Mary Jo Foley breaks the news that Microsoft Office will adopt a Genuine Advantage mechanism like the one employed in Windows XP to verify that the copy of Office being used in legitimately licensed. She also reports that Windows Genuine Advantage will move to a messaging strategy that sends alerts to the user's desktop that they are using a pirated copy of the OS.
In a press release yesterday, Microsoft announced that the company will begin a pilot of "Office Genuine Advantage," (OGA) in seven languages: Brazilian Portuguese, Czech, Greek, Korean, Simplified Chinese, Russian and Spanish. The program that will operate almost identically to Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA).
Software counterfeiting and piracy is big business. According to the release,
"In the United Kingdom, more than 21,000 suspected illegal sales were halted on eBay in the second half of 2005, including one group that sought to trade millions of pounds (GBP) worth of counterfeit software to consumers. In Italy, numerous civil cases are being instigated following leads established from successful test-purchase campaigns."
Presuming the OGA process is implemented similarly to WGA, Office users will have to validate their copy of the suite before gaining access to updates, add-ins, and other enhancements. It's unclear how critical security updates will be handled and if these "greater good" releases will be provided without a validation check.