Competition watch


Isn’t it cute?

Here you can see a CD-ROM and the tiny retail box of new Microsoft Office 2013.

So, is this the installation disk? Hmm, wait. It seems the CD-ROM doesn’t even fit in the box. To solve this riddle: If you buy Microsoft Office 2013, they are not including an installation disk at all anymore. All you get are two pieces of paper, a key code, and a download link.

Pretty thrifty to skimp on a 20 cent CD-ROM in a package that sells for $139.99! If you are on a slow internet connection, you won’t be happy.

So this is annoying. But of course it’s more important to see what’s behind the curtain. Let’s have a look and compare Microsoft Office with SoftMaker Office.

Microsoft Office 2013: The low-end package is called “Home and Student” and already costs $139.99. For this price, you get a single license for just one PC. Before, with Microsoft Office 2010, they gave you three licenses.

So, if you wish to install Microsoft Office 2013 on a second PC (for example, your notebook computer), be ready to shell out another $139.99. Total: $279.98. That’s for an office suite that you may not use for commercial purposes. Or for non-profit use, for that matter.

Microsoft Outlook is not included with Microsoft Office 2013 Home & Student. If you need it, you have to purchase the Home & Business edition of Microsoft Office. It costs $219.99, again for a single license.

By the way: Microsoft ties the product key to your hardware. If you buy a new computer, you will have to buy Microsoft Office 2013 again. Hard to believe? We thought so as well, until we found the Microsoft Office 2013 license agreement:

Have a look at the yellow passages. Incredible.

SoftMaker Office Professional 2012: At $99.95, our best package costs $40 less than the cheapest one from Microsoft. If you are entitled to upgrading, you pay only $44.95.

For these prices, you will receive three licenses and not just one. These may be used at home and commercially. And one of the best e-mail clients is already included: eM Client Professional 5. If you buy another computer, your license does not expire. And if you need help, SoftMaker’s tech support is available free of charge, just a phone call or e-mail away.

So why do so many people still buy Microsoft Office?

Honestly, we don’t know. Is it because they think they have to use Word, Excel, and PowerPoint to stay compatible? Are they afraid that they can’t exchange files with friends and collegues seamlessly when they use an alternative office suite? That may be true of other office suites, but definitely not of SoftMaker Office. Equipped with the best import and export filters in the industry, SoftMaker Office handles all Microsoft Office formats with ease.

So, in fact there is no good reason. Don’t follow the herd, think for yourself!

UPDATE 2013-02-02: The press and news web sites have now also picked up this story and confirm that Microsoft is tightening the screws on licensing:

The uproar seems to be so big that Microsoft felt compelled to issue a statement. In short: No, there is no installation disk anymore. No, the license may no longer be used on three PCs. No, the license may not be transferred from a dead PC to a new one, unless the defective computer is still under warranty (in some countries, warranty lasts only 90 days after purchase). In that case, Microsoft makes a special “exemption” so that the customer may continue using the product he paid for on a new PC. Awfully nice of them!


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  • Rena says:

    Microsoft tried this same game years a go with Office XP or(2002) whichever you prefer. They had so many people complain about this they went back to the old way with Office 2003 edition.

    They never learn, or most likely they forgot.

  • Eurico Dzivane says:

    I’m a SoftMaker Office Professional 2012. In general, I’m happy with the product. But I was used to some things when I used to be Microsoft Office user; my Internet Security software for example can’t use eM Client on its anti-spam feature. It simply doesn’t be detected as a mail program. I tried two PDF softwares that don’t “see” TextMaker as a partner. Furthermore, when drawing table I miss the pencil and the eraser provided by Microsoft Office that make me be flexible…