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Microsoft Office Genuine Advantage (OGA)

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the have-to-lock-up-those-.docs dept.

192

Ant writes "PC World is reporting that Microsoft's Office Genuine Advantage (OGA) program will require mandatory validation of Office software starting October 27 (2006)." From the article: "Similarly, starting in January, users of Office Update will have to validate the legitimacy of their Office software before they can use the service, Microsoft added. Users absolutely hated the first iteration of the Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) program, and their protests pressured the company into revising it about a year after it launched in July 2005."

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Just gets easier (4, Insightful)

krray (605395) | more than 7 years ago | (#16615408)

It is getting easier and easier to continue using Open Office is seems...

Re:Just gets easier (1)

IflyRC (956454) | more than 7 years ago | (#16615532)

Did they publish a new manual? You know...to make it easier?

Re:Just gets easier (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16615716)

Manuals are for wimps.

Re:Just gets easier (4, Funny)

muckdog (607284) | more than 7 years ago | (#16615804)

Considering that a search on Amazon returned 334 hits just for books on Openoffice, I'm sure one of them can tell you how to insert in your spooky halloween clipart.

Re:Just gets easier (1)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 7 years ago | (#16615860)

You mean I can click "Help" on the computer, type in some key words, and the book pops open automatically? Whoa! Count me in for that!

Re:Just gets easier (4, Insightful)

kimvette (919543) | more than 7 years ago | (#16615984)

The OOo manual is every bit as thorough as the typical OEM Microsoft Office manual.

What? There is no manual for M$ Office, you say? At least not one worth the paper it's printed on?

Well then, we are indeed comparing apples to apples here.

Re:Just gets easier (1)

Moofie (22272) | more than 7 years ago | (#16616434)

Whatever other warts it may have, MS Office's help files are superb. OO's? Not so much.

Re:Just gets easier (2, Insightful)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 7 years ago | (#16616872)

Just don't get your formatting associated with the wrong section break or try to work with master documents.

And will someone tell people to stop using tabs to format documents!

Re:Just gets easier (3, Insightful)

indigest (974861) | more than 7 years ago | (#16615586)

Are there any medium to large businesses out there using OpenOffice instead of Office? I am all for OpenOffice, but it seems unimaginable for the business world to wean its way off of Microsoft Word and Powerpoint.

Re:Just gets easier (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 7 years ago | (#16616284)

Company wide or in parts of the company? I know 50% of the devs here use OOo even when reading word documents. It seems to process even those better.

Re:Just gets easier (2, Funny)

rainman_bc (735332) | more than 7 years ago | (#16616998)

but it seems unimaginable for the business world to wean its way off of Microsoft Word and Powerpoint.

Not to mention that Excel beats the turd out of Calc in its ability to parse text files - at least at first glance.

Maybe I'm a dumbass, but I couldn't figure out how to load a pipe delimited file into calc like I could do so in Excel.

Excel is still more intuitive and provides more power to working with larger lists too. There's no AFAIK pivot tables in Calc either.

Both really strong reasons for the enterprise to continue to use Excel. Don't give me some cock and bull story about most end users not needing to do that. I work with about 50 who'd argue otherwise.

Re:Just gets easier (1)

rainman_bc (735332) | more than 7 years ago | (#16617032)

Doh! Don't flame me with the pivot tables! I just found out it was Pilot!

Who needs Open Office when you've got piracy? (5, Insightful)

Channard (693317) | more than 7 years ago | (#16615740)

I work at a fairly large chain that sells, amongst other things, computers. None of these PCs come with Word or Office, rather they come with Works. I explain that Works may do what they want. I explain how much Office is, and sometimes I mention you can get Open Office for free, since I don't realistically think many people are going to lay out the cash in store for the software. Know what they say typically? 'I know someone who's got office, I can get them to copy it for free.' I used to mention product validation but now I just don't bother. It's just they know Word and Office and that's what they want, by hook or by crook.

Re:Just gets easier (2, Insightful)

Foofoobar (318279) | more than 7 years ago | (#16615780)

No kidding. PDF, Word docs, Excel docs and open docs all open great and convert nicely. We use it within the workplace on several desktops and have plans to move completely to it before moving to Vista or the next gen of Office.

Re:Just gets easier (3, Insightful)

sporadic (110921) | more than 7 years ago | (#16615798)

Great timing too, I just uninstalled Office 2000 from my main desktop yesterday and installed OO 2.0.4. I thought about checking out the Office 2003 standard edition (free 30 or 60 day eval from MSFT) but decided against it; what would be the point? OO is more than enough for my personal use, and appears to open all my existing doc and xls files correctly (granted not very complicated files).

Sporadic

Re:Just gets easier (4, Insightful)

interiot (50685) | more than 7 years ago | (#16615820)

Microsoft is betting that Windows and Office are so easy to use versus the open source counterparts that they can afford to decrease the ease of use a little bit with these shenanigans, and still come out on top. Which makes it all the more important to make sure open source software is as user-friendly as absolutely possible, so end users aren't forced to choose between two difficult options.

Re:Just gets easier (2, Insightful)

murdocj (543661) | more than 7 years ago | (#16616160)

Microsoft is betting that Windows and Office are so easy to use versus the open source counterparts that they can afford to decrease the ease of use a little bit with these shenanigans, and still come out on top.

What they are betting is that the number of users who get pissed off and quit using MS Office is going to be less than the number of people who pay for it instead of pirating it. And who knows, they might be right.

