Not Feeling Like a Crook Anymore

There was great news for the Windows using community this week.  Microsoft has discontinued its Office Genuine Advantage program.

It was a program with good Microsoft intent.  It was a way to ensure that you were using legitimate software.  In an effort to stem software piracy, you had to prove that the software that you’re running was legitimate.  If not, you might see a message like this.

I suppose it is great in theory but it always bothered me.  I legitimately purchase a copy of the software and carefully type in the serial number after I installed it and then shortly thereafter, I’d have to authenticate that the software was actually legitimate.  It was too bad that I couldn’t just hold my receipt up to the web cam.

It was only an annoyance to those who actually purchased the product.  For those who pirate it, they’d just have to do a search and find what they wanted.

The worst thing is that the validation didn’t always work.  Messages would pop up at the most inopportune times informing me that there were problems and I would have to re-validate.  Hey, I’m in education – I can’t afford to do anything like software piracy.  We are supposed to lead by example.  I do remember an instance with Microsoft Powerpoint all of a sudden deciding that I needed to re-validate.  I can’t recall the specifics but I wasn’t alone and it was an embarrassing moment – haha, you have a pirated copy.  It made an OpenOffice user of me on the spot.

The whole premise really bothered me.  A copy of Microsoft Office isn’t cheap but then you have to go through this additional step?  I don’t blame Microsoft for protecting their product but it never seemed right to force legitimate owners to have to prove again and again that they were legitimate.

I’m all for keeping things on the up and up.  The net result should be lower prices for all of us.  But, let’s go after the pirates, not the legitimate users.  I won’t miss this program a bit.

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