Office 2013 and Office 365 installations and transferability

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A few weeks ago, we announced the new Office for consumers, including the all new Office 365 Home Premium, Office 365 University for college and university students, and traditional Office suites: Office Home and Student 2013, Office Home and Business 2013 and Office Professional 2013.

Since then we’ve received questions about the number of installations people get with the traditional Office suites, transferability, and how they compare to Office 2010. With that in mind, we want to offer some clarity on the matter, to help customers make the best purchasing decision.

Here’s how our Office 2010 and Office 2013 licenses compare:

*An exception is granted when the software is on a PC that is replaced under warranty.

It is important to note that Office 2013 suites have consistent rights and restrictions regarding transferability as the equivalent Office 2010 PKC, which was chosen by a majority of Office 2010 customers worldwide.

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

  • For those looking to use Office on multiple devices – Office 365 Home Premium works across up to 5 devices (Windows tablets, PCs or Macs) and can be activated and deactivated across devices.
  • For those who only require Office on one device – The Office 2013 software is licensed to one computer for the life of that computer and is non-transferable (consistent with the rights and restrictions of Office 2010 PKC). In the event that a customer buys the Office 2013 software and installs it on a PC that fails under warranty, the customer can contact support to receive an exemption to activate the Office 2013 software on the replacement PC.
  • For college and university students – Office 365 University works across 2 devices (Windows tablets, PCs or Macs) and can be activated and deactivated across devices.

If you’re interested in getting the new Office, we encourage you to go here to explore which offering will give you the most value.

–Jevon Fark, Office Team


  1. So wait, I bought and paid for Office 2013 and plan on updating the computer for which it is installed on in the very near future. Only a few parts of the current computer will be re used (hard drive, blu ray drive). This computer will be then given to charity. Are you trying to tell me that I can not install Office 2013 on the new computer (please note that it will no longer reside on the older computer).

  2. Doesn’t it say the following above?

    *An exception is granted when the software is on a PC that is replaced under warranty

    • But…what defines a "PC that is replaced under warranty". I’m not replacing a computer "under warranty"…I’m building a new computer to replace an existing…somewhat out of date system. I would expect that after paying 300 bucks that I should be able to transfer said software to a new build.

  3. MS Small Biz

    ok there must be some special PUR that Mr Fark is using because the PUR’s I have make NO MENTION of any software being tied to a single device for the life of that device except in reference to OEM installs. The terms clearly refer to "licensed device" over and over and omit any such language that it is tied to the device in the Retail Versions however that limit is clearly defind in the OEM versions, I doubt very much that was an oversight. On top of this the PUR gives you specific rights of resale or transfer to another owner. That right by itself shows it is not tied to the device for life.

    I guess all those Microsoft sales cast I have listened to that made a point of how different Retail, VL and OEM were must have been a waste of time.

  4. Offbeatmammal

    Hey Jevon,
    pricing/model kinda makes sense. for me the O365 subscription is a clear winner for home (3 PCs and 1 Mac), especially now the OSX version has just got a bit more expensive.
    One thing I would love to see though is a combined subscription for the Office365 hosted exchange and O365 client pack… right now I’m considering dropping the hosted Exchange and moving to Outlook for my domain (4 users and pretty much just use it for email) but if there was a $ incentive to combine the two it would be a much easier path forward (and only having one subscription to maintain would be nice)

  5. The chart is disingenuous at best. The Office 2010 FPP is comparable to Office 2013. That’s a choice I was presented by Microsoft when claiming my "free" upgrade from Office 2010 to 2013. When you compare Office 2010 FPP to Office 2013 it’s obvious it’s a downgrade in licensing. That doesn’t include the inconvenience of having to contact Microsoft after a catastrophic computer failure in order to allow for an installation on a replacement computer. On price did I miss something or is Office 2013 more expensive than Office 2010 FPP? Less licensing for more money? That’s certainly no deal.

  6. Systemanalytiker

    That is not costumer-friendly.

  7. Nice spin, Microsoft. Because your absurd "one licence per computer" was in effect for Office 2010, that makes it perfectly acceptable for Office 2013? Why don’t you just come right out and say it: "We want you to SUBSCRIBE to Office, and every other option we offer makes you want to subscribe."

    • Here is the number to Microsoft Corporate headquarters: 1-425-882-8080, just ask for the complaints department. Otherwide the rest of us could use a little peace from all of the whining for something that is optional for you to buy, if you don’t like the options provided, you can always move on to something else. Google docs, Open office, etc. Otherwise keep it moving, guys like you are giving me a headache.

      • I tried to reply, but my comment was declined. I made a good point, but you won’t read it here.

        • I would love to read your point as long as if’s a valid one.

          • It’s not worth my time to re-type it, only to have it deleted.

      • You must work at Microsoft. Unfortunately Uxo22, that’s the point. I’m consulting with small business owner and end users and they are opting to go with Libre Office, Open Office, Google Docs. Suggest you get use to the criticism and take Excedrin.

