Archive for the ‘Office 2013’ Category

Microsoft Security Bulletin Advance Notification for April 2013

Monday, April 8th, 2013
Bulletin ID Maximum Severity Rating and Vulnerability Impact Restart Requirement Affected Software
Bulletin 1 Critical
Remote Code Execution
Requires restart Microsoft Windows,
Internet Explorer
Bulletin 2 Critical
Remote Code Execution
May require restart Microsoft Windows
Bulletin 3 Important
Information Disclosure
May require restart Microsoft Office,
Microsoft Server Software
Bulletin 4 Important
Elevation of Privilege
Requires restart Microsoft Windows
Bulletin 5 Important
Denial of Service
Requires restart Microsoft Windows
Bulletin 6 Important
Elevation of Privilege
Requires restart Microsoft Windows
Bulletin 7 Important
Elevation of Privilege
Requires restart Microsoft Security Software
Bulletin 8 Important
Elevation of Privilege
May require restart Microsoft Office,
Microsoft Server Software
Bulletin 9 Important
Elevation of Privilege
Requires restart Microsoft Windows

Excerpt from

Microsoft retreats from Office 2013 restrictive licensing

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

Backpedals from retail licenses permanently tied to one PC, lets users move suite to another machine

Microsoft today backpedaled from a sweeping change in its licensing for retail copies of Office 2013, saying that customers now have the right to move the software from one machine to another.

“We received customer feedback that they wanted this flexibility, and we thought this was reasonable, just and fair,” said Jevon Fark, senior marketing manager with the Office team, in an interview Tuesday. “We will honor these new terms starting this morning.”

The revised policy lets customers who purchased a retail copy of Office 2013 — the $140 Home & Student, $220 Home & Business or $400 Professional editions — reassign the license to another PC they own or control.

That’s a change from the end-user licensing agreement (EULA) that debuted with Office 2013: Out the gate, the “perpetual” licenses sold at retail — those paid for once, with rights to use them forever — were permanently tied to the first PC they were installed on.

Under the now-defunct licensing terms, customers were not allowed to delete Office 2013 on one machine, then install it on another, even if that second PC was a replacement for the first, which may have been lost, stolen, damaged or simply outworn its usefulness. The only exception was if a computer had conked out while under warranty.

That raised hackles, not only in comments responding to the Computerworld news story on the restrictive licensing, but also those appended to a Feb. 19 blog entry where Fark tried to explain the move.

“This is not fair,” said a commenter identified as Helinton Roberto Dias on Fark’s blog. “So I pay $399.99 for Office Pro[fessional], my computer is stolen or bricked. Guess what? I need to pay again to have Office in my new computer. No way.”

Today’s change was essentially a reversion to the licensing policy of Office 2010, which allowed users to reassign retail copies — but not those installed by computer makers — to a different system. Fark confirmed that Tuesday.

That means customers can reassign an Office 2013 retail license, including those for the standalone titles like Word or Excel, once each 90 days, with exceptions made for hardware failures.

It will take about three months for Microsoft to revamp the mechanism it used to enforce the policy — the Office activation system — so that users can move copies by re-entering the 25-character key and activate automatically, said Fark. In the meantime, customers will have to call Microsoft’s technical support line to finalize a transfer.

“If customers have any problems, even after [online activation is re-enabled], they should call support again,” Fark said, stressing that Microsoft’s support personnel have been briefed on the change.

Analysts had called the original Office 2013 licensing a huge departure from past practice, blasted Microsoft for hiding the new policy in the EULA rather than plainly inform customers, and linked the move to Microsoft’s plan to push people to its Office 365 software-by-subscription plans.

Microsoft had acknowledged the latter when it said two weeks ago, “We’ve been very clear in all of our communications that customers seeking transferability should get Office 365 and that Office 2013 is licensed to one device.”

During Tuesday’s interview, Fark declined to discuss why Microsoft had originally limited Office 2013’s license to a single PC. In a later follow-up email, however, Fark repeated what Microsoft had said earlier: “We changed our product line up and not licensing terms,” he said.

