Microsoft Office 2013: Home Users Limited to One PC

Dennis Faas's picture

Industry insiders are warning potential buyers of Microsoft Office 2013 to carefully read the software's licensing agreement. According to reports, users of the popular software package could be prevented from installing programs like Excel, PowerPoint, and Word on more than a single PC.

In a recent report, InfoWorld's Woody Leonhard notes that, according to the Microsoft Office 2013 licensing terms, users may have to re-purchase the software if their computer (the PC they originally installed the Office software on) breaks down. (Source:

New Terms of Service for Home Users

The issue appears to be that Microsoft has changed the terms of service associated with Office. In the past, Office's retail licensing terms allowed home users to install Office software on a second device. (Source:

However, Office 2010 did not allow manufacturers to do this.

And so, it seems that, with Office 2013, Microsoft has applied the rules it used with OEMs to home users. The Office 2013 license includes much of the language applied to OEMs a few years ago, including the rule that one "may not transfer the software to another computer or user."

Microsoft Licensing Terms "Draconian," "Obtuse"

When asked about these new rules, a Microsoft representative said that a "perpetual license of Office 2013 can only be installed on one personal computer." This means that "the customer can only install it on one device, either a desktop or laptop, but not both."

According to that Microsoft representative, even if the customer suffers a system crash, they are only permitted to reinstall Office software on that same device.

The representative was much more vague about what might happen if that original computer was permanently out of service, saying only that "If there are problems with [re-installing Office on the original computer], customers can contact Microsoft technical support."

The same rules apply to other retail versions of Office, including Office Home & Business 2013 and Office Professional 2013.

That has led InfoWorld's Woody Leonhard to call Microsoft's measures "draconian," and "obtuse." (Source:

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