Office 2013 now transferable

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Office 2013 now transferableA couple weeks ago, I posted this blog to clarify the new Office 2013 licensing terms. Based on customer feedback we have changed the Office 2013 retail license agreement to allow customers to transfer the software from one computer to another. This means customers can transfer Office 2013 to a different computer if their device fails or they get a new one. Previously, customers could only transfer their Office 2013 software to a new device if their PC failed under warranty.

While the license agreement accompanying Office 2013 software will be updated in a future release, this change is effective immediately and applies to Office Home and Student 2013, Office Home and Business 2013, Office Professional 2013 and the standalone Office 2013 applications. These transferability options are equivalent to those found in the Office 2010 retail license terms. The updated text is as follows:

Updated transferability provision to the Retail License Terms of the Software License Agreement for Microsoft Office 2013 Desktop Application Software:

Can I transfer the software to another computer or user? You may transfer the software to another computer that belongs to you, but not more than one time every 90 days (except due to hardware failure, in which case you may transfer sooner). If you transfer the software to another computer, that other computer becomes the “licensed computer.” You may also transfer the software (together with the license) to a computer owned by someone else if a) you are the first licensed user of the software and b) the new user agrees to the terms of this agreement before the transfer. Any time you transfer the software to a new computer, you must remove the software from the prior computer and you may not retain any copies.

At Microsoft, we strive to make Office the very best product to help busy people and families get things done. A key ingredient in our formula for success is listening to our customers, and we’re grateful for the feedback behind this change in Office licensing. Thank you.

–Jevon Fark, Office Team

  1. So good!

  2. MS Small Biz

    Shall we make you eat your words? Remember your comment in the prior blog post?

    "It is important to note that Office 2013 suites have consistent rights and restrictions regarding transferability as the equivalent Office 2010 PKC"

    They obviously did not or rather I think you were comparing apples to oranges. I’ll also point out that your statements here do not jive with the statement above concerning transfer to a new PC. You qualify the transfer right if your PC fails however the statement in italics HAS NO SUCH LIMITATION:

    "This means customers can transfer Office 2013 to a different computer if their device fails or they get a new one."

    The right of First Sale is also now included, something I think was just waiting for a few lawyers to get ahold of.

    • MS Small Biz

      No I think he is once again trying to qualify the license agreement vs just stating the facts. Why not just say you can transfer the license, why the need to add ‘if your PC fails’?

      • Clint Patterson

        Small Biz, this was the most common scenario our customers were telling us they were concerned about (i.e. if my machine bricks out of warranty, I’m stuck buying a new copy of Office 2013 too). As Filipe notes, the license text including in the blog is pretty liberal on this point, so customers can transfer to another machine in a variety of different scenarios.

        • The most common scenario customers were telling you was they were not going to buy this.

      • Havegratitude

        I just received the Office 2013 yesterday and was going to go return it this weekend after reading the fineprint. I am confused and need a bit of clarification. I bought this for my business. I have a desktop at my office and I also have a laptop that I use out in the field for my clients. Some of my clients cannot amke it to my office and I have accomidated them by bringing myself to them. In reading the fineprint, it sounds like I will have to purchase another program just so I can use it on my laptop. I see the transferrable statement released but I need more clarification on this. Can I install this program on my desktop and my laptop so I can utilize the program. Will I have to puirchase a second program to install on my laptop. I am not willing to invest that amount of money just for my laptop. That would be ridiculous!

  3. Andre Luiz

    Good News. Thank you so much.

  4. This is a wise move albeit a little annoying for those that went out and purchased Office 365 subscriptions because the retail box policy seemed bad. Oh well. I guess its Office Home Premium for a year, and then I’ll see if I want to go retail or not…

  5. What about OEM versions?

    • MS Small Biz

      OEM never had transfer rights. OEM is tied to the machine for both OS and Office, always has been unless you add SA and SA is all but dead.

  6. Geoff Coupe

    Thank you. Nice to see that Microsoft is doing the right thing for the ordinary consumer.

