Many people like to look at Microsoft and think of the software company as some Big Brother which expects its users to follow its rules without questions. But in this rare case, it appears that even Big Brother does have the capacity to give after all. VR-Zone has just gotten wind of reports online claiming that Microsoft has quietly dropped the Office Genuine Advantage validation scheme.
Read on to find out more.
When it comes to office productivity software, it is hard to find most people using anything that does not have the words “Microsoft Office” etched across the DVD or scrawled over the initializing splash animation, and for good reason. After all, no other office productivity suite comes close to the sheer features and all-roundedness of the Office product line, which has established itself as the de facto standard for such software.
However, for all its merits, Microsoft’s Office software has also received its own fair share of criticism, many of it stemming from the software giant’s decision to include the Office Genuine Advantage program. In theory, Microsoft claims that Office Genuine Advantage was included as an anti-piracy protection to help users determine if their copy of Microsoft Office was legitimate or not.
Unfortunately, most users did not see Office Genuine Advantage that way. Instead, the result was that Microsoft used Office Genuine Advantage to restrict user access to downloadable content such as templates and additional features by insisting that owners verify the legitimacy of their copy of Office before such downloads can be accessed. And while the program did its job well enough by filtering out users with pirated copies of Office, legitimate users often had to deal with the hassle of verifying their copy of Office with Microsoft just to access such content.
The good news, though, is that all of this is about to change is very instant. According to Ed Bott of ZDNet, it seems that Microsoft has, without any prior announcement or notice, quietly taken all of its Office Genuine Advantage servers offline as of December 17, three days ago. A search on Microsoft’s support site reveals what Bott had suspected: that the program has been genuinely retired for good by Microsoft themselves.
But before you get too excited, we should point out that nothing much has changed in the Office ecosystem. Users of Microsoft Office XP, 2003, 2007 and 2010 will have to go through the activation process like before, where a 25-character product key needs to be produced before Office will run on its first startup. And as unfortunate as it may sound, the Windows Genuine Advantage validation program is here to stay as well.