Office anti-piracy checks to become mandatory

Microsoft will make the checks compulsory

The Office worker productivity and collaboration suite is about to become the next piece of Microsoft software subject to mandatory piracy checks.

The company’s Office Genuine Advantage (OGA) program requires mandatory validation of Office software, says Microsoft. So, any Office Online templates downloaded from within the Office 2007 Microsoft Office System applications will require validation of legitimacy.

Similarly, starting in January, users of Office Update will have to prove their Office software is legitimate before they can use the service, says Microsoft. But the validation process is “quick and simple”, it adds. The OGA program, currently in the testing phase, is now available in 26 languages worldwide.

OGA is a sister program to Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA), which automatically checks a user’s version of Windows to ensure it is not counterfeit. Microsoft has integrated this check directly into the next version of Windows, Vista. As part of this checking process, a Vista user must activate his or her copy of the software with a valid activation key within 30 days of purchase or face the OS going into reduced functionality mode.

In recent years, Microsoft has increased its software-piracy fighting efforts. But they have not been universally popular — especially when early bugs in WGA meant legitimate software was being tagged as counterfeit. Microsoft was also forced to ditch a WGA notification feature that sent information to it from users’ PCs after some users dubbed it spyware.

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