I see a pattern here... (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#16615414)

Users absolutely hated the first iteration of the Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) program, and their protests pressured the company into revising it about a year after it launched in July 2005.

Aren't you supposed to do user interface research before releasing a product out to the consumers? Why have your customers hate the product tbefore redesigning it to meet their needs?

Re:I see a pattern here... (2, Funny)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#16615450)

Yeah, they need to just get with the program and do perpetual Beta versions, like Google.

Re:I see a pattern here... (2, Insightful)

MikeMoose (136353) | more than 7 years ago | (#16615846)

One is supposed to do research before a product release. However, this is Microsoft we're concerning ourselves with. If you are Microsoft, you have all of the rights and privileges that come to those who dominate market share:

  - The right to do whatever the hell you want, whenever you want.
  - Have the belief that you know what's best for the consumer - even when they tell you otherwise.
  - That you may abuse the "uneducated" consumer whenever you wish, via a graphical user interface, or other means.
  - A perfectly legitimate and exclusive concern for your bottom line alone - without regard to what that means for the quality of your product.
  - The delusion that people will be happy with things like DRM, WGA, and OGA, if they'd just give them a chance.
  - The delusion that DRM, WGA, and OGA will not get in the way of normal people doing normal, legal business related tasks.
  - The short-sightedness that only a good, solid ivory tower provides.
  - Great benefits for all of your employees.

So, no - they don't have to ask the consumer anything.

Customer as criminal (4, Interesting)

kherr (602366) | more than 7 years ago | (#16615418)

Microsoft is just one of the highest-profile examples of a company viewing their customers as criminals (Sony Music also comes to mind). Most of the piracy comes from people who would never buy the products in the first place. Punishing legitimate users won't end piracy and it won't boost sales. What is wrong with these companies? The more Microsoft blocks the use of Office the more likely alternatives will gain stronger position in the market. Which is fine by me, I'm tired of getting simple text documents in doc format.

Re:Customer as criminal (0)

The Living Fractal (162153) | more than 7 years ago | (#16615688)

"Microsoft is just one of the highest-profile examples of a company viewing their customers as criminals (Sony Music also comes to mind)."


I don't understand how you see it this way. Microsoft obviously would never view their paying customers as criminals. Your statement makes absolutely no sense. It is completely illogical. Microsoft, and every single other company in the entire world, view people who steal their products as criminals. This is the way it should be. It's the only way that makes any sense.

Most of the piracy comes from people who would never buy the products in the first place. Punishing legitimate users won't end piracy and it won't boost sales.


Uhhm? Who said this is punishment? Because you have to withstand the horrible, terrible, hellishly long three seconds it takes to validate the software you now feel that you are being punished? Good god. Talk about impatience.

Do you really, honestly think that the average person will think anything of it? Software activation/validation is becoming ubiquitous. From anti-virus to online gaming. Microsoft is hardly the first, or worst. It is an accepted practice. Nobody. Really. Cares.

Well...

Except maybe you or people like you, because you are used to getting everything for free. To downloading the Torrent and the crack and stealing it. So let me make a suggestion. Go get the free software and use it. And stop whining because you actually have to buy a product if you want to use it. You seem like the kind of person who would go to a store like Fred Meyers, with the security scanners at the exit that scan for shoplifters, and decide that you will never shop at the store again because "Fred Meyers think's their customers are criminals! all of them! And the man is out to get me!!!11" It's an immature attitude and I for one am tired of hearing it.

Now, since I know there are so many of you, and obviously a few with mod points, I have one more thing to say:

Let the Karma burn. I've saved up enough to withstand the worst you can do. Besides, it's /. karma, and it's completely worthless.

TLF

Re:Customer as criminal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16615774)

Your analogy would be more apt if Fred Meyers stopped every customer on the way out the door and frisked them. If that were to happen to me you can be that I would never shop there again.

Re:Customer as criminal (1)

Reapman (740286) | more than 7 years ago | (#16615862)

Is that not what those scanners at the door do? Why aren't you arguing getting rid of those? "I'm a paying customer, why am I being searched electronically whenever I leave a store!"

Re:Customer as criminal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16615986)

"Fred Meyers think's their customers are criminals" If you're going to write think's, shouldn't you also write Meyer's, customer's and criminal's?

Re:Customer as criminal (1)

The Living Fractal (162153) | more than 7 years ago | (#16616446)

I apologize, sometimes I just type and a typo comes out and I don't proof read. Usually when what I'm saying is said in anger, like now: fuckign seu me.

TLF

I want software piracy to stop, altogether, NOW! (2, Insightful)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 7 years ago | (#16615728)

And the reason is that 90% of the current "pirates" would *not purchase what they're using but switch to a free (as in good) alternative.

Re:I want software piracy to stop, altogether, NOW (3, Insightful)

misleb (129952) | more than 7 years ago | (#16615832)

Indeed. It is like software companies don't understand that a little piracy supports their dominance. Just like giving away software to schools actually helps "indoctrinate" new users.

-matthew

Re:Customer as criminal (1)

zxnos (813588) | more than 7 years ago | (#16615752)

you know, i dont feel punished when the screen pops up and asks me to validate windows. i dont feel that microsoft is treating me as a criminal either. by your logic you probably dont shop anyplace. look up next time you are in a store. see that black bubble? or even the obvious camera in mom and pops?. customer as criminal. ever buy gasoline, use the bank? to me it is a business trying to protect their bottom line.

who cares if most pirates never buy the product, microsoft shouldnt feel obligated to support them. and if a pirate wants to waste time hacking a way to bypass it, let them waste their time. how many hours would you have to work as a programmer to buy a legit version of office or windows? how long to create the hack? or find it on warez and implement it? then redo it when microsoft changes how it is implemented...

reduced shoplifting lowers prices, and getting a few more people to buy the legit version of office, in theory i think, would do the same. but i know i shouldnt compare the two... ..similar in my mind at least.

