Microsoft had caused quite a furor when it revealed that Office 2013 users could only install the suite on a single machine. According to the company, the user key for Office 2013 had to be downloaded from their website which meant it would remain exclusive to the computer it was installed on. The only exception was given to users who’s PCs failed under warranty. They could install their copy of Office 2013 on the replacement PC they get.
Not surprisingly, customers were less than impressed by the change in the Office 2013 licensing. It was understandable given the fact that such restrictions hadn’t been imposed on any version of Microsoft Office before. The resulting outcry turned into quite a din and eventually Microsoft had to lend an ear to it. The incessant complaints and criticisms worked and Microsoft has taken a step backwards. The licensing restrictions for Office 2013 have been amended to make it transferable.
It is a dramatic reversal of stance from Microsoft. They had been quite adamant that the change in licensing restrictions was the need of the hour. However, the company soon realized that even their most ardent fanboys would have a hard time defending their decision. Huge as it may be, Microsoft still relies on its customers to continue being a successful enterprise. Restricting the use of Office 2013 seems like a petty issue to drive customers away.
Microsoft hasn’t completely retracted its position. They have applied a restriction, though it is not as significant as the one which has been lifted. According to the official word from the company, all Office 2013 users have the right to use it across multiple devices. However, they would have to wait at least 90 days for transferring their copy of Office 2013 to another computer. What this means is that the Office 2013 license can now be shifted from one device, or user, to another every 90 days.
The main reason why Microsoft was pushing for the licensing restrictions was to get the maximum number of users to sign up for Office 365. The cloud platform enables users to have access to all five of the main programs part of Office 2013. This would have helped Microsoft gain a foothold in the cloud computing market as well. It seems to be a genuine goal for the corporation to have but the approach they took has backfired completely.
Moreover, as the Office 2013 suite would be restricted to a single device, users would have to purchase another copy should they change computers. This would mean that an individual users would end up buying two or three copies of Office 2013 instead of the one he/she would have bought had the licensing restrictions not been imposed. This would have resulted in the money continuing to flow in from Office 2013 and Microsoft making higher profits.
Well, this is not the case as Microsoft has had to change the licensing terms for Office 2013. They might have set a dangerous precedent of bowing to consumer demand. This could lead to further episodes like this one in the future. It remains to be seen whether Office 2013’s performance improves after the removal of licensing restrictions.