October 27, 2006 10:53 AM PDT

Microsoft gets tough on Office fakers

Microsoft is making its antipiracy check mandatory for Office.

The company introduced Office Genuine Advantage in April as a voluntary way for people to ensure that they only used licensed and legal copies of the productivity software. But as of Friday, Office Online templates downloaded from within Microsoft Office System 2007 applications will require validation of the Office software in use.

And as of January 2007, people will also have to complete the authentication test if they want to use Office Update.

The move means that users who are caught using software that can't be proved to be 100 percent legal won't get access to add-ons and updates from Microsoft. Those denied access because their version does not pass the authentication test will need to prove that their software is valid before they can proceed.

Microsoft says it will "continue to provide a complimentary copy of Microsoft Office to help qualifying customers who unknowingly acquired counterfeit versions of Microsoft Office 2003." But users will need to "fill out a counterfeit report, provide proof of purchase and send in their counterfeit CDs" to prove their entitlement to a free replacement copy of Office.

Customers who have "unknowingly acquired" a counterfeit version of Office and can't provide these details will have to pay a license fee, Microsoft said. This will be $359 for the Office Genuine Advantage kit for Microsoft Office Professional Edition 2003, while the Microsoft Office Small Business Edition 2003 costs $269 and the Microsoft Office Student and Teacher Edition 2003 costs $139. This offer is available for November, the company said.

Tony Lock of analyst firm Sageza said that the licensing changes were not unexpected. He believes it makes sense for Microsoft to bring its licensing strategies for Office and Windows in line. "But I think most of the problems come from Windows and not Office," he said.

Microsoft has escalated its battle with software pirates during the past two years through the "Genuine Advantage" add-ons for Windows and Office, its biggest cash cows. The company is now expanding its push by putting antipiracy features in its new products and taking more drastic action when it finds that a product was illegitimately acquired.

Earlier this month, Microsoft owned up to problems with Windows Genuine Advantage when some validated customers were denied access to their applications because of a software problem.

Colin Barker reported for ZDNet UK from London. CNET News.com's Joris Evers contributed to this report.

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Microsoft Office, antipiracy, add-on, Microsoft Corp., Microsoft Windows

30 comments

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Let's see
Do people really need add-ons and upgrades to office products? Most people don't use or need any functionality that was not in Office 97 (or earlier) anyway. So people will not use it, and some will look elsewhere.

MS also requires Windows validation for IE7. Previously IE was used by all Windows users. The newer version will not be able to use the latest IE. So what? they would finaly look into the superior competitor. As long as you could get MS products (illegally) for free almost everyone got them. If it would be more difficult or more risky more people would seek alternatives and learn how to use them.

So what? MS doesn't have any interest in providing free software? does it? The alternatives have an interest in increasing their marketshare. Reaching a certain critical percentage is very important. You can see how FireFox spread likefire ever since it got a slightly bigger market. OpenOffice needs this too....
Posted by hadaso (468 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Go Firefox!
Firefox is easy to use and fast.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.esofthub.com" target="_newWindow">http://www.esofthub.com</a>
Posted by esofthub (3 comments )
Link Flag
Glad I use Open Office...
And do not have to worry about the hassle. Of course, my company uses MS Office, but it ALWAYS fails the WGA tests. Guess its now my company's problem, and puts more ammo in my fight to get them to switch to Open Office! Yippeee!
Posted by umbrae (1073 comments )
Reply Link Flag
depends on what you are doing
If your doing lots of OLE integration, and using Office as a foundation for other apps, no. Your much better off (and a cheaper solution) to buy Office.
On the other hand your only using it as a type writer, yes, get rid of Office. Your wasting money!
Posted by catch23 (436 comments )
Link Flag
I am glad you use open office too
Open Office is a fine office suite. I think most users would find it will do anything they need. For those who need even more there is always Star Office (Open Office's big brother).

