Microsoft to add Genuine Advantage anti-piracy nag to Office

Microsoft is set to begin a pilot of a new Genuine Advantage anti-piracy mechanism for Office that will add a “nag-like” feature, akin to what is now part of Windows Vista, to Office. Office already currently includes an Office Genuine Advantage (OGA) validation mechanism (for Office XP and Office 2007), but Microsoft doesn’t do a […]

Microsoft is set to begin a pilot of a new Genuine Advantage anti-piracy mechanism for Office that will add a “nag-like” feature, akin to what is now part of Windows Vista, to Office.

Office already currently includes an Office Genuine Advantage (OGA) validation mechanism (for Office XP and Office 2007), but Microsoft doesn’t do a whole lot to “punish” those it deems to be running non-Genuine versions of Office. However, as part of a new OGA notifications pilot program — which Microsoft is launching in Chile, Italy, Spain and Turkey, according to an April 8 announcement buried in a Q&A on Microsoft’s Web site — Microsoft is set to turn up the unpleasantness a notch.

I asked Microsoft to explain what will happen in the new pilot. According to Cori Hartje, Director Genuine Software Initiative:

“Today, in current OGA validation process, there is no visual & persistent representation within the experience of being a non-genuine Office user. The outcome for being non-genuine today is that the user does not gain access to Office templates and other downloads. In the pilot the non-genuine copy of Office will also have an icon on the toolbar or ribbon indicating that it is non-genuine.

“Specifically, users of non-genuine Office in the pilot areas will receive a pop-up dialog box alerting them their Microsoft Office software is not genuine. The customer will receive this dialog box the first time they open an Office application each day, and again two hours later for a period of 30 days. They will also receive information on how to learn more about the issue, and how to acquire genuine Microsoft Office. After receiving these dialog box notifications for 30 days, Office applications will be marked with a visual reminder that the copy of Office is not genuine. Both the dialog box and/or the visual reminder will disappear once the customer gets genuine Office and/or uninstalls the non-genuine Office products. None of the visual cues presented will impair a customer from accessing their data or preparing documents.”

In other words, the new OGA nagging won’t be like the old Windows kill switch. Instead it will be the kinder and gentler nagging which Microsoft adopted with Vista Service Pack (SP) 1.

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Microsoft, Windows Genuine Advantage, WGA, OGA, Office Genuine Advantage, Microsoft Office, Office 2007, Anti-piray