The most consistent answer is that the new licensing agreement binds Office 2013 to a single computer for life. If that computer dies or you have to reinstall Windows and Office 2013, the most frequent, though not universal, answer is that reinstalling on the same machine under those circumstances will be alright but transferring the license to another computer will not fly under the new rules.
The latest puzzling ding to Office users comes on the heels of the somewhat unpopular Windows 8 offering and have left many casting a wary eye on the future of their productivity applications. Many of the Microsoft faithful have determined their best option is to stay on Windows 7 and Office 2010, essentially forever. In the meantime here are some options for those considering alternatives.
Probably the best indicator of how fast GoogleDocs has grown in functionality are the number of companies scrapping Office and Outlook in favor of the business version of GoogleApps. I’ve helped many small businesses make that transition and, after a period of adjustment, most end up liking the portability and platform independence.
As more companies transition to a Bring Your Own Tech business model, device and platform compatibility become more important. In combination with services under development, like GoogleVoice, Google may be closing in on a turn-key office system with many compelling features.
Now up to version 4, LibreOffice was forked from OpenOffice in 2010 and pursued a divergent development path. LibreOffice is a full-featured and powerful desktop productivity suite with a wide base of OS support.
While functional, the downside to Writer and Calc can be that there are formating and compatibility issues with Microsoft products. LibreOffice may be fine for you, but if all your customers use office and the documents you send back and forth don’t look right, that’s not a win.
Another OpenOffice fork that comes packaged with templates, clipart, and 3D models so you don’t have to chase all those down yourself. It also comes with VBA support for automation.
Calligra Office is one of the few that has a project manager built-in along with an app called BrainDump that lets you capture and organize your thoughts and brainstorming ideas. Calligra Office has some compelling features and it’s an application package worth watching.
If you stick with Office 2013 and run into a situation where you have to reinstall Office and you don’t like the answer you get from one tech support operator, try a different one. Right now there is a lot of confusion, even inside Microsoft, so don’t hesitate to shop for a better answer if at first you don’t succeed.