I have been using Star Office/Open Office since Star Office ver 4 and left Microsoft Office behind with Office 97. I haven't looked back and haven't needed too.

Folks, if you would give Open Office a serious chance (try it for 3 months) you will probably find that you won't need to pay the Microsoft prices ever again either.
Posted by kdskinner (6 comments )
Link Flag
Is This A Sign Desperation....
... or what coming from the "REDMOND CAMPUS" since this article states in part that "as of January 2007, people will also have to complete the authentication test if they want to use Office Update...".

Coming hot on Office System's "Achilles' Heels" will be IBM's Lotus "Hannover" which will "include a set of office productivity tools which support the Open Document Format (ODF) standard. These productivity tools include word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation capabilities. "Hannover" users will be able to create, manage, edit, and import documents in ODF. The IBM productivity tools can also import and edit Microsoft Office documents and export those documents to ODF for sharing with ODF-comliant applications and solutions". So, the multi-million dollar question is - just how desperate (hard pressed) will office users be for Microsoft's Office System 2007 when there are alternatives like the up-coming IBM's Lotus Notes upgrade which will include productivity tools which "can also import and edit Microsoft Office documents and export those documents to ODF for sharing with ODF-comliant applications and solutions"!

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www-142.ibm.com/software/sw-lotus/products/product4.nsf/wdocs/productivitytools" target="_newWindow">http://www-142.ibm.com/software/sw-lotus/products/product4.nsf/wdocs/productivitytools</a>
Posted by Commander_Spock (3123 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Yeah right
One more reason to check Linux huh? Open Office and Ubuntu Live CD work fine for me. So now I'm off to install Fedora 6 in dual boot mode on this 'puter. Thanks for making my mind up for me Microsoft. Only windows install for me will be to play games until PS3 come out.
Posted by ecartman (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Ha! This is just funny
This type of licensing is exactly why I don't purchase Symantec products anymore. It's bit me in the butt once and that's enough.
Posted by Renegade Knight (13748 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Crap Symantec Software
I totally agree with you after I had problems with the activation on 2 OEM copies of Antivirus 2004 on my 2 home PC's. On one it kept asking me to activate, then it would reboot a little while later, then ask to be activated again, this kep repeating until it then stated I had reached the activation limit on the product. After talking to Symantec they gave me a fix which cured it until the next reboot, when the problem started all over again. They ended up in the bin and I too have never purchased any of their products again.
Posted by wecpc (2 comments )
Link Flag
Is This A Sign Desperation....
... or what coming from the "REDMOND CAMPUS" since this article states in part that "as of January 2007, people will also have to complete the authentication test if they want to use Office Update...".

Coming hot on Office System's "Achilles' Heels" will be IBM's Lotus "Hannover" which will "include a set of office productivity tools which support the Open Document Format (ODF) standard. These productivity tools include word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation capabilities. "Hannover" users will be able to create, manage, edit, and import documents in ODF. The IBM productivity tools can also import and edit Microsoft Office documents and export those documents to ODF for sharing with ODF-comliant applications and solutions". So, the multi-million dollar question is - just how desperate (hard pressed) will office users be for Microsoft's Office System 2007 when there are alternatives like the up-coming IBM's Lotus Notes upgrade which will include productivity tools which "can also import and edit Microsoft Office documents and export those documents to ODF for sharing with ODF-comliant applications and solutions"!

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www-142.ibm.com/software/sw-lotus/products/product4.nsf/wdocs/productivitytools" target="_newWindow">http://www-142.ibm.com/software/sw-lotus/products/product4.nsf/wdocs/productivitytools</a>

Perhaps, it is time to "consider" what to do with the Microsoft's Stocks that you hold!
Posted by Commander_Spock (3123 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Office 2007 sucks anyways.
Office 2007 sucks!

I hate it a lot, I would not pay a dime for it.

2003 was quite good, you guys ruined it.
Posted by rmiecznik (224 comments )
Link Flag
Re: Is this a sign of desperation?
I don't think it's as much a sign of desperation as a sign that
they're never happy; they never have enough.

