When originally asked if they were going to use Office Genuine Advantage to cripple users pc’s, like they are doing with Vista, Microsoft declined to comment. Well, the cat is out, and they are indeed going to force the reduced functionality on users who are suspected of running pirated software. I say suspected because they have had many, many problems and issues with Windows Genuine Advantage, as I originally noted here.
A knowledge base article, released on the 14th of November, Frequently asked questions about the Office Activation Wizard and about reduced-functionality mode in 2007 Office programs addresses this and reveals that they are indeed using reduced functionality mode. For perpetual license products, you can skip product activation 25 times. If you do not activate the product in the allocated number of program starts, the 2007 Office programs start to run in reduced-functionality mode, for Product Trial Program license products they start off running in reduced functionality mode.
When asked last month whether Microsoft was planning to punish alleged Office 2007 pirates by crippling the functionality of their software in the same way that Microsoft is doing with Vista via reduced-functionality mode, Microsoft officials were noncommittal.
But now Microsoft’s intentions are clear: Just as it is doing with Vista, Microsoft plans to incorporate what basically amounts to a “kill switch” into Office 2007. Office 2007 users who can?t or won?t pass activation muster within a set time period will be moved into “reduced-functionality mode,” according to Microsoft’s Knowledge Base article.
“When a program runs in reduced-functionality mode, many commands are unavailable (dimmed). Therefore, you cannot access those functionalities,” the article explains. Some of the limitations of reduced-functionality mode include the following:
- You cannot create new documents.
- You can view existing documents. However, you cannot edit them.
- You can print documents. However you cannot save them.”
There is already a crapload of comments on that blog post, so I assume the Microsoft haters have jumped in and the fun has commenced, but I don’t know that for sure, there could actually be some good comments there. I wonder if the reason they waited until to announce was because of all of the trouble Windows Genuine Advantage has caused?
If you hate or have had trouble with WGA, or Windows Genuine Advantage, their tool that checks to see if your Windows is pirated or not, then you are going to love this. Today, Microsoft has launched Office Genuine Advantage, or OGA, which will require mandatory validation of Office software starting October 27, 2006. Any Office Online templates downloaded from the Office 2007 Microsoft Office System will require validation. Starting in January, Office Update will require validation as well before you can download updates. What will this mean for Office 2007 users? Many people have had trouble with WGA, can similar troubles be expected from OGA?
Users absolutely hated the first iteration of the Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) program, and their protests pressured the company into revising it about a year after it launched in July 2005.
Microsoft said in a press statement that the validation process will be “quick and simple” for users. The OGA program, currently in the testing phase, is now available in 26 languages worldwide.
Microsoft has integrated this check directly into the next version of its OS, Windows Vista, as part of what it is calling a “Software Protection Platform.” Through that automatic validation system, a Vista user must activate his or her copy of the software with a valid activation key within 30 days after purchase of the software, or see the OS enter a reduced functionality mode. In that mode, users can browse the Web for an hour but then the system will log them out, and they will have to log in again if they want to browse more. Source: PC World
One would expect similar troubles with OGA, I expect more users to stick with 2003 instead of upgrading, and I know some business owners will probably look long and hard at what they plan on doing concerning Office from now on.