Microsoft Quietly Retires Office Genuine Advantage

Microsoft has quietly retired its Office Genuine Advantage anti-piracy program.

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 Office Genuine Advantage program was designed to notify many customers around the world whether their copy of Microsoft Office was genuine. The program has served its purpose and thus we have decided to retire the program,” a Microsoft spokeswoman said in a statement. “Given our strong commitment to anti-piracy, we are making several new investments that will allow us to engage with customers and help victims of fraud. If someone believes that their Office software may be counterfeit, please visit Microsoft’s How to Tell Web site.”

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The story was first reported by ZDNet’s Ed Bott, 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.

Bott also notes that users will still need an activation key to install Office, and the retirement does not appear to affect Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA).

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.”

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