    • Clint Patterson

      Thanks, Geoff!

  7. Mike Schriber

    This is great news but I’m a little confused… as near as I can tell, there are no "Retail" licenses of Office 2013. All you can buy are key card codes or downloads. Does this update apply to those?

    • Clint Patterson

      Mike, yes, that’s what we mean. "Retail" is there to differentiate between the versions of Office 2013 sold to consumers (e.g. in retail stores, online) and those editions designed for enterprise customers. Sorry for the confusion.

      • msoneill79

        So just clarify even more, what is stated above in the blog does NOT apply to editions of Office 2013 that were purchased for a large enterprise or company, say through a select agreement, for example? Am I understandig that right? Or can anyone now, peersonal home use or large business, transfer their Office 2013 license to another PC if it were lost, stollen, or crashed.

        • Clint Patterson

          msoneill79, this change is specific to the retail license, but volume licensing customers already had transferability rights as part of their licenses (i.e. they can transfer Office 2013 to another PC if it is lost, stolen, crashed, demolished, vaporized, etc, etc).

  8. dpokrovsky

    So what is about upgrade offer for 2010? Is it also transferable now? Because choosing page still points out the opposite.

    • Clint Patterson

      Dmitry, we wanted to react quickly the feedback, so there are some places where the language hasn’t caught up to our new license terms. This is one of them. If you purchased an Office 2010 license and want to get Office 2013 (or Office 365 Home Premium), you can still take advantage of that offer, and now the Office 2013 software is transferable to a different PC, per the blog.

  9. better, but not good enough. on office 2010, i could have one copy and put it on my 3 computers. now, to get office 2013 on the same 3 computers, i need to pay 3 times as much. that’s a ripoff.

    • ace1489, I’m pretty sure that Office 2010 only allowed an install on a desktop and a laptop, not three machines and not two laptops. Of course, even that restriction seems a little strange. I think allowing an individual user to have more than one install is reasonable. Otherwise, if I needed something on another machine that I do not use as often, I’d just live with a less capable product. I do that already on my Android device. I use Kingsoft Office. Certainly not as feature rich, but functional and MS Office is not on Android. I’d be tempted to use their PC software on my secondary machine and/or LibreOffice, WordPerfect, or something that would not require another $400 charge.

  10. Frederic Forest

    Just to be clear, does this applies to online download versions as well (beside Office365) or just boxed, retail-sold copies?

  11. Jevon Fark User">

    ace1489, with an Office 365 Home Premium subscription you can install (and then activate/deactivate at your leisure) the new Office on up to 5 machines. This has taken the place of our Office 2010 versions that offered multiple installs.

    • Office365 Home Premium is a different kind of product than Office 2010.

  12. Jevon Fark User">

    Fredric, yes…it applies to online download as well as boxed/retail.

    • msoneill79

      For personal home use or for large companies?

  13. Why in the world would anyone in Redmond think that non transferability on a license that someone would pay anywhere from 100 to 400 was a good idea? Really, why?

    I work for a software company that’s shifting its focus to a subscription model from a licensing model, so I get the push to Office 365. I understand adding perks to make Office 365 more appealing. But there are far too many alternatives to Office, many of them free, to try and club license buyers with the onerous terms you came out with.

    Glad you got the point, but it shouldn’t have been needed in the first place.

  14. Hey Microsoft, your new policy is still not good enough! Keep trying. As an IT professional I reformat my PC ALOT and reinstall office 2010 at least once a month. Why do you guys hate your customers so much? After 2010 becomes out of date it looks like I will be switching to a different word processor. 🙁
    Or maybe I’ll switch to a Mac. They don’t have all these ridiculous restrictions.

    • The restriction was on transferring the software to a different PC, not re-installing it on the same PC. Microsoft can easily tell if it’s just a re-install vs. an install on a different machine. Also, why throw Mac into the discussion? Office on Mac will have the same license agreement as Windows, I’m sure.

      • Clint Patterson

        Paul, you are correct. There is not a restriction on re-installing on the same PC, and ddeulus, if you run into any issues on that, you can call our support team who would be happy to help you out.

