Microsoft readies Office 2010 to Office 2013 upgrade program

Microsoft readies Office 2010 to Office 2013 upgrade program

Summary: Microsoft is said to be prepping to launch its latest Office upgrade offer this fall, and give qualifying users a choice of different Office versions to which they can move.


Just like it does with Windows, Microsoft typically offers its Office customers an upgrade guarantee program, allowing them to buy the current version of a product with a free or discounted upgrade to the next one being part of the package.


One of my contacts said the Office 2013 upgrade guarantee will begin in about a month's time -- specifically on October 19. If this is correct, users purchasing Office 2010 between that date and the end of the covered period (which my same contact said is April 30, 2013) will get some kind of guaranteed upgrade to Office 2013 once it is generally available.

Microsoft officials have not shared public guidance as to Office 2013's planned release-to-manufacturing (RTM) or general availability dates. My sources have heard that the RTM target is November 2012, with general availability slated for February 2013. (Those with TechNet/MSDN and volume-licensing agreements would likely get the final bits shortly after they RTM.)

Microsoft offered the Office 2010 tech guarantee program for those purchasing Office 2007 as of March 2010. The period of coverage was seven months, roughly the same amount of time the Office 2013 tech guarantee supposedly will last.

The Office 2010 tech guarantee upgrade program was free. It's unknown whether the Office 2013 one will be, as well. If Office follows Windows' lead, it may not be. Microsoft announced it will be charging those who purchase Windows 7 PCs between June 2 and January 31, 2013, $14.99 to obtain an upgrade to Windows 8 Pro once it is generally available. The Windows Vista upgrade program before this was free.

My contact sent me a couple of screen shots of what allegedly appeared briefly on the page (which is not currently available), which I have included below.


It appears the upgrade offer for Office will be for Windows users who purchase Office 2010 Home & Student, Home & Business 2010, Professional 2010 or University 2010 and Mac users who purchase University 2011 or Home & Student 2011 between October 19 and April 30, 2013. Windows users who buy these SKUs will have a choice of upgrading to Office 365 Home Premium (which is currently one of the new Office versions that is being beta tested) or Office 2013 SKUs that are more comparable to what's out there already.


The chart above shows some of the differences between Office 365 Home Premium and these more traditional Office 2013 releases. Office 365 Home Premium can be installed on up to five PCs and/or Macs and is licensed to a user as a one-year subscription, which will need to be renewed to continue usage. The more traditional Office 2013 SKUs can be installed on only one Windows PC with a non-transferrable license. (The Office for University and Mac Home & Student users will have the option to upgrade to Office 365 Home Premium only.)

I am not sure whether these Office upgrades will be free, but given there's no visible price on these screen shots, I'd say there's a chance.

I've asked Microsoft for comment on the details and dates of the coming Office upgrade program but have yet to hear back.

Update: Microsoft officials said they had no comment on anything about the alleged Office upgrade program.

Update (September 17): Microsoft officials confirmed all the details about the upgrade offer in my original post were correct, including the start and end dates and the SKU listings. The listed upgrades will be free to users who purchase Office 2010 between October 19 and the end of April, officials said.

Topics: Microsoft, Apple, Software, Windows


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Hmm..

    I notice that on the comparison sheet there is no mention of the previously-mentioned 20GB of SkyDrive Pro storage.
  • 2003 to 2007 was free too.

    I bet it is. Windows is different, it competes with cheap OS X upgrades (which cost).
    • OS X upgrades are certainly not cheap.

      Each new version of OS X requires a new Mac to handle the additional bloat.
      Have you ever been in a loyal Apple users house? They can't find the room to keep their "outdated" Macs and consumer electronics devices and you will normally find rooms full of them.
      • You don't have to buy a new Mac

        to install the new OXS versions. You can't install the new ones on really old Macs, but if you have a somewhat recent one you can.
        Sam Wagner
  • A bit of math

    Office 365 Home Premium comes with the equivalent of Office Professional. Office Pro (2010) sells currently for $469 in a product key card (in Canada). If we assume they bring out a new revision in another 3 years, then we can also say that the value of a full purchase equates to 3 years of subscription as far as lifecycle is concerned, and that works out to pretty near $13/mth. So if Microsoft charges less than that, you're already getting a good deal. AND you're getting multi-PC licensing too.
    • Subscriptions

      Its also important to point out that subscription revenue is far more valuable than one-time purchase revenue, because it's consistent and it takes a lot more energy to actively buy a new product than it does to cancel a subscription. Plus, subscriptions don't let users own their software (a negative to the consumer) but users always have the latest software (a positive to the consumer as well as Microsoft because it's fewer people you need to support on older software).
      Jeff Kibuule
      • Subscriptions bad for consumers

        For the most part, consumers really don't need to have the latest versions. In fact, as far as features that I actually use go, I personally don't need anything later than about Office 97. The only reason I have for upgrading is security but the Office 2007 install I have now is still supported as far as security patches go so as long as it's kept updated it's not an issue. For the time being there is no reason for me to "upgrade" to 2010 or even 2013. So for a subscription to be a good economic decision for me (and I think for most consumers) the monthly subscription rate would have to be very, very low to account for the fact that with the traditional model I would probably skip versions and only upgrade every other time (i.e. the monthly price has to be at most 50% of the cost of just buying new over a three year cycle).
        • You don't need ANY paid edition...

