Microsoft is stepping up efforts to encourage customers tocheck the legality of their Office software in a bid to cut the level ofpirated versions in circulation.
As part of its Office Genuine Advantage programme users willhave the option to download voluntary updates that inform them if they riskusing counterfeit software.
If a customer is found to have been using illegal softwarethen they can submit a report to the vendor which could result in a free copyof Office being given in return.
“People who are using non-genuine Microsoft Office areputting themselves at risk,” said Peter King, Office server group manager atMicrosoft.
He added that the risk was not just legal but also counterfeitcopies tended to have viruses, spyware and other problems that could be asecurity problem.
In the past Microsoft has found that users have reactedbadly to enforced notices that warned of declining functionality and eventuallyended with a black screen, hence the emphasis on the voluntary nature of theprogramme.
Microsoft has continued to keep the pressure up on thosechannel players that dabble in counterfeit and the usual way it works with acustomer discovering that they have been duped into buying a fake version isthat the vendor will track it further down the chain.
“My business depends on providing customers with the secureand reliable software they expect — that’s why we only sell genuine Office,”said Zak Virdi, managing director at SoftwareOne UK.