Microsoft Office 2013 Is Officially A One-Use Product

Hey, remember the good old days, when, if you bought software, which is basically math, which just kind of exists and is essentially free, you could both pay coders for their work and install said work on multiple computers? Yeah, Microsoft just put a bullet in that.

In a move we’re sure will endear Redmond to everyone even more, Microsoft has confirmed that as part of the Office 2013 EULA, users agree to have the software welded to one PC, no further installations allowed:

Via email, Computerworld asked Microsoft, “Once an Office 2013 retail license is assigned through activation to a PC, it’s connected TO THAT PC, correct? Just as is Windows. That then means it cannot be reassigned to ANOTHER PC owned by the same individual, correct?”

The response from Microsoft’s public relations firm was simply, “Correct.”

Another question asked whether, under the retail Office 2013 EULA, customers could move the suite — and its license — to a replacement PC when the original was lost, stolen or destroyed. Microsoft reply: “No comment.”

Keep in mind, this software costs $140, and Microsoft both jacked the price and refused to sell household licenses to allow multiple installs.

Microsoft has the usual justifications for this kind of thing: Piracy, “we are taking this issue very seriously”, etc. Not unreasonably, most people believe this is to drive consumers towards using the “subscription” version of Office, where for just $100 a year, you can use your copy of Office 2013 on up to five PCs at once!

And it’s true. This isn’t aimed at snarky tech bloggers, it’s aimed squarely at Joe Consumer, the not-very-tech-savvy guy who owns a PC to send emails and surf the web, the kind of guy who actually calls the number on “clean my PC” commercials.

So, do your family a favor the next time you’re home: Download a copy of OpenOffice and tell them it’s the same thing, but free, and yes, it’ll work just like Office. In the long run, you’ll just be putting them ahead of the curve.