Re:Customer as criminal (2, Insightful)

DMoylan (65079) | more than 7 years ago | (#16616718)

when i have to type in a 36 digit number on the phone after a 10 digit phone number and then type another 36 digit number into the pc and this takes 3-5 minutes then it wastes my time. when i have to do this a few times a week for customers systems that have come back infected and its taken them a few hours to find their original disks and licence code then it wastes their time.

when the os is responsible for the infection in the first place and this same comapny are wasting mine and the customers time double checking that we are stealing their crappy software then yes i object and resent been treated like a criminal. the black bubble is unobtrusive and i can ignore it. i don't have to interact with it.

thankfully more and more of our customers are using firefox. open office is on an increasing number of systems. some are asking questions about mac and 1-2 of the braver ones are asking about linux. so microsoft will shoot themselves in the foot even more with this.

Re:Customer as criminal (1)

doodlebumm (915920) | more than 7 years ago | (#16616778)

You're right, you don't know. The two things are not the same.

The software product that is pirated doesn't cost Microsoft anything. A hard good that is shop lifted does cost the store.

It's more like seeing someone dance the polka, and then you dance the polka, too. It didn't cost the originator of the polka anything for you to polka. If most of these people that dance the polka had to pay to polka, they'd probably do a waltz instead. They may look funny, because everyone else is doing the polka, but they would probably do the waltz.

Now if you are talking about the "pirated copies" of Windows that are being "sold" as real, that is a different story. There is obviously someone profiting from that and it isn't MS. You can't get blood from a turnip, but MS thinks that by making these changes they are going to earn more. Not true. The anti-piracy groups claim that there are billions of dollars of lost income because of piracy, but in reality those billions are probably less than 5% of the crap they spout. They just have to justify their existence. Kind of like the movie critic. If they loved every movie, no one would listen to them. If they anti-pirates didn't have tons of rhetoric to throw around, no one would listen to them either.

I think that the solution to the "problem" of piracy is just a corporate executives wet dream. Stopping it will not increase corporate profits by any measurable amount.

What is irritating to consumers is when they are forced to repurchase something just because some ****head corporate monkey says that the company can make more money if they make people buy their product over and over again. "Oh, you purchased our tires, but you can only use them on the car that they were originally installed on. You will have to purchase new tires for your new vehicle, even though your wrecked your last one and this one uses the same tires." This kind of corporate bullying has produced the problem in the first place.

And then there are the large margins on the products. Who isn't mad at the Oil Company's record profits from last summer's $3.00 per gallon prices? Bill Gates isn't the richest man because he is charging a fair price for Windows. Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

For the record, I only use Linux and purchased copies of windows (when I have to use windows). I will never buy Vista, unless it comes on a computer that I buy and there is no way to not purchase it without Vista. I will not willingly give Microsoft a dime of my money, but I will give them a piece of my mind.

Re:Customer as criminal (2, Insightful)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 7 years ago | (#16617002)

Okay, so next time you're at a store and HAVEN'T stolen anything imagine you leave, are accosted in the parking lot by security who then take away your... shoes, let's say. How does THAT make you feel?

I think that's why the majority of people hate Genuine Advantage and it's predecessors.

MGD? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16615426)

What advantage? Running Microsoft software puts you at an instant disadvantage, they should rebrand their piracy toolset.

Huh? (5, Insightful)

aero2600-5 (797736) | more than 7 years ago | (#16615428)

I don't understand Microsoft. The Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) is actually very easy to defeat, and I'm sure this new OGA will be just as easy. Why irritate customers when the people who intend to use without purchasing it will do so anyway? Did they buy a copy of Sony's playbook titled "How to piss away your loyal customers and then blame them for your lack of growth"?
I really don't get it. Why continue to do something after it's been proven ineffective?
Aero

Re:Huh? (4, Funny)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#16615534)

I really don't get it. Why continue to do something after it's been proven ineffective?

"Stop crying. If you want to cry I'll give you something to cry about. Whack! There, how did you like that? Now stop crying."

There's really no accounting for the behavior of people. That's why, on the whole I prefer hanging out with cats.

KFG

Off Topic: cats... (1)

maynard (3337) | more than 7 years ago | (#16615892)

What do you do when your cat likes to play with water [daduh.org] ?

Duh. Post it on teh intertubes. *cough!*

Re:Huh? (4, Insightful)

Shados (741919) | more than 7 years ago | (#16616796)

That really shows how clueless the Slashdot crowd can be sometimes, considering how many places this comment pops up.
Yes, WGA is easy to defeat. Thats not the point. There are douzans of thousands (dare I say hundreds of thousands?) of people who copy CDs and install them all over (even large corporations!) because they don't realise that its 1 license per user. Read that again: They don't realise it, they don't know it. Many -consulting firms- (thats geeks here!) buy 1 MSDN Universal subscriptions, and use them for 20 developers, thinking its what you're SUPPOSED to do. Same with Windows, same with Office, same with everything. These tools are ONLY meant to stop those people. No one else. Yes they will lose a few customers (a lot even) in the process. But they'll make it back up. You have no idea how many people I know purchased legit copies of Windows just because of the original WinXP's activation scheme, going "Wha? You mean if you own the CD its not enough to install it on my 8 computers? How come?", until they got explained how things work in the non-free world.

