Microsoft Restricts Use of Network Software

Because of a new Microsoft policy, some Harvard network users will have to spend about $150 if they wish to continue using software currently obtainable from the Harvard network.

Beginning March 31, Microsoft will end an agreement with Harvard University that allows one piece of licensed software to be run on more than one computer. Users can currently run Microsoft programs including Word and Excel from their personal computers through the Harvard network.

Under the current system, Harvard needs to purchase only as many copies of a product as are needed at once. For example, because Harvard purchased 100 copies of Microsoft Word, any 100 of the several hundred lab computers on campus can run the program at once, according to Rick Osterberg '96, Coordinator of Residential Computing Support.

With the new system, Harvard will need to purchase one copy of the software for each machine on which it is installed.


When users open the programs through the server now, they cannot copy the program onto their computers' hard drives.

Students reacted with dismay to the change in policy.

"I think that Harvard needs to renegotiate a contract with Microsoft because not everyone can afford to buy the software and not everyone wants to pirate it, and I think that for $30,000 a year we deserve to be able to use programs that Harvard can pay for," said Ziad Obermeyer '01-'00.

Microsoft Office, a suite of programs including the ones accessible from Harvard's network, costs approximately $150 at the educational price at the Technology Product Center, Osterberg wrote in an e-mail message.

User assistants declined to comment on the policy change, but a former assistant familiar with University-Microsoft negotiations said he believed Microsoft changed its policy for fear of losing money due to piracy.

Recommended Articles