Ever since Microsoft snuck out the Office Genuine Advantage copy protection scheme in October, there’s been speculation as to what the full implications would be for Office 2007 and whether there would be a “reduced functionality mode” just as was implemented in Vista for copy protection. Well, Mary Jo Foley has spelunked the Microsoft Knowledge Base and found the Office 2007 kill switch. Hit the link for the details, but basically Office 2007 will only read documents, but not create or modify them if you fail the OGA activation test.
As I’ve observed before, there’s no particular objection to Microsoft protecting their products. It’s just that the sorry record of Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) is such that there’s an expectation of a non-negligible number of annoyed legitimate customers. Since the Office 2007 reduced function mode is only triggered by an activation test, the potential for annoyance is less, but with the ongoing OGA validation check which apparently uses different technology than WGA, the customers will now get to see if the Office folks did a better job.
Update Nov. 22: Microsoft says this isn’t new news and empasizes the difference between activation and validation.