Microsoft to end device limits for consumer Office 365 subscribers

The device limitations for Office 365 Home and Personal subscribers will disappear in October.

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Microsoft will soon drop the device limit on its consumer-grade Office 365 subscriptions and increase the number of users allowed under a single Office 365 Home plan, the company announced today.

"Starting October 2, subscribers can install Office on an unlimited number of devices," wrote Jared Spataro, a Microsoft executive in the Office and Windows division, in a post to a company blog.

Under current rules, Office 365 Home, which costs $100 per year, allows for installation of the suite's applications — Word, Outlook, Excel and the rest — on only 10 devices, or an allowance of two devices for each of the five users who can shelter under the umbrella of a single subscription. Meanwhile, Office 365 Personal — a $70 annual plan with rights for just one individual — capped the device count at two total.

Those device limitations will disappear in little more than a month; the only restriction will be that each user can be signed into their account on a maximum of five devices simultaneously.

Also changing is the five-user rule for Office 365 Home. Beginning October 2, that subscription plan will license up to six users. Because each user receives their own 1TB of OneDrive storage space, the total space allocated for a single Home subscription will climb to 6TB.

Office 365 Home and Office 365 Personal are designed solely for consumers. The rights extended to subscribers, for instance, do not allow the applications to be used to generate content — documents, spreadsheets, presentations and the like — for business purposes. "The service/software may not be used for commercial, non-profit, or revenue-generating activities," Microsoft's licensing agreement states.

The October 2 start for the Home and Personal plans' changes revealed by Spataro may have added significance. Microsoft has said it will release the next "perpetual" versions of the suite — the bundles that are purchased with a one-time payment — in the second half of the year but has not disclosed a definite date. While the applications included with Office 365 are different — they typically contain more features than those offered as part of a perpetual license — the elimination of device limitations and the addition of the sixth user to Home may signal that early October will also be the launch timetable for Office 2019 for Windows and macOS.

Copyright © 2018 IDG Communications, Inc.

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