change.

      I suspect that Office will plug into that process, bearing in mind Windows already does in the Genuine Windows (dis-)Advantage tool, and non 365 Office only runs on Windows.

  57. Nick Ryan Silver badge

    Perpetual growth

    It appears to be yet another fall out from the utter bullshit corporate (and government) fallacy of perpetual growth.

    Markets always hit saturation point at some point, they will usually then shrink a little and stabilise. They will not deliver growth of 10-15% year on year for ever as this is neither feasible, realistic or even mathematically possible. It seems that the only people who seem to think that this is possible or desirable or the only stake to aim for are blinkered governments and stock traders.

  58. JDX Gold badge

    Oh MS...

    I really dislike all the hate-tards and quite like Windows, Office & your dev tools. So why do you insist on shooting yourself in the foot so badly at such a key time?

    Do you really think that as the world is getting used to greater flexibility, going the opposite way is going to sit well? Do you believe people will genuinely buy new copies if they upgrade their PC?

    I really want to stay positive but you've making it VERY hard.

  59. nevstah

    if you don't own the software..

    does that mean (in the same way as malware/viruses arent your property) that microsoft can update/change and poke around in the contents of your pc at will? afterall its their property, anything created with it must also be their property? in much the same way as anything i do at my day job belongs to the company i work for?

    1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      Re: if you don't own the software..

      You've already given them that right. It's in the Windows EULA.

  60. Joseph Haig


    One minute they are trumpeting their new Cloud OS and the next they are talking about locking down applications to a single physical machine. Exactly what is their strategy at the moment?

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Anti-cloud?

      To get everyone onto cloud Office aka 365, which doesn't have these restrictions. It's like they really don't want to sell Office 13 at all, so are making everyone jump ship to 365. The worry of course is they might jump ship, but elsewhere.

      I'm very happy with my Office 2007 installation - I think it's a great set of tools - so maybe I'll have to look at 365 at some point, or a combination of 365/LO.

    2. IJC

      Re: Anti-cloud?

      You really have no idea what this discussion is about do you?

  61. JDX Gold badge

    LO cloud?

    Is LO planning to do a 365/g-docs competitor, or do they remain firm that office apps are better as proper applications?

    1. IJC

      Re: LO cloud?

      You have no idea what Office 365 offers do you?

      1. Vic

        Re: LO cloud?

        > You have no idea what Office 365 offers do you?

        You might ilke to think about posting as AC. Your posting history shows something of a trend...


  62. something

    Piracy the better choice

    A paying customer should be rewarded for actually buying a product, rather than punished.

    I mean look at this situation. You decide to actually buy the software. If you have more than one PCs in your house, you need to buy it multiple times (it does not matter that you are a single person and can only use it in one PC at a time). If your hardware breaks, if you upgrade, if you need to reinstall, well even if you fart, best case scenario, a terrible inconvenience of getting into the whole fuss of contacting and resolving the whole case, worst case scenario you have to buy the same thing again.

    Meanwhile in the piracy land, you just use the bloody software mate. No worries. No troubles. No paying extras all the time. No phone calls and frustration to talk with the representatives and sales persons. Free to make copies for safety and backup reasons.

    And now... multiply this for every piece of software that you have... perfect.

    I cannot advocate for piracy as I am a developper myself, but I feel that you have to treat your customers with respect. If they pay you, you have to make them feel first class. The pirated versions should be all the hussle. The paying one should be the easy ride.

    Furthermore, these wordings make all the arguments for piracy fall apart.

    The most obvious and most frequently used argument about piracy, is the theft of a product. But hey! If you go to a store and buy a toaster, then you BUY it - not LICENSE it - and you or anyone else can use it the way you/he want (fuck I can use it, my girlfriend can use it, my mother can use it, my CAT can sit on it). With software.... no... By the way... the toaster has a guarantee if it breaks, does Office has something similar? Silly me...

  63. N2


    Thats all.

  64. Michael Habel

    Stop... Arn't we forgetting about XP Product Activation?

    Cause I know for a fact, having purchased a copy of Home Professional for a long dead Laptop, that I was no longer able to use my Software (e.g. Activate it), on any of my other Hardware. i.e. My Desktop PC.

    I fail to see in the broader strokes how this is more or less any different?