Sounds like a good reason to upgrade (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 7 years ago | (#16615434)

To Open Office- which I will do at home.

Added Functionality! (1)

Fonce (635723) | more than 7 years ago | (#16615444)

Remember, failing to accept your valid, multi-hundred-dollar copy of Office because Microsoft can't produce a product we're willing to pay for is a feature, not a bug.

Be prepared for a reinstall.

Re:Added Functionality! (1)

From A Far Away Land (930780) | more than 7 years ago | (#16615718)

I'm thrilled. I want to service computers that would otherwise continue to work. Just thrilled, I tell ya.

That's Responsiveness! (4, Funny)

jazman_777 (44742) | more than 7 years ago | (#16615458)

Users absolutely hated the first iteration of the Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) program, and their protests pressured the company into revising it about a year after it launched in July 2005.


Yes, users hated it, so they expanded the program to cover other products. Thanks, MS!

Re:That's Responsiveness! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16615610)

Yes, users hated it, so they expanded the program to cover other products. Thanks, MS!
I don't think that's what people meant when they suggested that Microsoft have a consistent user experience.

Re:That's Responsiveness! (1)

mqj (949877) | more than 7 years ago | (#16616094)

While your comment is funny, it really makes sense to cover other products from an MS perspective. Even the AC has a point about a "consistent user experience." Everybody on /. knows better, but the majority of non-technical people will feel that the registration will be "natural" over time.

Punkbuster comes to apps (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 7 years ago | (#16615460)

To read this TPS report you are required to insert blood sample into the slot provided and place your left eye on the scanner.

What I want to know is does this include downloading the updates to Office 2000 and other versions not requiring activation?

Re:Punkbuster comes to apps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16616092)

That really won't be a problem for very long. How long do you think it will be before Office 2000 is EOL, and therefore no more updates anyways?

Re:Punkbuster comes to apps (1)

Not_Wiggins (686627) | more than 7 years ago | (#16616978)

To read this TPS report you are required to insert blood sample into the slot provided and place your left eye on the scanner.

Pshaw! I hear the next version, to support a better customer experience, is going to combine the eye scan with the blood sampling in a single step! No more worries about being squeamish pricking your own finger... the machine will simply draw a blood sample from your eye automatically! It'll be a hit with those consumers who want a "simplified, Microsoft experience." 8)

Open Letter to the OSS Community (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16615468)

Place both my balls squarely upon your chin and swallow my mighty rod. Fuck you and your filthy bretherin. You will NEVER make a fucking thing of yourselves! Eat shit and enjoy the aftertaste.

Love always,

B. Gates

Office Update? What's that?? (4, Insightful)

denebian devil (944045) | more than 7 years ago | (#16615500)

...any Office Online templates downloaded from within the Office 2007 Microsoft Office System applications will require validation of legitimacy...


...users of Office Update will have to validate the legitimacy of their Office software before they can use the service...


The joke's on Microsoft. Exactly how many people use Online templates or Office Update? Compared to people who use Windows Update, I'm guessing not that many. And of those people who do use Office Update *and* don't have a legit copy of Office, how many of them are savvy enough to *ahem* figure out/find a way around the mandatory OGA?

Re:Office Update? What's that?? (4, Informative)

daeg (828071) | more than 7 years ago | (#16615764)

Windows Update is being phased out and will be fully replaced with Microsoft Update, which will be expanded to provide updates for all Microsoft programs. Office updates will then become as routine as operating system ones.

Re:Office Update? What's that?? (1)

denebian devil (944045) | more than 7 years ago | (#16615902)

Windows Update is being phased out and will be fully replaced with Microsoft Update, which will be expanded to provide updates for all Microsoft programs. Office updates will then become as routine as operating system ones.

If that's so, then all I have to say is it's about time. It was rare enough before that people got Office Updates (or even knew they existed). With Automatic Updates I'm sure it became even easier for people to forget that Office Updates needed checking as well.

microsoft update = windows update + office update (1)

Saikik (1018772) | more than 7 years ago | (#16615962)

I caught 'Microsoft Update' a while back in one of their feature roll outs. IE loads the page 'http://update.microsoft.com/microsoftupdate/v6/de fault.aspx?ln=en-us', when I click the super special Microsoft Update icon. Which by the way is different from the windows update icon. *aside* I'd like to thank Firefox 2.0 for allowing me to post here without spelling mistakes. Thanks to FF I can now speak learnedly.

Re:microsoft update = windows update + office upda (3, Funny)

Threni (635302) | more than 7 years ago | (#16616392)

> I'd like to thank Firefox 2.0 for allowing me to post here without spelling mistakes. Thanks to FF I can now speak learnedly.

Well, at the very least with more deftly polished ignorance... ;)

At least one person already switched (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16615546)

An anecdote sure, but the old slightly technical guy in my office (fits the stereotype to a T) downloaded OpenOffice after MS Office was disabled on his computer. He had already activated it and registered it, but still had to activate it again to use any of the programs. Not even just update it, to use it at all according to him.

Last week he was a big Microsoft fan, this week he's researching his options.

One more reason... (5, Insightful)

pla (258480) | more than 7 years ago | (#16615550)

...To never, ever upgrade from Office 97.

Seriously... The more companies make the old or cracked versions of their products more useful than the latest-n'-greatest, the less right they have to whine about illegal copying and decreased sales.

Whether we talk about DVDs or WGA or software that phones home, people just want to use what they own (and spare me the BS about licensing-vs-owning). Making that harder will eventually drive people to the competition, up to and including piracy.

