Microsoft has quietly retired its Office Genuine Advantage anti-piracy program.
Office Genuine Advantage is an offshoot of Microsoft’s WGA program, which notifies users if they are using fake versions of Windows. Similarly, Office Genuine Advantage kept tabs on bogus versions of the company’s productivity suite. Microsoft announced plans for OGA in 2006, but it was not available in the U.S. until August 2009.
Users who learned they were using non-genuine versions of Office were directed to a customized Microsoft Web page to learn about their validation results and find solutions to become “genuine.”
A note on the Microsoft Support page says simply that the “program has been retired” and provides a link to a page that explains the benefits of using a “genuine” version of Office.
The story was first reported by Microsoft related newsgroups, who notes that the program’s retirement might come as a surprise to other parts of Microsoft, given that some of the Web sites mentioning the program have not yet been updated.
However, while the move does make downloading extra content for Office more straightforward, it’s not a sign of Microsoft taking its eye off general Office privacy. The Office activation process is still in force, as is the more general Windows validation.
The policy change doesn’t affect initial online activation, and users will still have to input the 25-character key to download certain services such as Microsoft Security Essentials, but routine upgrades and installing add-ons will no longer mean a journey into the loft to find the box.