          ...sounds like to me. If Office 97 is fine by you, just use the free (and likely to remain so) cloud-based Skydrive Office web apps. That's what my kids use for their homework, etc. We're licensed for, and I can give them full editions, but they haven't needed them so far.
    • Joe, I agree with you on this, but for most consumers,

      The home and student office version is more than enough. And while I don't have the 2010 version, you can put the 2007 on up to three computers I believe, or maybe it's 4.

      Also, for the 365 version, don't you have to be connected to the web while you're using it, or is this just a myth?

      For me, with Sat Internet, my download is very limited, and expensive, so I prefer having the copy right on my hard drive to use at any time...

      • Yes.

        Since 97-03 used the same formatting style they are practically the same thing. Now, to answer your question Office 2013 can open '03 files (I opened one recently.) Office '13 can also save in 97-03 file format.
        • Thanks Exyaster!

          That's good to know, as we know quite a few people that are still on Office 2003 Version, and I have to remind my wife a lot of times to save in that format instead of 2007 version, before emailing them a document, which 90% of the time is a Word doc....

  • Keep in mind...

    ...that Windows upgrade costing $15 makes ANYONE with ANY VERSION of 7 eligible for the 8 Pro upgrade... including the Home Users, so I think that's a pretty fair deal.

    I would expect Office to continue to be free, though, unless they're going to include Office 365 cloud services as part of the deal.
  • Who wants that version?

    Probably only those who didn't see the ugly interface with too much white everywhere that it is blinding and gives a headache after only five minutes working with it.

    Also, the Skydrive "push in the throat" is too much... Unless I'm living on another planet I think software makers are overestimating the people's interest in cloud solutions...
    • "Unless I'm living on another planet..."

      That must be it. ;-)

      (just kidding)

      Integrating the cloud with the OS is a great value improvement over other "add-on" solutions. I haven't used iCloud, but it's the only other solution I can imagine is as deeply integrated as Skydrive will be. People like being able to access documents anywhere they are, on any device (including iOS and Mac devices). Microsoft offers that with Skydrive. And I think a lot of people are moving to the new design aesthetic. It's not just Microsoft. Have you seen the Google redesigns?
      • I don't mind that the cloud exists

        It's just too much in your face and couldn't find a setting to let Office know that when I click open or save I'd like to be in a local drive as with previous versions by default and not on Skydrive.

        And no I didn't see the Google redesign, I never used any of their apps. I only created a gmail account last year because I needed it for the Android Market but never actually went back to look for e-mails or used any of their apps. Only the thought that using Google Docs and having my docs under Google's scrutiny makes me shiver!

        I'm all for local apps and local storage... I don't trust anybody else than myself with my documents.

        For e-mail, only ordinary e-mails go through servers like Hotmail, for all important stuff I still use a pop account where my mail is downloaded locally and removed from server afterwards.

        I won't be cought with my hands tied when the sun shines again and the sky clears up of clouds!
        • Don't understand: Why not SkyDrive?

          I don't get the objection, so I'm not sure you understand how it works: It saves to a folder on your hard disk that is sync'd with SkyDrive automatically. If the cloud goes away, you have it locally, and if your local copy goes away (the far more likely scenario), you have the cloud.

          We all just fear change, I guess.
  • Microsoft readies Office 2010 to Office 2013 upgrade program

    I want to upgrade to this just so I have the newest version. Don't have to worry about compatibility then.
    Loverock Davidson-
    • love rock, you just made a question come to mind,

      Does the 2010, or 2013 versions have a way to open, and / or edit earlier versions such as 2003, or earlier, such as Word '97?

      • Yes...

        Since 97-03 used the same formatting style they are practically the same thing. Now, to answer your question Office 2013 can open '03 files (I opened one recently.) Office '13 can also save in 97-03 file format.

        (Yes, I know. Double post.) I meant to reply to this comment of yours....
  • That Office 2013 Interface

    I want to echo lepoete73's complaint - the "All White" (or should I say "dazzling white") interface for Office 2013 causes real headaches when working on my Samsung Series 7 Slate with its glossing 11.6" screen. I realize they are trying to fake people into thinking that Office 2013 is a Metro app (appearances only) on a tablet, but it is just TOO STARK for human consumption. We need some customization here folks.