Re:One more reason... (1)

scruffy (29773) | more than 7 years ago | (#16616172)

... to upgrade to OpenOffice.

Re:One more reason... (1)

ChristTrekker (91442) | more than 7 years ago | (#16616198)

I'd still be using Word 5.1a ... if it were updated to run on OS X rather than classic Mac OS. Barring that, I'd have kept plugging away with Office 98 if Classic.app had worked reliably for me - but it wasn't a great solution for my nontechie wife. So I broke down and bought Office 2004 for Mac. (Thankfully I was a PT student at the time.) And now, isn't it swell that Apple went Intel, once again relegating me to less that optimal performance on my next computer unless I upgrade software. Three computers, three purchases of basically the same software. Maybe by 2009, NeoOffice will finally be mature enough to satisfy our expecatations.

This is the single area that the Mac has failed me. Were I running Windows, I could probably still run Word 2 from 15 years ago. There's no new functionality I use now that I didn't have then. Only updates for modern standards, like Unicode, have been useful.

Re:One more reason... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16616258)

There are countless reason to upgrade from office 97 (XML support, smart tags, powerpoint custom animations, more rows in excel, better powerpoint packaging for CD, outlook spam filtering, sharepoint integration, team editing, task panes, improved viewers, ink support, new apps like infopath nad onenote, etc). Hell, I'd never go back to version 2000! All these people that say "no reasons to upgrade from office 97" are the same who see no reason to upgrade from Win98 - either they've never tried anything better i.e. the new versions, or have such simple needs that basically anything would satisfy them (like MS works), that's why.

Have you even seen or tried Office 2007? Beta 2 is truly amazing. Office 97 is not even in the same league.

Re:One more reason... (3, Interesting)

pla (258480) | more than 7 years ago | (#16616826)

There are countless reason to upgrade from office 97

"XML support" - noncompliant XML support, you mean.
[anything]"powerpoint"[anything] - I do work on my PC, not create cute slideshows for management meetings.
"more rows in excel" - Because 65k per worksheet has held me back so often?
"outlook spam filtering" - N/A, I use a real email program - Elm.
"sharepoint integration" - Give me a Wiki any day.
"team editing" - The word "team" has no "I" in it. I like it that way.
"task panes" - I know the shortcut keys. Give me my screen back!
"ink support" - My pen has that too, and doesn't suck 150 watts.
"infopath" - I just googled four entirely incompatible description of what that does, and still have no clue.
"onenote" - See "ink".


All these people that say "no reasons to upgrade from office 97" are the same who see no reason to upgrade from Win98 - either they've never tried anything better i.e. the new versions, or have such simple needs that basically anything would satisfy them (like MS works), that's why.

Agreed completely. I use Office XP at work, and have yet to do anything in it that I can't do in Office 97. 10-year old versions of Word and Excel quite simply do what they should, they do it well, and MS hadn't gone too far down the path of bloatware at that point.

As for XP vs 98, I personally came from the NT side of the family, so consider XP quite a lot better than 98 (even better than NT4, though I can't really say it has a whole lot more than Win2k).


Have you even seen or tried Office 2007? Beta 2 is truly amazing.

I don't want my productivity suite to amaze me. I just want it to sit there obediently doing nothing until I want it to work; Then I want it to do its thing and go away, offering me as little "help" as possible. I don't want it to offer to integrate my music collection with my writing style of the moment. I don't want it to take me to a new paradigm of productive collaboration. I don't want my core processes reengineered, I don't want animated help systems, and I don't want my computer to phone any home but my own!

Re:One more reason... (1)

rssrss (686344) | more than 7 years ago | (#16616366)

Office 97 and Windows 2000. WFM!

OGA= (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16615598)

Oh Gawd it's Awful !!!

Unfortunatly... (1)

not already in use (972294) | more than 7 years ago | (#16615608)

Like many things that headline slashdot, will the layperson notice, or really even care?

this is good (2, Interesting)

jmyers (208878) | more than 7 years ago | (#16615614)

This is good for open source software, such as openoffice or any competitor of MS. Software piracy helps Microsoft. When people can get the industry leading software for free (illegal copy) they will never consider the alternatives.
 

Oh No! (2, Insightful)

x3nos (773066) | more than 7 years ago | (#16615618)

You mean all those worthless Office Online Templates will be unavailable to users with non-validated copies (*cough* er...pirated) of Microsoft Office?

Oh my what a blow to the software piracy market . . .

Subscriptions? (2, Insightful)

headkase (533448) | more than 7 years ago | (#16615634)

I think that WGA and now OGA are the first step down the slippery slope towards subscription based software. Valve's Steam already requires activation of products over the Internet and automatically updates the software as well and it has been very successful in frustrating copyright infringers. If Word was patched automatically everytime a new bug was discovered like Steam then OGA all-in-all wouldn't be that bad. Why (W|O)GA causes uproar is that you may experience a denial-of-service on your own software. If you're a pirate then too bad - go get OpenOffice, once ODF emerges you won't care about Microsoft Office anyway. But if you're a business then the "No one ever got fired for buying IBM." principle kicks in - and sheeple buy what everyone else is using which at the moment is Microsoft Office. Don't get me wrong, Microsoft Office is really nice and all but once Open Document Format get's added then there is no problem of lock-in anymore - you'll buy your last version of Word to export your information into ODF and never look back.

