Last week, without any public announcement, Microsoft quietly pulled the plug on the Office Genuine Advantage (OGA) program, the tool that checks the legitimacy of Microsoft Office installation on user machines before allowing to update or install Office templates and add-ins.
The OGA program had been put into place in late 2006 shortly after the Windows Genuine Advantage tool to check whether copies of the Office software are genuine. Users were forced to undergo the test before they were allowed to download templates and add-ins from Microsoft website, as well as download software updates. Here is an example of the Office Genuine Advantage dialog box.
Previously, pirated Microsoft Office users gawked at thousands of Office templates available at the Office website, smacked their lips and moved on. With the retiring of the OGA program, users are now able to download every template from the Office website. Suddenly, thousands of templates are within reach.
It shouldn’t be forgotten that users are still required to enter in a 25-character product key when first installing the software and activate it online.
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