Microsoft based that concept on the fact that it dropped the multilicense packages which had been prominent in Office 2010. Like the retail price increases, the demise of the multilicense products was a prong in Microsoft’s strategy to make perpetual licenses less attractive than Office 365 subscriptions. The Office 2010 “product key cards” (PKCs) — cheaper, retail-only products sans an installation DVD — did not allow license reassignment. By Microsoft’s logic, it was simply replacing the Office 2010 PKCs with the retail versions of Office 2013.

The experts didn’t buy it. “Let’s be frank. This is not in the consumer’s best interest,” Daryl Ullman, co-founder and managing director of the Emerset Consulting Group, which specializes in helping companies negotiate software licensing deals, said in an interview two weeks ago. “They’re paying more than before, because they’re not getting the same benefits as before.”

Office for Mac, which also saw price increases this year, is not affected by the new policy, as its EULA already allowed users to move a copy to another Mac. Nor are any of the Office 2013 volume licenses sold to enterprise impacted, as those have always allowed flexible license reassignment.

Even with the change, Office 365 subscriptions remained the most flexible on the license transfer front. The by-subscription plans let customers yank rights to Office from one machine and use it on another at any time, with no 90-day restriction. Office 365 Home Premium, which Microsoft rolled out in January, allows five Office copies on a household’s computers, while Office 365 Small Business Premium offers the same number, but for a single user.

“A key ingredient in our formula for success [for Office] is listening to our customers, and we’re grateful for the feedback behind this change in Office licensing,” Fark concluded in a new blog post today. “Thank you.”


Retail copies of Office 2013 are tied to a single computer forever

Friday, February 15th, 2013

With the launch of Office 2013, Microsoft has seen fit to upgrade the terms of the license agreement, and it’s not in favor of the end user. It seems installing a copy of the latest version of Microsoft’s Office suite of apps ties it to a single machine. For life.

What does that mean in real terms? It means if your machine dies or you upgrade to a new computer you cannot take a copy of Office 2013 with you to new hardware. You will need to purchase another copy, which again will be tied to the machine it is installed upon forever.

This license change has been confirmed by The Age’s reporter Adam Turner after several frustrating calls to Microsoft’s tech support and PR departments. It effectively turns Office 2013 into the equivalent on the Windows OEM license where you get one chance to use it on a single piece of hardware.

On previous versions of Office it was a different story. The suite was associated with a “Licensed Device” and could only be used on a single device. But there was nothing to stop you uninstalling Office and installing it on another machine perfectly legally. With that option removed, Office 2013 effectively becomes a much more expensive proposition for many. As a reminder, Office 2013 costs anywhere from $140 to $400 depending on the version chosen (Office Home & Student, Office Home & Business, or Office Professional), all of which carry the new license agreement.

Of course, Microsoft has a solution to this in the form of Office 365. Instead of buying a retail copy tied to a single machine, you could instead subscribe to Office 365, which is tied to the user not the hardware, and can be used across 5 PCs or 4 Macs at any one time. But subscriptions aren’t for everyone, and eventually you end up paying more for the software.

It’s more likely these new license terms will push users to choose an alternative to Office 2013 or Office 365. Both OpenOffice and LibreOffice are free and good enough for the consumer market. Google is also continuing to push its free-to-use Google Docs as an alternative to Office.


XP and Vista users: No Office 2013 for you

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

Still running XP or Vista and eyeing Office 2013? Sorry, you’re out of luck.

Unveiled on Monday, the upcoming new Office suite won’t support Windows XP or Vista, meaning users who need or want Office 2013 will have to upgrade to Windows 7 or Windows 8.

Microsoft confirmed the tighter requirements on its Office 2013 Preview Technet page. Only Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows Server 2008 R2, and Windows Server 2012 will be able to run the new suite.

Users will also need a PC with at least a 1Ghz processor, 1GB of RAM for the 32-bit version (2GB for the 64-bit version), at least 3GB of free hard disk space, and a graphics card that can provide at least a 1024 x 576 resolution.