Re:Subscriptions? (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 7 years ago | (#16616118)

I think that WGA and now OGA are the first step down the slippery slope towards subscription based software.
I agree.
Valve's Steam already requires activation of products over the Internet and automatically updates the software as well and it has been very successful in frustrating copyright infringers.
Don't they just use cracked copies and use something like Gamespy for finding servers to play on?

Now steam, it's frustrating for legitimate customers. For many months, people couldn't play single player games offline. Valve didn't care enough todo anything about for months and months. Then the friends list broke, at first it would randomly start forgetting all your friends, then it would entirely not work for everything for months and months (I'm pretty sure this issue went over a year).

Theres also the lovely feature of Steam, where you can click, play. Suddenly a stupid dialog pops up, and tells it's estimating it will take 17 minutes or so to start... No, you can't bypass it at that particular time. Only got a 30 minute break? Too bad.

Not to mention when Steam is down. That's it, the end, nobody can play online anymore.

The only true benefit to Steam, is that you can play on 'VAC' servers, which shouldn't even be needed in the first place. The fact that people can wall-hack is a design flaw in the game like CSS. Other FPSs actually implemented client-side handling of physics and so on, while the server verified what the user was doing was actually possible. Did it work? Yes. There was no cheating of this sort at all. Since it's a really well known implementation to solve the 'wall-hack' issues, impossible aim bot movements, it leads one to believe that the engine was purposely broken a SECOND TIME to enforce the idea of VAC, which is only available to people who have a Steam account with HL2 and good VAC standing.

Subscription-service based software isn't really any good because you're forced into lock-ins to use it suddenly by flawed designs, companies don't seem to care enough to-do much about fixing problems urgently.. After all, you're still on the service. They just need to provide, 'just enough' to keep you on.

Genuine Advantage at the per-document level? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16615650)

Been using OO on my home computers for a year. Removed MS Office ( a free NFR O2K license) from them and never looked back. There's never been an issue with using Excel documents in Office 2003 on my work PC, then using those same docs in OO when working at home. In fact, OO saves at least 9K per .XLS file. It amazes me how much extra formatting code goes into each and every .XLS file when saved from MS Office.

The day isn't too far away when MS will force Genuine Advantage the the per-document level. They want to control every aspect of my computer that I own. And that everyone else owns.

Too bad Microsoft! Open Source alternatives have made the transition to non-Microsoft programs a no-brainer, and are high quality products to boot! Microsoft loses, I win. I control my computer, not Microsoft's marketing arm.

I shall call you - Mini-DRM (5, Funny)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 7 years ago | (#16615656)

Come closer, little Microsoft Genuine Advantage. Don't worry, I won't hurt you.

You're just so cute!

I think I will call you, Mini-DRM, because you're unwanted, intrusive, and I keep tripping over you while trying to use my legitimately purchased WinVista PCs!

Legitimate Office Suite - openoffice.org (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16615692)

If you want a legitimate and genuine office suite, without the handcuffs.

http://openoffice.org/ [openoffice.org]
-or-
http://abisource.org/ [abisource.org]

Windows "advantage" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16615696)

After knowing how much contempt users had regarding the first incarnation of this beast, I wonder how MS can think pushing it down our throats a second time will change the response. Maybe instead of actively trying to play nanny they could come up with another way to make sure their products are not "stolen".

IMHO office is the only product MS has put out that I would actually consider paying for, because it actually works fairly well. Having said that, alternatives like OpenOffice are "good enough" in terms of interoperability of files/formats that currently the need to pay for MS Office in a non-corporate environment (read small business/home user)is pretty much non-existent. AND you don't have to put up with bullshit every time you try and update the damned program.

This article and thread are so redundant... (0, Offtopic)

shoolz (752000) | more than 7 years ago | (#16615708)

...that I feel I can waste slashdot's time rating the superhunks [hotornot.com] .

Up next... (5, Funny)

DaveM753 (844913) | more than 7 years ago | (#16615720)

Coming soon:

PC World is reporting that Microsoft's Notepad Genuine Advantage (NGA) program will require mandatory validation of Notepad.exe starting [insert happy date here]"

In other news (1)

postmortem (906676) | more than 7 years ago | (#16615786)

Microsoft announced Microsoft Mouse Genuine Advantage (MMGA), as a mandatory update that benefits users of genuine Microsoft mice. If mouse is found to be non-genuine, MMGA will replace X and Y coordinates in mouse driver, and subtly notify user.

Bravo! (3, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 7 years ago | (#16615810)

The more the Evil Empire irritates its users, the more opportunity arises for other vendors.

Remember when using MS office was the path of least resistance?

-jcr

when are they guna learn? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16615840)

constantly hassling your customers to prove that theyre your customers is BAD BUSINESS!!

Time for refund (2, Informative)

besenslon (918690) | more than 7 years ago | (#16615856)

As usual on /.: Does it run on linux?

Jokes aside - but MS Office is a separate product. I may buy it and run it under wine. If OGA stops updates for wine users, MS may face some other (legal) problems.

--
Even the most advanced equipment in the hands of the ignorant is just a pile of scrap.

Home vs. Office (2, Informative)

colinbg (757240) | more than 7 years ago | (#16615884)

I use M$ office at the office and at home, however, I will not pay the inflated prices for the suite at home, this just will give me the incentive to use open office at home, which when I get used to it, will make it easy to switch over to at the office. M$ is just shooting themselves in the foot here. I cannot be the only one who will do this now. Thier software is not worth that pricetag.