    1. Michael Habel

      Re: Stop... Arn't we forgetting about XP Product Activation?

      Actually IIRC replacing a Graphic / Sound Card, the amount of System RAM, the CPU or even just the Mainboard DID constitute such a change as to imply a new PC install back then.

      I've personally just gone on to use OEM branded stuff, cause it's easier to get upgrades from - Starter Edition to full blown Ultimate Editions, just by copying a few files to the install Disk / ISO / USB Stick to reinstall said Software as its been pre-activated already by the OEM.

      I guess my next main-line OS will likely be Debian or perhaps Mint? Debian 'cause of the back-door learning curb I got over by using Ubuntu. Mint cause its supposed to be like Ubuntu, but with ALL the charm, and no Unity Desktop and Amazon search.

      In any case I suspect that Windows 7 will likely be my last Windows install the PC Workstation is (if not already dead), a dying platform. I for One prefer smaller more mobile platforms like Notebooks, Netbooks, Tablets and or Phones. (Let the down votes commence); But it you think for a moment that the majority of People in this world aren't ready to chuck their Beige Boxes yet for any of the above your only deluding yourselves.

      As for Microsofts draconian licensing policies. My only comment on this is...

      How soon we forget.

  65. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Once upon a time..

    .. Borland licensed software "as a book" - you can use it anywhere, but only you.

    I see some of that idea in the OSX App Store approach which allows you to install the software you bought on any Mac you have a personal account on (and quite a few other software suppliers follow the same route, for instance, Omnigraffle are quite OK with that too - and are quite taken with people asking about that, because it means we play fair.

    From a business perspective it creates a great incentive to buy the more expensive stuff too because I know I can use it where I want to - otherwise I'd have to think on which machine to install it, and plan to be near it when I have an idea that involves that software. Plus - the major risk with the MS approach - if the machine borks I can simply use anther one, or restore from backup on a replacement.

    Frankly, I cannot see who in their right mind would accept this sort of licensing as soon as they are made aware of the alternatives out there. From a business perspective it's almost criminal because it would up the cost of business Continuity Management substantially for no good reason other than that MS needs more money to keep the Titanic a little bit longer afloat.

  66. Fiddler on the roof

    This doesnt make sense.....

    Are they aware that they have competitors in this space? They are behaving like they have the only office suite in the world. It really troubles me that the management at Ms can think this is a good idea given that they make a lot of money from Office. I would have loved to have been at the meeting when the dick head marketeer suggested this. I could have pulled the spasmo face and said are you medically stupid, why do you want to annoy our customers?

  67. Arachnoid

    Hmm so Im renting my copy of Office..........does that mean when it breaks they are legally obliged to send someone round free of charge, to fix it?

    1. JDX Gold badge

      That's why they keep releasing fixes for it after you paid.

    2. IJC

      No. Read the license it's all there. You do know how to read right?

  68. Libreated

    The insanity that is Microsoft

    This move is no big surprise and, let's face it, it's not a move to promote the fat version of office, just to protect the installed base of 2007/10. There's a case to be made that imagination begets mantra, begets doctrine, begets dictat. This is the Microsoft of today - stuffed if they do nothing, stuffed if they do something. With Google Docs and apps, Libre Office and other web apps, Office from Microsoft has in some ways lost it's rationale. A cause without foundation.

    I don't see any other way for Redmond except down subscription routes, and this move effectively makes installed Office retail so un-attractive that subscription seems heavenly for the mobile (installed) user.

    Insanity? Yes, by not succeeding with Office365 in the numbers, Microsoft will be seen by its most loyal base (business) as un-workable in the hardware-mobile world. Shame.

    1. Dave 15

      Re: The insanity that is Microsoft

      Office365 is not a viable product for many people.

      I use my laptop on the train, the plane, in hotels. I need to use it when I move house and the broadband isn't yet in place... I can't if I don't have the damned applications and the damned data actually on the damned machine can I? And no, using a mobile phone as a model is (a) prohibitively expensive, (b) damned slow, (c) totally impractical on planes, trains and about 80% of the UK where there is no decent connection available.

      Cloud is also not secure, come now - its bad enough if someone launches a cyber attack on your company, but putting your data on a server run by the main target themselves is just a guaranteed data loss. Not to mention that a UK company with its data on a US server will find its data looked into by US authorities - potentially distributed to competitors, potentially being used in 'criminal trials' etc etc etc.

