Thursday, February 7, 2013

Beware of Micro$oft's newest Daylight Robbery - UPDATE

All my customers and everybody else who ever talked with me about computers is pretty much aware that I have quite a few misgivings about Micro$oft. Their newest "pony trick" is in my opinion not only price gouging but outright daylight robbery.

The background: So far you could buy a so called "Home and Student" license for Micro$oft's MS-Office suite. With this license you did not get MS Outlook, their big email program that medium and lager companies might use. For the average home user that was rather a positive thing; you can read more details about the background for this statement here.

Above mentioned Home & Student license mostly came with DVD's containing the software. Additionally it came in two flavors, one where the license was valid for only one computer and another version of the license that allowed you to install MS-Office Home & Student on up to three computers in a household. The price difference mostly was a mere $10! And to top it off, if a computer had to be replaced you could install it on a new computer.

In comes MS-Office 2013, the newest incarnation. And guess what:
Micro$oft has changed the terms of the license drastically! 
You can install every license on one computer only, the license is tied to this computer and not transferable. That means if you get a new computer you have to buy the same license again! Original quote from the license agreement:
How can I use the software? We do not sell our software or your copy of it – we only license it. Under our license we grant you the right to install and run that one copy on one computer (the licensed computer) for use by one person at a time, but only if you comply with all the terms of this agreement. Our software license is permanently assigned to the licensed computer.
I really don't know whether Micro$oft has simply gone nuts or whether they really believe they can take the world's public for a fool!

There are alternatives to MS-Office available, two out of three even FREE!
  1. Softmaker Office ($100 with support!)
  2. Kingsoft Office Free ($0.00 as the name says and much like MS-Office 2003)
  3. Libre Office (free, lively development, needs know-how for set-up, available here)
Please warn everybody who might be interested of Micro$oft's newest money trap!

UPDATE March 8, 2013:  User outcry was heard!

Effective immediately Micro$oft has reneged and changed their terms for the license. Here is the relevant part of the modified license agreement:
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.
Not what it was for Office 2007 and 2010 but better than before.

As usual I welcome comments and suggestions right here in the blog. Thank you in advance.

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