Re:Home vs. Office (1)

Gonarat (177568) | more than 7 years ago | (#16616232)

I have already quit using MS Office at home -- I had a copy of Office 2000 on my desktop computer, but didn't bother to reinstall it after I replaced the hard drive and re-installed XP. Open Office went on it instead. We have 4 computers at home (my desktop, my laptop, my Daughter's desktop, and her laptop), and buying MS Office for all of these machines would be insanely expensive, so instead of pirating MS Office, I installed Open Office on all four machines. The price is right, and I have no worries about pirated software.


Open Office works great for everything we do. My Daughter writes her papers for school with it, I keep spreadsheets for bills and other stuff using it, and it all works without a hitch. If I do need to use MS Office for something, my work computer has it installed.


I can see MS Office losing market share if it continues with the Genuine Advantage crap. MS products will still dominate (at least for the time being) in the work place, but I can see open source becoming popular in the home. Vista will most likely still be dominate because it will come standard with new PCs, but that could change down the line.

Re:Home vs. Office (1)

Fez (468752) | more than 7 years ago | (#16616302)

Actually, they have "work at home" licenses (I'd have to dig up the source, plenty of hits on Google for that phrase) that allow a copy at home if a license is purchased for a work computer. It's in the fine print, but last I heard it was still there -- at least it was for Academic Volume Licensing. I had thought a similar clause was in the retail edition but I could be wrong about that.

Google Docs et. al. (2, Informative)

bgfay (5362) | more than 7 years ago | (#16615906)

I know that online office apps are nowhere near as functional as Office/OpenOffice/WordPerfect, but that doesn't matter much to me. I'm a teacher and just today switched all of my students to Google Docs (we all have Gmail accounts because the school system doesn't need to pay for the same service). We were using OpenOffice (because it's free and students could legally install it from the discs I provided), but Google Docs is easier, cheaper for us, and does what we need it to do.

Are there features missing? You bet there are. But with Firefox 2.0 we now have real-time spellchecking, and I imagine that the features are going to grow as we go. For now, it does nearly everything that we need to do and if we don't, we can just shift to OpenOffice for that task and then move back to Google Docs for the rest of it.

What I'm saying is that, for us, in our school, MS Office is unnecessary. We can't be the only ones.

Doesn't that signal a problem for a company that makes tremendous amounts of money on the product?

Obligatory Ben Franklin Quote: (2, Funny)

Mr. Shotgun (832121) | more than 7 years ago | (#16615910)

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

Or maybe MS likes pissing of it's customers...nah that can't be it!

Aimed at casual pirates (1)

dedazo (737510) | more than 7 years ago | (#16615922)

Like WGA, this is aimed at Joe Windows or Small Company, who think it's OK to copy the Office disks and install them at home. Like WGA, it will be easily defeated, so it's not intended to eliminate piracy. It's just a hassle that will curtail casual low-scale piracy.

Since Microsoft's Office revenue overwhelmingly comes from big business site license and volume contracts that won't be affected by OGA (and weren't by WGA either), Joe Windows and Small Company will put up with it because they don't have the pull Super Corporation has with Microsoft.

Did any one say it? (1)

Ino (68074) | more than 7 years ago | (#16616002)

OGA-OGA Booga! :).... or should that be "BooWGA!"?

Ino!~

I just don't see what the big deal is here. (1)

mmell (832646) | more than 7 years ago | (#16616020)

Of course, I run Linux and use OpenOffice, but as an IT professional I have had to work with and support Microsoft products in the past. This is IMHO no more onerous than security cameras in retail establishments. Would any here assert that this constitutes shopkeepers treating their customers like criminals, because they're all being observed? No, most people would agree that the cameras, while recording the actions of all who step in front of them are there for the express purpose of catching criminals.

Granted, if Microsoft had engineered their software and their business model differently, draconian measures such as WGA and OGA might not be necessary, but that's not how it is. While some problems may arise (suspension of valid site licenses which have been hacked, for example), the fact is that I know of no businesses and very few individual users who view WGA/OGA as anything more than a mild inconvenience, at worst.

Now, why anybody would choose (for example) MS Office over OpenOffice is beyond me - in any dollars for functionality comparison I can think of, OpenOffice is a guaranteed winner; and rare indeed is the office that needs functionalities which OpenOffice doesn't provide as well as MS Office.

Re:I just don't see what the big deal is here. (1)

vp0ng (751157) | more than 7 years ago | (#16616278)

One of the main reasons I can see why people choose MS Office is Outlook. There just isn't another program out there like Outlook for a company network, that is as sophisticated, or that handles everything Outlook can. I think the day an equivalent application is created and successfully marketed, we will see a lot of businesses switching. For the home user however, Open Office is a great alternative.

this is just... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16616084)

.. a beta test of the technologies Microsoft will use to enforce mandatory "subscriptions" to use Windows and Office.. something I'm sure they're chompin' at the bit to start. Not with Vista or Office this go around, but look out for the next versions of Windows, Office and Windows Server products; around 2009 or so when the market gets saturated with the upcoming versions and they look for "new" and "exciting" new revenue streams.

OEM sales are spurred by hardware sales, but people hang on to their systems for far longer than Microsoft wants; and businesses prefer "stable" and "Long shelf life" compared to "bleeding edge" (well, for Microsoft anyway) and "beta" / "buggy". What better way to combat that loss of "revenue" than by charging those schmucks every year to use Windows & Office.

Remember, they've already been selling Office on a subscription basis in certain markets.. it's just a matter of time before they do the same for everything else, and everywhere else.

