Software giant Microsoft has caved in to public pressure and will now allow buyers of Office 2013 to transfer their software licence to other PCs.
The decision follows uproar over the draconian ratcheting up of software licensing terms by Microsoft, which would have prevented users from using the latest Microsoft Office software with new PCs when they upgrade.
Initially, Microsoft had said that users could not transfer the licence to another PC under any circumstances, but first backtracked by saying that they could - but only if their PC had broken down under warranty.
Today, though, Microsoft backed down completely and says that the licence transfer limitations will be removed.
"Based on customer feedback we have changed the Office 2013 retail licence agreement to allow customers to transfer the software from one computer to another," wrote senior marketing manager Jevon Fark in a blog post. "This means customers can transfer Office 2013 to a different computer if their device fails or they get a new one."
However, a transfer can only take place no more than once every 90 days, unless due to a hardware failure, and the software cannot be installed on more than one machine - making Microsoft Office an expensive choice for families, especially compared to the free-to-use Libre Office or OpenOffice.
"You may also transfer the software (together with the licence) 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," adds Fark in his blog post.
When Fark first explained Microsoft's restrictive transfer policy in February, it caused a storm of protest. Typical comments on Fark's blog included:
"So I pay $399.99 [£265] for Office Pro my computer is stolen or broken. Guess What? I need to pay again to have Office in my new computer. No way."
"Many families who are used to purchasing retail copies of Office Home & Student and getting three perpetual licences, are not happy about your changing the licence terms to a single non-transferable licence."
"Microsoft is clearly trying to convince us to change to a subscription model. The question is, do we want to pay $99 [£66] each year for office when we have other great options out there?"
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