      1. graeme leggett Silver badge

        Re: The insanity that is Microsoft

        In so far as I understand If you are on the Office Pro version or the Homer Premium then you have both the downloaded version and the streamed version of the apps. But you are on a rolling 30day licence for the former.

      2. IJC

        Re: The insanity that is Microsoft

        Haven't read the different Office 365 plans have you?

        Especially not the home premium plan that allows the full install of Office 2013 on 5 different machines?

        Can't let the truth get in the way of a nice rant now can we?

  69. Florence

    365/2013, radio ads

    Commercial radio has been playing adverts for Office 365 for the past month or so, with its main selling point being the ability to install on *5* devices, so that should be good enough for all the family bla bla.

    Now I don't use MS Office other than Office 2003 in an XP VM, so I have no idea what other differences between Office 365 and 2013 may be, and I would expect the majority of their target customers don't either. How many will hear "Office, install on 5 computers" on the radio and go buy a copy in PC World which may or may not be the one that grants them 5 licenses...

    1. IJC

      Re: 365/2013, radio ads

      Caveat Emptor.

      Don't read the license, don't complain.

      1. pepper

        Re: 365/2013, radio ads

        Pray tell, do they include the license on the outside nowadays in physical shops?

  70. wolfetone Silver badge

    "Hello Microsoft?"

    "This is the EU Anti-trust people, remember us?"

  71. Volker Hett
    Thumb Up

    I see a business oportunity

    in fixing broken mainboards. I think I'll stock up on capacitors and stuff ...

  72. paulc

    Better still...

    "So what are honest customers to do if they need to use Office on more than one computer, or if they plan to buy new PCs before the next version of Office comes out? Anyone who has been following the latest Office launch should already know Redmond's answer to that: those customers should skip the retail version of Office 2013 and get Office 365 subscriptions instead."

    I have a better idea... dump them when it comes to the bitter point when the machine breaks down... Invest some time into using LibreOffice in preparation and only use Office for those few things you can't quite do yet in LibreOffice...

  73. Carl

    Click Here

  74. Carl

    George Orwell

    Can't help get the sneaking suspicion that he was a time traveler,

    who wrote his masterpiece "1984" using Microsoft products.

    And it was this experience that helped him come up with the phrase

    " Imagine a boot stamping on a human face. Forever. "

  75. Rufusstan

    So Microsoft don't want my money anymore?

    OK, upfront I admit I fall into neither of the Microsoft camps: no fanboy, but I have no wish to burn them with fire either. I tend to have a 'good enough' attitude towards software -- strange as I am pretty obsessive over hardware.

    Anyway, I use Win 7, largely because it doesn't kick me in the knackers when it boots, and pretty much does what I need it to; The same with my current Office.

    Now as I see it: Win 8 wont ever go near my PC. I don't hate it, but looking at the features I just conclude it isn't aimed at me. Which is fine unless Microsoft keep heading down the tablet/mobile route.

    I was considering upgrading office this cycle, but there is no way I would touch it with the conditions on the license which seem harsher than those on an OEM op system disc. The fact that there is no other option for retail purchasers is insane. The fact that their terms are likely illegal where I live is just the Cherry on top.

    So? I stick with Win 7 until time moves on to the point I have to change, If the current version offers no real advantages, It is Linux I guess. With Office it is more immediate. I have my shiny DVD and could keep reusing indefinitely, but now I want to upgrade. I'd section myself before I bought Office 2013, so Open source I go. Ironically, I've tried Open Office before,but didn't stick with it when the choice was learning a completely new setup VS an old system that was OK (the 'good enough' thing again). Now Microsoft themselves have persuaded me to try again.

    The really sad thing is I am the sort of idiot that helps keep Microsoft afloat by taking the easy option. If I am typical, when I walk away; I never go back (stopped using IE about 8 years ago and would rather gnaw off my own testicles than go back to it. -- OK maybe not exactly; but you get the idea). What it means is that, as others have commented, these new tactics could backfire spectacularly.

    1. IJC

      Re: So Microsoft don't want my money anymore?

      "The fact that there is no other option for retail purchasers is insane. The fact that their terms are likely illegal where I live is just the Cherry on top."