The PC specs shouldn’t be a challenge for most users. But the OS requirement may prove problematic.

Vista users have been dropping like flies, most of them likely upgrading to Windows 7 by this point. Recent stats from Net Applications showed Vista’s market share at less than 7 percent in June, and steadily dropping.

But Windows XP is hanging on after more than 10 years.

Though Windows 7 is likely to claim the top spot this month, XP still holds more than 40 percent of the market, according to Net Applications.

That figure certainly covers many businesses, large and small, that rely on XP as a standard and stable environment that supports all their applications and is familiar to their users.

Microsoft may be hoping that the appeal of Office 2013 will prompt more users and businesses to move away from XP. The company may even been looking at the combination of Windows 8 and Office 2013 to convince more people to upgrade both their OS and Office suite around the same time.

Extended technical support for Windows XP will also end in April 2014, which means no more patches, bug fixes, or other updates. Microsoft has revealed no release date for Office 2013, but let’s assume it debuts by the end of the year or early 2013. Why support an operating system that’s due to expire the following year, especially when you’re trying to push users to upgrade?

Still, it’s a gamble. The number of XP installations will certainly continue to fall as more companies make the move to Windows 7. By even by the time Office 2013 launches, XP will still hold a healthy chunk of the market, leaving a lot of people unable to run the new suite.

Windows and Office are Microsoft’s two bread-and-butter products, accounting for a major chunk of the company’s business. To continue to generate revenue, the company needs its customers to constantly migrate to the latest versions of both products.

And while individual users can easily upgrade a single machine, businesses face the time, expense, and effort of migrating hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands of machines. So despite Microsoft’s best efforts, many companies will continue to hold on as long as they can with their current versions of Windows and Office.

Source:  CNET

Microsoft unveils Office 2013, download the preview now

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

Microsoft has today taken the lid off its all new version of Microsoft Office, dubbed Office 2013. And if you’ve used Office before, expect to be working with a suite of applications that look very different when you finally make the jump to Windows 8.

Microsoft has redesigned Office with touch in mind, so as to allow the suite to work across desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphone devices, as well as putting a new focus on using the cloud. In order to do that the interface required a radical overhaul, and the result is Office 2013.

As well as creating a brand new interface that is touch-friendly, Microsoft wants to ensure you can access your documents everywhere and from any Windows 8 device. The solution to that problem is integration with cloud-based storage through SkyDrive, which Office uses by default to save all documents. Saving in the cloud also extends to your Office preferences and most recent files.

There will be two versions of Office on offer. Office 2013 is the desktop version we all are used to with a one-time fee for a license. Then there’s Office 365, which is the subscription version. Essentially Office 365 allows you to use Office 2013 across multiple machines (how many will depend on the version you choose) and sync your data between them using SkyDrive.

Microsoft also intends to make some extra cash from selling extral SkyDrive storage to heavy users, and integrating Skype for which you can buy credit for calls that aren’t deemed free.

As for pricing, Microsoft has yet to announce the final details. If you purchase a tablet running Windows RT it will ship with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote by default. It’s likely pricing for the standard single-license Office 2013 will be similar to what has gone before, but the subscription pricing will be key, especially if Microsoft intends to compete with Google in the cloud-office space.

One thing Microsoft has promised is all subscription levels will include all applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, and Access). And by subscribing you guarantee future updates and new versions will just roll out to you without disruption.

As for the levels of subscription, there will be Office 365 Home Premium for consumers, Office 365 Small Business Premium for business users, and Office 365 ProPlus for enterprises. The Home Premium edition will include 20GB of SkyDrive storage, 60 minutes of Skype world minutes to use every month, and 5 licenses for installing Office on multiple machines and devices.

Final pricing for Office 2013 is expected to be announced in the fall, but you don’t have to wait until then to try out the new suite. Microsoft is offering a Customer Preview version you can sign-up for and try right now.