Microsoft Windows and Office Licensing

Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office are two of the most popular software applications developed by Microsoft. While both are widely used by individuals and businesses, the licenses required for each product differ. It is important to understand the differences between Microsoft Windows licenses and Microsoft Office licenses.

Microsoft Windows Licenses

Microsoft Windows is an operating system that is designed to run on personal computers and laptops. It is the most widely used operating system in the world and is essential for running most software applications. There are several versions of Windows available, including Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 7, and Windows Vista.

When purchasing a new computer, most manufacturers include a pre-installed copy of Windows as part of the package. This means that you do not need to purchase a separate license for Windows if you are buying a new computer. However, if you are building a custom computer or upgrading an existing one, you will need to purchase a Windows license separately.

License Types

Microsoft offers two types of licenses for Windows: retail licenses and OEM licenses.

Retail licenses are designed for individuals and small businesses, and are for use on a single computer. These licenses are transferable, which means that you can uninstall Windows from one computer and install it on another. They can also be upgraded to a newer version of Windows at a discounted price.

OEM licenses are designed for computer manufacturers and are typically sold in bulk. however, these licenses are not transferable. OEM licenses are also tied to the hardware on which they are installed. Therefor, if you replace a significant component such as the motherboard, you may need to purchase a new license.

Microsoft Office Licenses

Microsoft Office is a suite of software applications that includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and other applications. These applications are designed to help individuals and businesses create, manage, and share documents and other types of information. There are several versions of Office available, including Office 365, Office 2019, and Office 2016.

Office 365 is a subscription-based service that includes access to the latest versions of Office applications, as well as other services such as OneDrive cloud storage and Skype for Business. Subscriptions can be purchased on a monthly or yearly basis, and the license can be used on multiple devices. Office 365 licenses are also transferable, which means that you can deactivate the license on one device and activate it on another.

Office 2019 and Office 2016, on the other hand, are perpetual licenses that allow you to use the software indefinitely. These licenses are sold as a one-time purchase, and you can install the software on a single device. However, these licenses are not transferable, which means that you cannot deactivate the license on one device and activate it on another.


In summary, Microsoft Windows licenses and Microsoft Office licenses have significant differences. Windows licenses are tied to a specific computer and may be transferable depending on the type of license purchased, Office licenses are typically subscription-based and can be used on multiple devices. Understanding the differences between these licenses is important if you are purchasing new software or upgrading your existing software.

Choosing the right Microsoft 365 licenses for your company is an important decision that can have a significant impact on your business. By considering your needs, comparing plans, and thinking about user count, flexibility, and support, you can choose the best Microsoft 365 licenses for your business. For additional details, visit the Microsoft website. Learn more about Office Licenses as well.

Consider reaching out to one of our business technology consultants. You can contact CTS Companies here, or simply search for IT Services in Michigan.