Microsoft’s Windows Genuine Advantage program for detecting unlicensed copies of Windows has a less than sterling reputation as I’ve mentioned previously, but that didn’t keep Microsoft from quietly implementing it on Friday for Microsoft Office under the name Office Genuine Advantage:
Microsoft on Friday made an anti-piracy check by Microsoft Office XP and 2003 mandatory for users of most versions of the application suite, the company said.
The news comes on the heels of Microsoft’s controversial announcement earlier this month to add more anti-piracy checks to the upcoming Windows Vista operating system. There are differences, however, between the two, said Ashim Jaidka, director of the Office Genuine Advantage (OGA) program.
“Vista’s Software Protection Platform wasn’t ready at the time we needed to make a decision [about anti-piracy] in Office 2007′s development,” said Jaidka. Instead, the counterfeit sniffing OGA technology is based on Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA), the framework used by Windows XP. “It’s a variant of that, and an extension of WGA.”
Beginning Friday, users of Office XP and 2003 must prove to Microsoft that their software is legitimate to download add-ons from the Office Web site.
Office 2007, which is set to debut later this year and early in 2007 to businesses and consumers, respectively, will also require OGA, said Jaidka.
Similarly, as of January Microsoft will also make users validate before they can obtain updates from Office Update…
Critical updates aren’t affected however. Ed Bott already has mentioned a run-in that John Walkenbach had with a bogus OGA validation failure in beta Office 2007 and given WGA’s track record, there would seem to be more to come.