      Facts have nothing to do with these statements. there are lots of other options for retail purchasers and the terms are not in any way illegal, just because there are lots of other options.

  76. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Use a virtual machine of windows. It is the same PC, as its virtual. Store the VM on a removable disk which means you can change machines as much as you like as long as you load the same VM.

    Or the intelligent option is to move to a free office suite which is actually standards compliant. But if you do this you may find you could use linux instead of windows which saves even more money. As steam is moving over there is strong potential for some of its customers to move too.

  77. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Even Adobe aren't this stupid!

    I thought Photoshop was annoying but at least you can de-activate and reactivate on a new machine when you want to move, you can have as many installs as you like with only one active at a time, all you need is a net connection to shift it from machine to machine. This MS things is step further and step too far!

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Even Adobe aren't this stupid!

      None of what you described about Photoshop is stupid. Licenses are fine in my view... but per-machine licenses are not.

  78. Duncan 4

    excellent ranting!

    some really great anti MS ranting taking shape on the reg today, bet seeing this article to rant on made some peoples day lol

  79. rictay
    Thumb Up

    Open Office, no contest

    I moved to Open Office years ago and have stuck with it since. I even used it to read Excel files from a client when my MS version wouldn't open them, and saved them into a version that it COULD understand. Then I had to go the reverse direction to send completed work back to client. MS Office? Yor avvin' a larf, encha?

  80. Mad Mike


    Eventually Microsoft and all other similar companies will realise a few truths. Quite a lot of software companies have already realised and moved their models, but those hell bent on the most profit possible now at the expense of the future are still lagging behind. I suspect terms such as this will cause Microsoft even more issues before the EU soon.

    Microsoft should either give away their operating systems and office products for free, or a nominal amount to cover distribution etc. The money they make on them retail is simply not worth the trouble and bad press. Also, people running these products at home is part of the reason why companies buy them. People already know how to use them, saves training etc. In other words, home sales drives business sales. Business sales is where the money is.

    When home users are faced with having to shell out constantly for Office on top of the already silly costs of Windows (assuming not OEM), they are likely to move away and then the benefit of having the same software at home and work is lost. Maybe if people are mostly skilled in OpenOffice or whatever, companies might switch as well? The ubiquity of Microsoft is largely due to ensuring they remain on almost all computers sold. If this starts to be eroded, they will suffer financially in the future.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Stupidity

      Yes MS should give away two products which each bring in $billions every year. Great business decision :)

      I would go with you if you suggested they should give dev tools away - full-price Visual Studio must be out of reach of many developers - but simply saying Windows should be free because Linux is doesn't make sense.

      1. Mad Mike

        Re: Stupidity


        I never said Windows should be given away because Linux is. Also, if you look into the financials, you'll actually find the vast majority of revenue for each product is actually from business, not home use. So, giving it away for home use won't actually cost that much, certainly not $billions.

        Microsoft also have a history of dipping their toe into this. They actually got into their current position by effectively giving Windows away with every PC sold. The cost to the manufacturers was negligable, but it got their operating system into the position it is now. To extend that to retail and everyone would cost very little. HP had a deal with Microsoft that saw Office distributed with each of their PCs for free. Not every Office products, but Word and Excel and slightly cut down versions. But, good enough for home use by most people. So, I'm not talking about giving away Ultimate (or whatever they want to call it) edition for home use. Just something with enough functionality to ensure people stay with Office. That deal with HP was another toe dip. Again, the licensing loss would be minimal, but it would cement their position and ensure everyone uses it.

        I'm not suggesting they should do it for altruistic reasons. I'm talking about it for cold hard business reasons. Negligable cost and keeps everyone on your software, especially businesses where the revenue is. Result.

        Development tools as well? Why not. Don't know what the financials are around them, so can't comment, but if it ensures you keep your business use, why not give away home use?

    2. Mad Mike

      Re: Stupidity

      having re-read my post, I should add that I meant give away Windows and Office for home use only. I hope this was clear by then saying that business use was where the money is. However, I know I didn't explicitly say home use.

  81. Dave 15

    Open office anyone

    ex-msft, just sold my last msft shares (clearly if the company is going to try this sort of tactic it is going to fuck off whatever its users it has left

    I won't be getting another copy of MS office if the licence agreement doesn't allow me to transfer it from a broken machine to a replacement - more common for me than 'upgrading'.