Now the argument could also be made that they deserve to be
paid for their product and I'd agree with that argument with only
this to say - their product is ridiculously overpriced.

I still periodically check out OpenOffice to see how it's coming
along. Unfortunately, it's nowhere near Office YET.

Charles R. Whealton
Charles Whealton @ pleasedontspam.com
Posted by chuck_whealton (521 comments )
Link Flag
Re: Is this a sign of desperation?
I don't think it's as much a sign of desperation as a sign that
they're never happy; they never have enough.

Now the argument could also be made that they deserve to be
paid for their product and I'd agree with that argument with only
this to say - their product is ridiculously overpriced.

I still periodically check out OpenOffice to see how it's coming
along. Unfortunately, it's nowhere near Office YET.

Charles R. Whealton
Charles Whealton @ pleasedontspam.com
Posted by chuck_whealton (521 comments )
Link Flag
They looked the other way...
For YEARS MS looked the "other way" while it's installation base grew. Now that they have reached market saturation, they intend for folks to pay. I am all for paying for good software that I use. However, the price of MS software (which is WAY too high) has always annoyed me since it is up to the 'user' to debug their junk. Anyway, I digress... The point is it almost seems like drug dealer tactics. Get folks using then start holding back supply until they pay.

I am beginning to use other options on my personal computer and will start doing the same for my business machines.

Thanks MS for driving more folks to the open source market. I am quickly discovering how much good quality low cost or FREE software is available.
Posted by bdering (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Oh please
C'mon, you steal a car and don't get caught, then 5 years later you take it in for work and they look up the VIN and turn you into the cops, then you claim it is all their fault?

Puh-lease. If you want your free software, go to open source, but if you want pay for software instead, don't blame the company you stole it from.

Just another example of why it's always someone ELSES fault for everyone's problems, never the person themselves. What a SAD world we live in.
Posted by Anon-Y-mous (124 comments )
Link Flag
Good!
Microsoft finally tightening up its licensing act is the best thing that ever happened to third-part software and open source.

I'm delighted. I just need a few more pieces - particularly, an easy way to get my wifi card working in Linux - and MS won't be seeing much more of me or my $$. This and all-spyware-all-the-time Vista are really starting to shift incentives in favor of other parties.
Posted by imhodudes (60 comments )
Reply Link Flag
UNO Bridge, anyone?
I think this is what you're referring to. You can do it with OpenOffice too, with the UNO stuff.
Posted by Solarion (11 comments )
Reply Link Flag
sorry, meant for catch23
sorry, meant for catch23
Posted by Solarion (11 comments )
Link Flag
Unlike Windows we have other options...
including WordPerfect, Star Office, Open Office and other things. While we can't dump Windows (if we want real software) we certainly can dump Office.

Robert
Posted by Heebee Jeebies (632 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Like in Windows most people don't change for the same reason
Like Windows you have other options. Like Windows most people don't change for one simple reason: because there are no better alternatives IMHO.
Posted by Ryo Hazuki (378 comments )
Link Flag
You pretty much have it backwards
I have switched all but one PC to Ubuntu Linux but had to have one to run MS Office apps requiring certain features.

I am partially using CrossOffice and should be able to move this work to it once Office 2003 is fully implemented.
Posted by slim-1 (229 comments )
Link Flag
You pretty much have it backwards
I have switched all but one PC to Ubuntu Linux but had to have one to run MS Office apps requiring certain features.

I am partially using CrossOffice and should be able to move this work to it once Office 2003 is fully implemented.
Posted by slim-1 (229 comments )
Link Flag
Options may not be better.
If somebody has a fake copy of office they are probably going to get updates and other MS titles from that same soource. So they don't need the alternatives. Some MS alternatives are good but some of them aren't. I don't think StarOffice or Open Office is that great and I prefer not to use them.
Posted by Akiba (220 comments )
Link Flag
 

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