  15. PeterOLiver

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

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

  16. Jevon,

    It’s really good to see someone at the Office Team who states things clearly (after listening to people and actively fixing one of the most PR-damaging issues ever) and who is willing to work overtime to clarify the new policy/license terms in real time.

    A friend at geek DOT com told me about the upcoming MS disaster on February 19 but here we are ─ some two weeks later ─ and it looks like you guys have actually fixed the problem before it became the next Flickr-like evilly adjusted license fiasco.

    On the other hand, one has to ─ at least partially ─ agree with Filipe who commented here some nine hours ago. Although he expressed his points a bit too aggressively, the basic question remains the same: Jevon, when will you show us the new license? Quite a few sections of it have been radically changed but you haven’t published the new (official) terms when you released the above (fairly informal) announcement. Would you mind sharing your reason(s) with us?

    I mean, have you guys spent those two weeks discussing whether to make yet another MS policy U-turn, but you haven’t actually finalized the official terms before going public? Tell me again, how many MS employees does it take to change a light bulb? 🙂

    Anyway, thanks for being non-MS-like (read: flexible) this particular time and for listening to those of us who actually pay for MS software ─ instead of making us suffer … well … again. If your future policies will be similar, i.e. less prohibition-like and more customer/logic-oriented, we could eventually suffer less than the pirates!

    Thanks again for changing your mind and for convincing others to change theirs.


    Ota Cervenka

  17. poopstech

    Why is it that Microsoft has so many versions of their products and also multiple licensing models for each version of each product! This is madness – this is also driving your customers, be it individual or corporate customers. Why doesn’t Microsoft once and for all simplify the whole thing and just produce ONE version of One product and lower the prices to ONE price and do away with all this confusion and customer dissatisfaction. But I am sure that the RED Tape mentality of Microsoft can never change, or can it?

  18. Mullinsky

    What I am not happy with is the fact that Microsoft left out DVD video support and Windows media center because they said that it would reduce the cost of Windows since they would no longer be required to pay for the licensing fees for those features. Yet Windows is pretty much the exact same price. All version of Office Home and Student had 3 licenses because most families have more than one PC. Now Office Home and Student has 1 license and its still cost the same price. Over all I am happy with the changes with Windows 8 but Microsoft really has taken a nose dive as far as earning customer loyalty buy giving us much less features and benifets on their new software but still charging the same high prices. Doing this at a time when Apple computers are gaining more popularity is just insane from a marketing standpoint.

  19. dan_poveda

    very good news!!

  20. I have purchased every single release of Office since I Microsoft started publishing the suite. It’s a great tool and I use it for personal and business use. Previously, I would always buy the Professional version and was happy with it. I always use it on a single computer, but that draconian policy of non-transferability was a showstopper for me. No way was I going to buy a $400 product whose useful life was dependent on my computer’s life.

    I looked at every offer Microsoft had and there was a problem with everything, either for me or for my wife. With this licensing change, I’m OK with Office 2013. However, it’s still a problem for my wife.

    My wife is like a bee in our house, minus the stinger. She bounces around between two different laptops and a tablet. she uses Office on both of her laptops. The Office 365 "Home Premium" would be perfect for her, except that it’s not allowed for business use. She uses Office for business sometimes, so "Office Home Premium" has licensing restrictions that will not work for her.

    Office Professional 2013 would almost work now with this change, but no way would she accept paying $800 for her two machines. She’d just stick with her current Office. I know her and she’d view that as a total waste of money. She would push me to find something cheaper.

    Office 365 Small Business Premium would get around the fact she uses Office for business, but then the Office web site says it is "for business use". So, since uses it for non-commercial use, too, that option is off the table.

    Then there is the Office Home and Business 2013. This was also a no-go due to transfer restrictions, but that hurdle is past. Still, she has the issue of 1 license and she has two computers. This product is cheaper, though, so perhaps she might accept it, but it missing Publisher. She uses Publisher for personal things, mostly, but sometimes she uses it for business.

