Microsoft has left a loophole open in Office for iPad, if exploited, lets users access all features of the productivity suite without paying for Office 365.
Last week Microsoft finally launched Office for iPad. The apps, Word, Excel and PowerPoint, instantly climbed on top of App Store chart. Office for iPad apps are free to download, but offer limited functionality. To edit or compose documents, an Office 365 subscription is mandatory.
With Office 365, Microsoft lets users download and use the productivity suite on up to five PCs and Macs, as well as up to five tablets. So technically the Office for iPad apps can only be authenticated on five iPads with an Office 365 account, but there is a loophole which can be used to authenticate the apps on any number of iPads. All premium features will work just fine, even if the user hasn’t paid for the subscription.
To exploit this loophole, all users need is someone who has a valid Office 365 account. The account holder needs to sign into just one Office for iPad apps, and all other apps from the suite are automatically signed into. This automatically authenticates the tablet for all Office apps as well as for any and all future users, even if they themselves have not paid for Office 365.
Microsoft knows about this loophole, and it is capable of tracking how many iPads have been authenticated using a single account. The company says that it does not strictly enforce the limit on tablet installations, which is five tablets per account. It trusts that “users respect and understand the device limits outlined in the EULA [end user rights agreement].”