  8. jimwillsher

    Microsoft is clearly on a different planet. I, like many others, will *never* *ever* entertain the idea of Office 365 and will stick to Office 2010. Office 2013 brings few benefits over 2010 and, having read this ridiculously insulting blog post, it brings just disadvantages.

    Jevon, you’re clearly in the PR Spin department rather than the Office department.

  9. Just so it’s crystal clear, let’s say I run to Staples and spend $400 on Office 2013 Professional and install it on my home computer. Then, either my computer dies or I choose to build a new home computer — in either case the app is de-installed or otherwise unusable. I have to run out to Staples and spend another $400 to buy Office 2013 Professional? Is that what you are saying?

  10. This is a ridiculous policy, I won’t be buying or developing on Office 2013. I won’t be recommending upgrades to 2013 either… This is bad pr with the group of people who recommend and support your products in the field.

  11. Jevon, your attempt at putting a positive spin a very negative and onerous change to the Office 2013 licensing is insulting. The licensing changes are ridiculous and anti-customer friendly. In who’s mind does it make it sense to permanently attach a license to a computer, instead of a to a user. Even to the extent of if I buy a new computer I have to buy new licenses of software?! Seriously? A lot of people are like me and buy new hardware every year.

    Do media companies lock a DVD I buy (license) to the first DVD player I install it on? No. Is the music I buy (license) tied permanently to the first device I play it on? No. Do other software companies lock their licenses permanently to a device. No. Complete and utter ridiculousness.

    Like all the other comments here, you have LOST a customer until and unless these draconian policies are changed. I will NOT be purchasing Office 2013, nor moving to the Microsoft cloud (because based on these changes, Microsoft may decide to change those policies to something NOT friendly to me either).

    So, good luck hitting those sales numbers with these (in my opinion) very negative policies. Have a good day.

  12. Microsoft, why are you comparing the Office 2010 key card to the Office 2013 full package product? That is really dishonest.

    What we should be reading from this is that your retail products now represent the licensing scheme of Office when an OEM has it pre installed on a computer that we buy. In other words, we pay for it like it’s a retail product, but the license treats it like it should be included with the computer we buy!

    This is unacceptable. If the retail product became more expensive, it should retain the same transfer rights.

  13. matt_wood87

    How does the licensing situation work with virtual machines? What if I create a VM running windows 8 on my mac, install office 2013 on it, but then I delete that VM? Can i create a new VM on that same physical machine and reinstall office 2013 on it?

  14. Geoff Coupe

    Like others commenting here, I find this post, and the chart in particular,disingenuous at best. There is no mention of the real comparison: Office 2007/2010 FPP with Office 2013. With those products, I could transfer licenses from old computers to new – and I did. That possibility has now gone with Office 2013.

    I won’t be buying Office 2013 – or subscribing. I’ll stick with my Office 2010 for the forseeable future.

  15. Hugo Alvarado

    Microsoft is clearly trying to convince us to change to a subscription model. The question is, do we want to pay $99 each year for office when we have other great options out there? I think Microsoft should should really consider rethinking its pricing policy before they go out of business. Take Apple for example, if you buy any App from AppStore your can install it in as much as 5 devices. If you decide to upgrade your device, guess what? You only need to revoke permissions to that device and give it to another one. If Apple want to charge for an upgrade they release a very good new version of the product and decide t charge an accessible price for it or no charge at all. Fortunately, Office 2010 is a very decent and we can keep it for as long as this terrible policy last, or after Office disappear.

  16. Jevon Fark User">

    To the folks that have commented on this post, as well as others out there that have similar views…we hear you loud and clear and appreciate the constructive criticism. Based on the feedback we’re getting, we’re looking into this issue more deeply. Ultimately, we want to do what’s right and fair for our customers. In the meantime, should customers find themselves in the unfortunate situation where their PC fails or they want to move to a new one, our customer support team is ready to help. We handle each customer support scenario on a case by case basis. We encourage customers who are faced with an Office 2013 software license issue to contact Microsoft support for further guidance.

  17. pinkerbelle

    I’m now motivated to migrate all my machines to OpenOffice. Thanks for that final nudge I needed Microsoft.

  18. briankwartler

    I really hope for Microsoft’s sake that you are indeed looking into the issues raised by your customers. Many families who are used to purchasing retail copies of Office Home & Student and getting 3 perpetual licenses, are not happy about your changing the license terms to a single non-transferable license. I suggest you retain the 3 pertpetual licenses for Office Home & Student and allow retail licenses to be transfered from a decommissioned computer to a new computer. Otherwise we will move to alternative office suites.

