Microsoft caused a minor controversy a few weeks back when it revealed that its new Office 2013 product wouldn’t be transferable between computers – unless a consumer’s PC failed under warranty.

Well, it seems the stink caused by that has led the software giant to backtrack on that original policy, with Office 2013 retail license-owners now able to transfer the software to a different machine.

The controversy centered around users who wanted to buy a new PC, be it an upgrade or to replace a broken machine (that wasn’t under warranty), and take Office 2013 with them. Under the old policy, they would’ve had to buy a new license for that machine, but now Microsoft has confirmed that the latest version of the software will be brought in to line with previous versions of the omnipresent Office package.

“Based on customer feedback we have changed the Office 2013 retail license agreement to allow customers to transfer the software from one computer to another,” says Jevon Fark, from the Microsoft Office division. “This means customers can transfer Office 2013 to a different computer if their device fails or they get a new one.”

Fark adds that the existing Office 2013 license agreement will be updated in a future release, but the change will be effective immediately, applying to all editions, including Office Home and Student 2013, Office Home and Business 2013, Office Professional 2013 and the standalone Office 2013 applications. Users won’t be able to transfer more than once every 90 days.

For the record, the full update reads as follows:

“Can I transfer the software to another computer or user? You may transfer the software to another computer that belongs to you, but not more than one time every 90 days (except due to hardware failure, in which case you may transfer sooner). If you transfer the software to another computer, that other computer becomes the “licensed computer.” You may also transfer the software (together with the license) to a computer owned by someone else if a) you are the first licensed user of the software and b) the new user agrees to the terms of this agreement before the transfer. Any time you transfer the software to a new computer, you must remove the software from the prior computer and you may not retain any copies.”

This is a sensible move by Microsoft. At a time when more Office alternatives on the market, including Google’s free Docs apps, Microsoft can’t really afford to alienate its customers any more.  “At Microsoft, we strive to make Office the very best product to help busy people and families get things done,” adds Fark. “A key ingredient in our formula for success is listening to our customers, and we’re grateful for the feedback behind this change in Office licensing.”

Feature Image Credit – ERIC PIERMONT/AFP/GettyImages