Office 365 activation improvements but not for everyone

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In August there’ll be some good changes to Office 365 activation for commercial customers.  The per device activation limit will be handled in a much better way.

Each Office 365 user is limited to login/activations on five each of desktop programs, tablet apps and smartphone apps. That’s a total of 15 devices with a single login to Office.

When one of those ‘per device’ limits is reached, you have to log out of an existing Office app/software before being allowed to login on a new device.  At the moment you have to either logout on the device or go to your Microsoft account devices page and choose ‘Sign out of Office’ (previously called ‘Deactivate’)

office 365 activation changes microsoft office 29648 - Office 365 activation improvements but not for everyone

From August 2019 that will change for commercial users.

Once the login/activation limit is reached, the least used of the current activations will be dropped (signed out) automatically so the new activation will work right away.

That’s a lot smoother and faster for everyone. Instead of messing about, finding a device etc, it’ll all be handled quickly and elegantly.

The ‘least recently used’ Office login will likely be on an older, maybe discarded device.  Most people don’t bother signing out of Office on an old tablet or smartphone.  If that’s the case, the automatic sign out won’t make any practical difference to the customer.

Activation problems remain and they could be easily resolved by Microsoft.  The list of Office activated devices does not show the last activation date which is an important detail. The upcoming change makes that detail even more important.

Office activation lasts for 30 days which is important for anyone working offline for extended periods.  The new Office 365 licensing continues to be a problem for these customers because they don’t know when Microsoft starts the 30 day count.

The Devices list (see above) should show the last activation date for each device.  Offline customers would then know how long they have before needing an internet connection.  Other customers nearing their ‘five device’ limit could see which Office 365 install will be deactivated if a new login occurs.

Commercial users only … for now

This change applies to Office 365 Business plan and Office 365 Business Premium plans.  No word on extending this to Office 356 consumer customers, the obvious next step.

NOT INSTALLS – Activations/Logins count

A reminder that these days Microsoft doesn’t count installations of Office.

What matters is the number of simultaneous logins or activations of Office software using the same Microsoft account.

A lot of media and Microsoft coverage still talks about ‘installs’ of Office. It’s understandable because Office licences counted installations for many years.

Happily for most people the login/activation limits don’t matter because they’re unlikely to reach the current limits.


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