  19. seattleflyerguy

    I’m currently on the verge of upgrading, both my laptop and my copy of office. Right now, my laptop is OK, but in about a year or so it will be time to upgrade. That leaves me with a range of crappy options being offered by Microsoft: 1) Pay $139 or more for a new copy of Office to use for one year. 2) Pay $99 for one year. In the olden days, when people actually *bought* software this would have been solved by simply reinstalling Office on the new machine, but as it is neither one of these is an attractive option for me as a consumer. Now, I happen to be an educator, which means that I can buy Office 365 University for $80 for 4 years. That’s less than $2 a month and it solves this laptop transition business because I can deactivate the copy and move it to a new system with ease. The option to transfer is something that should come with ALL versions of Office.

    In four years if I no longer have access to educator pricing there is no way I would bother buying Office again. There are simply too many alternatives that I can make work. Google documents? LibreOffice? I’m already considering biting the bullet and making the switch right now since compatibility is already good enough for these suites.

    You have a problem with your business model. Yes, I’m sure there are some big scary graphs about how you are losing revenue to uncaptured sales, but you cannot take for granted that Office has to be on our machines. Most important documents get zipped around as PDFs and the most popular text editor in the world is not the e-mail inbox. Desktop word processing is simply not at primary use for computers anymore and anyone who needs to do desktop publishing is likely either willing to look at free and legal alternatives, or simply aim higher and buy a professional suite from Adobe.

  20. This is not fair. I think Microsoft should reconsider this policy. So I pay $399.99 for Office Pro my computer is stolen or brocked. Guess What? I need to pay again to have Office in my new computer. No way.

  21. Disenchanted User

    The BIG LIE comes to Redmond. Until now, retail licenses for MS products allowed them to be moved from computer to computer with very few limitations. Serial monogamy for a program, so to speak. This was the primary operational difference between retail and OEM licenses, which were restricted to a single machine (though once upon a time, OEM licenses could be moved, too).

    Claiming that the Office 2013 license terms for the retail product have not changed from previous retail versions is completely false. If this were said under oath in court, it would constitute perjury and may even draw some time in jail.

    I seriously wonder if it will even survive the class action lawsuit that I consider to be inevitable if the license is not revised. While there is a clear nexus between hardware and software that is purchased with it, what us old folks call "OEM" software, this does not exist between any hardware and the shrink wrapped box I buy at Fry’s, Staples, Walmart, etc. I really think this could open the door for a successful class action law suite.

    Another very gray – and contestable – area is exactly what constitutes a computer and when does its life end. Software lives on hard drives. Does the failure the hard drive mean the computer itself has reached end of life? Not to any one not in the employ of Microsoft, I think. What about the complementary issue: moving the hard drive to a new motherboard? The software is on the same hard drive, so what died? The software is still only in one place, in the hard drive, but the hard drive is now a different place. By any ethical measure, this should be perfectly within the terms of the license. I have one copy of the software and it is on one computer.

    As may be, just because Microsoft wants to move everyone to a subscription, i.e. Office 365, there’s no reason people have to obey. Without a doubt, Office 365 is pretty reasonably priced, but what if I don’t want to keep paying for it forever? That’s why people buy houses rather than renting them, buy cars rather than leasing them, etc.

    Some folks will move to Office 365, but they are the ones who would have ponied up the a retail box, particularly the 3-PC Home and Student boxes. However, I think many more will now move to OpenOffice, LibreOffice, WordPerfect and some players to be named later,.

    What won’t happen is that all those folks running pirated copies will see the light and mend their ways. They didn’t spend the money to be legal before. In what fantasy world do these far more onerous license terms mean they will suddenly go legit and buy anything from Microsoft?

    Frankly, this is from the same folks who decreed that Windows 8 could not be made to boot to the traditional interface. It’s a huge restriction with no perceptible up side for the folks shelling out the money that Microsoft wants to collect.

  22. PeterOLiver

    Use Ubuntu, it’s not only better but also free.

    Then you don’t have to put up with this.

  23. Ok, somebody has some sense of what’s right and wrong at Microsoft. You have made one step in the right direction regarding Office 2013 by changing the onerous licensing to a single device. The next step is to change the same policy towards PowerPivot in Office 2013. On the one hand you claim to want to provide BI to the masses, however, by removing PowerPivot from most versions of Office, except for volume licensing or O365.

    It was included in all versions of Office/Excel 2010, however, now we are being forced to buy volume licenses of Office 2013 (which is a minimum of 5) or move to Office 365. The problem is you ar enow adding SO MANY variations of Office 365 it’s extremely difficult to know what’s in and what’s out.

    Yes, folks, that’s right. If you want PowerPivot (or Power View), you can’t go to your local Best Buy or Amazon and buy it — for any price. And if you upgrade from any version of Office 2010 (like many of us who pre-purchased – thereby helping Microsoft makes it’s sales numbers last year) to any version of Offiice 2013, you lose PowerPivot in the process. Period.

    Come on Microsoft, you had been doing so well with a noticeable change in becoming easier to do business with. Please don’t follow the Oracle route of being a major PITA to deal with and making things much more complicated.

    Let’s see you finish the right move by adding PowerPivot and PowerView back into any version of Office 2013 and Office 365. BI to the masses!

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