Office 365 users can label Microsoft Surface Pro as either a PC or tablet

People who have an Office 365 Home subscription can legally install the software on up to five PCs and up to five tablets, while users who have a cheaper Personal subscription can only install it on one PC and one tablet. However, Microsoft is giving owners of its Surface Pro family a choice when it comes to Office 365.

Technically, the Surface Pro and Pro 2 are tablets, since they have touchscreens and the keyboards are optional accessories. However, Microsoft has also priced the Surface Pro devices closer to laptop levels. Indeed, many buyers of the products consider them to be notebook replacements, rather than a substitute for a tablet such as Apple's iPad.

Up until this week, Microsoft officially labeled all Surface products as tablets only, but since many Surface Pro buyers are using them as their primary PC, the company has now decided to give owners a choice if they get Office 365. ZDNet reports that, according to a Microsoft statement:

We understand that the convergence of device categories can make it difficult to define some devices, and as a result, we have built in some flexibility for subscription customers. For example, an Office 365 Personal subscriber can define their Surface Pro as either a PC or a tablet.

Of course, the Surface RT and Surface 2 tablets already have Office 2013 RT pre-installed, so this decision does not affect those products.

Source: ZDNet | Image via Microsoft 

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Nokia XL goes on sale in Asia, Africa and Middle East

Next Story

Apple now second only to Amazon in online retail with $18.3 billion in revenue

33 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

can't get Surface Pro 2 to count as a tablet versus a PC

how can you register the Surface Pro 2 as a tablet with Office 365? I installed Office 365 on 5 PCs. when I went to install on the SP2, it said all my installations were used up.

So I think I figured it out. So I had the Surface Pro 2 installed as one of my 5 installations. Office 2013 was running correctly on it. I removed the Surface Pro 2 from my 5 installations and replaced its spot with another PC. So none of the 5 installations reflected the SP2. I then went to the SP2 and played with Office. There's no message saying that Office was no longer activated. So I guess now it's counting as a tablet? However, the SP2 is not listed under the mobile devices (where Windows Phone, iPad, iOS, Android are located) either.

If you have over five PC's, and the full Home subscription, it's a no-brainer to classify it as a tablet since 5 PC's/Mac's and 5 tablets can be registered.

Great move... it not only gives users a choice but it promotes the beauty of the Surface Pro. Best purchase I made in a long time :)

The Surface Pro at the end of the day is just a glorified Ultrabook with touchscreen capabilities. The only true tablet Microsoft has is the regular Surface. I actually ran into a guy at the coffee shop who had a Surface Pro. He tried to "convince" me in the span of about an hour how much better his Surface Pro is compared to my iPad. Well no shi$, it's a laptop!

Form factor is kind of a grey area nowadays.. but it's certainly not a laptop or ultrabook as it doesn't have a keyboard unless you attach one.

Max Norris said,
Form factor is kind of a grey area nowadays.. but it's certainly not a laptop or ultrabook as it doesn't have a keyboard unless you attach one.
That is also true. I still believe it needs an identity in order for it to catch on. It's pretty top heavy for a tablet and there are Ultrabooks that I find better when it wants to be a laptop. Grey area indeed.

Nope, it's not a glorified Ultrabook. On the airplane, they tell people to put away laptops during takeoff, but they didn't care about tablets and smaller devices. So when I'm using my Surface Pro, I just fold the keyboard behind and they don't make me put it away. The guy with an Ultrabook next to me had to put his device away.

Enron said,
Nope, it's not a glorified Ultrabook. On the airplane, they tell people to put away laptops during takeoff, but they didn't care about tablets and smaller devices. So when I'm using my Surface Pro, I just fold the keyboard behind and they don't make me put it away. The guy with an Ultrabook next to me had to put his device away.
I'm surprised you didn't take that as an opportunity to solicit the sale of a Surface Pro.

JHBrown said,
I'm surprised you didn't take that as an opportunity to solicit the sale of a Surface Pro.

... why? Not everybody who uses a Microsoft product is a salesman. Some of us don't give a rats ass what the guy next to us is using. (That said I am planning on getting a Pro 2 in the reasonably near future... who knows maybe I'll have to show it off to everyone I see too.)

JHBrown said,
That is also true. I still believe it needs an identity in order for it to catch on. It's pretty top heavy for a tablet and there are Ultrabooks that I find better when it wants to be a laptop. Grey area indeed.

Doesn't matter. It is still THE device to get now instead of tablets/desktops/laptops unless you have any need for discreet graphics card.

JHBrown said,
I actually ran into a guy at the coffee shop who had a Surface Pro. He tried to "convince" me in the span of about an hour how much better his Surface Pro is compared to my iPad. Well no shi$, it's a laptop!

What's really funny is when Surface Pro users diss Surface RT as being useless.

primexx said,
What's really funny is when Surface Pro users diss Surface RT as being useless.

Eh no arguments there. I may change my mind once the ecosystem expands a good bit. If I wanted nothing but simple lightweight applications I'll just whip out one of my Android devices. If I want lightweight apps plus the exact same software my desktop runs and still have the tablet form factor, then this is by far the best option.

Max Norris said,

If I wanted nothing but simple lightweight applications I'll just whip out one of my Android devices.

And are locked into Google's ecosystem instead of using Microsoft's…

MFH said,
And are locked into Google's ecosystem instead of using Microsoft's…

Eh, for me it's not a big concern as there's a crapton of software for Android. (Some of which is even good lol.) That's another turnoff with RT (for me) as you're locked into whatever's available in the Microsoft store, and right now it's slim. Not horrible, there is good stuff in there and it's slowly growing, but there's some notable absences for now. Whereas with the Pro since it's an ultrabook smushed into a tablet's chassis I can run everything I bloody well please no matter who made it. Even an Android emulator if the mood hits.

JHBrown said,
The Surface Pro at the end of the day is just a glorified Ultrabook with touchscreen capabilities. The only true tablet Microsoft has is the regular Surface. I actually ran into a guy at the coffee shop who had a Surface Pro. He tried to "convince" me in the span of about an hour how much better his Surface Pro is compared to my iPad. Well no shi$, it's a laptop!

You forgot the Stylus support, a lot of people that draw professionally are picking up Surface Pros instead of using an attached Wacom device.

I was actually surprised to see so many of them in use the last time I was at DreamWorks.

Mobius Enigma said,

You forgot the Stylus support, a lot of people that draw professionally are picking up Surface Pros instead of using an attached Wacom device.

I was actually surprised to see so many of them in use the last time I was at DreamWorks.

That would be the huge draw for me. I've been thinking of a Surface Pro 2 to go with my current laptop.

shinji257 said,

That would be the huge draw for me. I've been thinking of a Surface Pro 2 to go with my current laptop.


Get it and soon you will sell your laptop.

Its supposed to be whatever you need it to be, whenever you need it.
not a hard concept to grasp

Its a PC, a tablet or heck dock it full time and use as Desktop replacement

I use my Surface Pro 2 as my primary computer and have a large monitor connected to it... but the beauty is I can undock it anytime and it becomes a tablet :D

suprNOVA said,
Well... Isn't it supposed to be a combination of both anyway... Wasn't thus already known.

I don't think it is 5 installs (regardless of laptop or tablet). It is really 5 PC/Mac Installs and 5 tablet installs (for a total of 10 possible installs). This new policy just gives Surface Pro users a choice as to if they are using one of their tablet installs or PC installs. Pretty nice flexibility, especially for folks who opt for the "personal" edition.