    So what in the world am I supposed to tell her? Sorry, Microsoft has nothing now that will meet your requirements unless you want to pay $800? I believe that’s the only answer I can give her. It becomes my headache to have to maintain a subscription service just for her for one PC to be limited to personal stuff and then buy a Pro version so she can sometimes use that for business.

    We have 3 different copies of Office in the family: Pro for me, Pro for my wife, and home/student for my kids. That is definitely not cheap, but Microsoft has replaced this combination with restrictions that make it painful to even bother with.

    I could get Pro for me. I only have one machine, so fine.

    My wife has no acceptable options ($800 or $400 + $100/yr subscription is not acceptable, and even that still risks running afoul of the licensing restrictions)

    My kids would need home/student, but do they need a Microsoft account to install the software? They cannot download it without one, apparently. Microsoft wants my little girl’s personal info? Seriously? Can Home/Student 2013 be purchased at the store and installed without requiring my kids to create Microsoft accounts?

    This is a licensing nightmare for me.

    • MS Small Biz

      Or you could simply stick with Office 2010 until such a date that it is no longer supported and save yourself the cost. Take the money saved and go to Disney or take a cruise and when you come back your Office 2010 will still do 99% of what Office 2013 does and you won’t have to go looking for where MS moved the feature you use daily.

  21. I have avoided purchasing office 2013 specifically because of the no transfer policy. MS marketing should be aware of the damage customer unfriendly policies and other bone-headed software changes are causing. There is a _definite_ trend and pressure to move to alternatives such as Google docs. The no transfer policy had me about to switch (as my company already is doing for new content). W8 is yet another example of alienating your customer base.

    • Clint Patterson

      Robert, we definitely hear this feedback. Thanks for sharing it.

  22. anyway, what happen to the existing Office 2010 licenses if I claimed Office 2013 through "Redeem your offer" campaign, my company still buying some new pc with Office 2010 these weeks…

  23. Lachlan Simpson

    Does this apply to HUP too?

    • Clint Patterson

      Lachlan, this is different from HUP, but with HUP, you can transfer to another device.

  24. SAPaleAle

    Now if you would only offer a proper upgrade price for office 2010 to 2013 rather than making you buy the full product again then I might stop using this pirated version of 2013

  25. sherbypaladin

    Won’t buy anyway. Office 2010 is much better.

  26. Havegratitude

    I just received the Office 2013 yesterday and was going to go return it this weekend after reading the fineprint. I am confused and need a bit of clarification. I bought this for my business. I have a desktop at my office and I also have a laptop that I use out in the field for my clients. Some of my clients cannot amke it to my office and I have accomidated them by bringing myself to them. In reading the fineprint, it sounds like I will have to purchase another program just so I can use it on my laptop. I see the transferrable statement released but I need more clarification on this. Can I install this program on my desktop and my laptop so I can utilize the program. Will I have to puirchase a second program to install on my laptop. I am not willing to invest that amount of money just for my laptop. That would be ridiculous!

    • Clint Patterson

      Gratitude, yes, Office 2013 is for a single device. For multiple devices, Office 365 Home Premium works across 5 different devices and includes the most complete and up to date apps (it’s like Office 2013 Professional but always up to date). For you, that would be the best option. Or, if you’re using it for a small business, Office 365 Small Business Premium includes business e-mail and collaboration software.

      • I use Office 2007 now and want to use the new 2013 Office. I need Office Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote, Publisher. I am self-employed and use my desktop, my laptop, my convertible notebook and my smartphone for both: business and private use. I have a partner who will use Office 2013 for private purposes on a laptop and a smartphone. So please tell me how to license best not to get into any legal trouble. Tnank you.

  27. who cares? MS Office is irrelevant to 90% of users. We can just use Google Docs to do 90% of what we need. MS Office is only needed for enterprise. Microsoft has lost touch with reality.

