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Office on iOS, Android is not free for everyone

Gregg Keizer | Nov. 10, 2014
For any commercial use, it costs the same today as it did last week: Office 365 subscription required.

Those subscriptions include most but not all business-oriented Office 365 subscriptions: Office 365 Business ($8.25 per user per month), Business Premium ($12.50), ProPlus ($12) and Enterprise E3 ($20).

The license also has another codicil that went unreported. Although subscribers to pertinent Office 365 plans "may use and install copies of the application on an unlimited number of iOS devices you own or control," that's not the case for consumers. "You may install and use one copy of the software on iOS devices you own or control [emphasis added]," the section on the freemium iPad app read.

Miller was worried about the blurring of the lines between consumer and commercial use of Microsoft's Office apps, but not because one was sort of free while the other not free at all.

"For commercial organizations, I'm concerned about how they can prevent this becoming a large license compliance issue when employees bring their own iPads in to work," Miller wrote on his blog.

Microsoft often audits customers to enforce licensing compliance, and when it detects irregularities, it demands that businesses "true up," or purchase additional licenses, and in some cases even levies large penalties.


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