Oh Please, God (1)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 7 years ago | (#16616100)

Let 2/3rds of the Office users on the planet be using pirated versions of office. If MS Office market share disappears overnight after they start mandating this, I'll never ask for anything ever again! And I mean it this time!

Who cares (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 7 years ago | (#16616116)

No, seriously. At this point who really cares if Microsoft makes it even harder to legally use their products. The pirates wil just get around the problem the next day. Its us people that are trying to support a company that suffer. Pissed off customers will look elsewhere for their IT solutions.

I stopped using their garbage at home long long ago, and NEVER recommend their products. Even when it means an extra hoop for the customer to jump thru, its still a better deal in the long run to 'just say no' to the empire and their ludicrous actions of late..

Reversed It? (1)

canfirman (697952) | more than 7 years ago | (#16616196)

Users absolutely hated the first iteration of the Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) program, and their protests pressured the company into revising it about a year after it launched in July 2005.

Reversed it? I just recently had to download it to even get to the update screen. WTF? It's not reversed, it's still there.

So, this leaves two questions:

1. How can you get the updates without having to download WGA?

2. Anybody know how I can get rid of it?

Re:Reversed It? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16616430)

0. Revised, not reversed.
1. AutoPatcher [autopatcher.com]

Genuine DisAdvantage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16616264)

Isnt the Genuine Advantage fast turning out to be a Genuine DisAdvantage already?

Here we go again (1, Interesting)

Bassman59 (519820) | more than 7 years ago | (#16616308)

Clearly all of you whiney-ass titty-babies don't use your computers to do Real Work. All electronic-design automation (EDA) software uses FlexLM. Lots of high-end audio- and video-editing software uses an iLok key or similar. Yeah, it's all a big pain in the ass (I used to regularly fight with lmgrd) , but when the software costs tens of thousands of dollars per seat, there's a great incentive for vendors to lock it down.

Face it, software activation is here, and here to stay. Get used to it. For the legit user, it's not a problem.

One real issue that vendors need to address is 24/7 availability of support staff so that legit users can get new license keys if a machine dies after hours or on the weekend.

-a

PS: Having said all of that, vendors who charge a fee to move a license from one machine to another need to get their attitudes adjusted.

Re:Here we go again (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 7 years ago | (#16616546)

Face it, software activation is here, and here to stay. Get used to it. For the legit user, it's not a problem.

I face it, but I don't want it here to stay. I don't want to get used to it.

Instead, I have been migrating everything I do, even Real Work, to less annoying systems and software.

I am the customer. I am the consumer. Face it, I am here to stay. I don't like dealing with licensing annoyances. For a legit vendor, this is not a problem.

Re:Here we go again (0)

Bassman59 (519820) | more than 7 years ago | (#16616648)

Instead, I have been migrating everything I do, even Real Work, to less annoying systems and software.

What Real Work do you do?

Wake-up call! MS is between you & your data (2, Insightful)

toby (759) | more than 7 years ago | (#16616354)

Could anything more plainly prove that if you want access to your OWN data, you'd better not use any proprietary tool to create/store it -- especially not Microsoft.

First they'll lock you out of the O/S; then they'll lock you out of the tools.

"Nice lot of data you have there. Be a shame if anything happened to it..."

Control or Chaos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16616368)

The more 'Control' applied to a system, the more and more Chaos it creates. The Answer is not to create more controls but less....

OpenOffice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16616400)

OpenOffice doesn't need any damn validation or any crap like that. And unlike Microsoft Office, it actually supports the OpenDocument Format (ODF) which is the ISO standard.

* http://www.openoffice.org/ [openoffice.org]
* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenOffice.org [wikipedia.org]

Might want to check the openformats site and tell your noob friends about it.
* http://www.openformats.org/ [openformats.org]

Would love to use OO & Linux...... (1)

Brad1138 (590148) | more than 7 years ago | (#16616494)

My wife is going to Wazzu (WSU). She uses, Word, Excel, PowerPoint... all the time. I ask her if she can use Linux and/or OO but she says they only support Windows & MS Office. I know OO has just about everything MS office has (PP?) but it's hard enough learning all there is to know about the MS products. Trying to learn all the little (and maybe big) differences with OO would be all the harder. I don't know how well continually switching between the 2 on a given project would work? I don't need to give her MORE to complain about :)

Strict validation could hurt MS monopoly (1)

kronocide (209440) | more than 7 years ago | (#16616940)

MS owns the OS market because it owns the office applications market. It's the exchange of documents that forces corporations and institutions to standardize on MS Windows and MS Office, not the Windows operating system. MS's control of the office applications market depends on that everyone (that matters) uses MS Office. It's a vicious circle. That's why forcing people to pay up or switch may hurt MS, as it may actually create groups of users of alternative software suits large enough to give those solutions momentum and turn them into more valid choices for organizations. It might become so that compatibility with non-MS office software becomes an actual business demand, and then the MS monopoly is fried, as it must mean the end of their user lock-in strategy. MS may not make money from pirate copies of MS Office, but as long as everyone uses it, everyone has to use it, whether everyone pays for it or not.

tough call. (1)

CDPatten (907182) | more than 7 years ago | (#16616948)

Look at it from MS's perspective. They have millions of poeple stealing their software. Granated, its over priced and may not be worth it... but a high price tag doesn't warrant stealing. Should a company who's software is in this great of demand really rely on society to use the "honor system"... as in, I'll pay for each additonal install... no need to track it, "i'm honest."

Then again, its just such an irritant to screw around with genuine advantage, but I'm just not sure what other realistic options they have? I do belive ANY software company has the right to protect their products from being stolen.
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