  28. Joseph Ratliff

    My problem with this "adjustment" lies in a core question… why did you try and release Office 2013 without the ability to transfer computers in the first place? I can’t imagine it was an oversight, because that would look very bad for Microsoft. So, that means you did it intentionally from my perspective as a consumer… and that is just bad business… period.

    Has Microsoft gotten so big it is forgetting the lifeblood of its business? Profits come a lot easier when you respond to your market, not dictate to it.

    • Clint Patterson

      Joseph, fair question. It sounds like we are between a rock and hard place – oversight looks bad and intentional is bad business. Here’s what I can tell you. With Office 2010, we had 3 options: 1) OEM; 2) the single install option with no transferability which retailed for $119; and 3) the 2 or 3 install option with transferability which retailed for $149. With Office 2013, the far and away best seller was option 2, so we kept that and replaced option 3 with Office 365. When we heard the customer feedback, we recognized that quickly and changed course, which we hope demonstrates that we are listening closely and responding to our customers.

  29. The change is utterly inadequate to address the real problem. A consumer buys a copy of a software application to use on the consumer’s hardware – whatever it may be and wherever it may be located. Since the consumer can actually work on only one computer at a time, the consumer should be able to load the software on as many devices as the consumer owns, so long as only the software is actually used on only one device at any point in time.

    The statement that, "At Microsoft, we strive to make Office the very best product to help busy people and families get things done" is laughable. Both the old and the new licensing agreements demonstrate that.

    If I own a desktop workstation, a notebook, and an ultrabook/tablet, I should be able to purchase one copy of the software, install it on all three devices, and have all three installations be "approved" for tech support and software upgrade purposes without risking having my software disabled by the Redmond Enforcers.

    The Corel license for WordPerfect Office, while not perfect [no pun intended], goes a long way toward meeting that goal:


    For lawyers and other professionals who are required by rules of professional ethics to safeguard client/patient confidences at all peril to themselves, Office 365 (your SAAS solution) is not an answer. We need total control over our data, which means having it reside on our hardware in our facilities — not on Microsoft’s servers in the cloud. That precludes us from the 5-platform solution offered by Office 365 and means a user like me would have to buy three copies of the application package to comply with the licensing requirements. That is simply unacceptable.

    Because of the demands of enterprise clients and colleagues, I am obliged to generate files using Office applications. Until MS comes to its senses and adopts pricing and licensing terms that are competitive with those offered by Corel and others, I either will use legacy versions of the MS software or will create the files in the equivalent WordPerfect Office application and save them in the requisite MS Office format.

  30. I began with Office 2003 & have updated versions loyally & now using Office 2010 Professional. I take umbrage at Office 2013 only allowing use on 1 computer. Office 2010 allows installation on 2 machines which is perfect for my "2" computer use; a desktop & laptop. Does Microsoft really think I’m going to update to ’13 & spend $700? Bad decision – not user friendly!

    • kishore thakrar

      I have 2007 and 2010 Professional. I would think twice before I will pay twice…for my desktop & laptop.
      MS losing potential loyalty.

  31. paulhoughton

    Is this for all countries, including South Africa?

  32. DanielBowne

    That was some pretty shady stuff. I was questioning moving our organization to Google docs and this was the nail in the coffin. Your server licensing for Server 2012 and System Center 2012 completely screws small and medium companies and prices your self out of that market. Do i HAVE to use MS products….no…I just feel your loyalty lies with the big organizations with bottomless pockets and you screw the small business. Shame on you MS…

  33. Jack Douglas

    I suspect the answer is "no" but does "the standalone Office 2013 applications" include Project 2013? seems to suggest the retail PKC versions are still tied to the first installed PC, is that right?

  34. azeryl_bane

    I can see some advantage to renting the software for a fee – "free" upgrades when new features are added to the cloud versions of the software, and the ability to work on office products over multiple devices… But that isn’t for me. I had that ability when I purchased the physical copies of Office 2007 – One install on my laptop and one for my desktop.

    I want to control who has access to my products – not have the chance that because I’ve created something using the "rental" software that Microsoft now has ownership of it…

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