    Frankly its fucking rude.

    Worse than that of course Microsoft has gone into complete la la la la land and sticks its collective fingers in its ears and won't even let you send a comment on its website.

    Pity I can't give them thunbs down, wtf and fail at the same time.

    Idiots, greedy stupid blind and ignorant idiots. God I hope the whole damned company disappears up its collective backside and goes bankrupt.

  82. mmeier

    Before ranting please check:

    Does this actually apply to your country?

    It does i.e NOT apply for germany where this type of licence is simple illegal and invalid! The EULA is generic and not always binding. MS Germany has upon queries by german media already stated that the bundling will not happen there.

    IIRC the laws behind that are EU nor german so quite a few countries are getting the same rule.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The problem with that is that many are unaware of the validity or not. A good example was the Apple scam of selling you extended warranty for year 2 while that should be included according to EU law. I like Apple gear, but I never bought the extended warranty because I know this.

      In the UK, for instance, it is quite possible that this is illegal as well as it could be argued the terms are unfair, which creates a conflict with contract law. In the US they have a problem with the First Sale doctrine, so there are plenty questions, but as with all large companies, Microsoft relies on the fact that many don't check to get away with it until it gets regulatory attention.

      All AFAIK, btw, IANAL..

  83. CrashM

    Congrats Steve

    Congrats Steve, you have screwed over another piece of software and doomed it to the grave... who is going to pay $6-20 per month for what google and libre office give away for free?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Congrats Steve

      dur dunno but possibly the people who currently PAY for MS Office now rather than use the currently FREE alternatives, think theres a few million of them isn't there?

    2. IJC

      Re: Congrats Steve

      You obviously have no idea what Office 365 provides do you?

  84. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fuck 'em

    I've already got a pirated version of 2013 for use at home. Through the nature of my job the bastards get more than enough money as a direct result of my existence, without me having to personally bankroll them as well.

    1. revdjenk

      Re: Fuck 'em

      So! You are proud of pirating the software of a company who makes "standards" by breaking them? And then help to continue foisting these "standards" on the rest of us?!

  85. mking

    What is a PC?

    So exactly what defines a PC?

    The Hard Disc, mother board, power supply, OS, Cabinet/Case?

    I would think that for most its the cabinet since all other aspects are considered upgrades -- I can upgrade my disc drive, I can upgrade my motherboard, I can replace my power supply, and surely Microsoft will want me to upgrade my OS (they get money for that one).

    The only thing most people would consider a different PC is when we replace the physical cabinet/case -- so it would be logical, and in my opinion a totally defensible legal argument, that only when replacing the cabinet/case are you moving the software to another PC. This I may not like but I can live with.

  86. Winkypop Silver badge

    Home Use Program

    I have MS Office Pro 2013 under the MS HUP.

    It only cost me $15.00 so worse case is another $15.00.

    I can live with that, although it is bad form.

    1. Rukario

      Re: Home Use Program

      Home Use Program falls under the enterprise licensing agreement from your workplace, so is again different from the retail version that's being discussed here. You can do 2 installations on different machines, though not sure if replacing a machine counts as a "reinstall".

      Details here.

  87. UnkDB

    Who's at the front door now?

    I installed 2013 two weeks ago. Last week the hardware suffered a major failure and I am buying a new system. I intend to physically transfer the hard disk from one machine to another. I am not re-installing software. But by reading the statement I would technically still be in breach.

    If MS want it removed, they are welcome to make an appointment to come to my house at a mutually convenient time to perform the un-install.

  88. Roger Mew

    i am still using my student version, but still teaching, albeit now grandchildren. However, I am guessing that my next machine may not have windows office on it. Open Office has problems sure, but the current stupidity of windows is draconian an irresponsible.

    Thought though, so I load MS Office onto a machines ssd, use that machine as solely having office on it and gain access by using it as a server for say the next 20 years does that mean that MS is OBLIGED to give service and so on.

    That will mean all my computers can use it and so can others via the internet. Its only installed on one computer Mr MS policeman.

    Gotta go door bell, Oh gosh its the MS police!!

  89. Brian Allan

    Doing nicely with Office 2003, thank you!

    I cannot for any reason imagine why I would want to upgrade to the latest version of Office!? Office 2003 does a great job!

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