Office 2007 has a "Kill Switch" in it for failing validation

Interesting little tidbit:

Thought I’d share

Office 2007’s secret kill switch
11/20/2006 2:06:26 PM, by Jeremy Reimer

Microsoft’s battle with pirates, which started as early as 1975 with Bill Gates’ infamous “Open Letter to Hobbyists,” continues on in 2007, as the company has built a feature into Office 2007: Reduced Functionality Mode. While Microsoft has been fairly coy about whether or not this feature exists in the latest Office release, a new Knowledge Base article on their site confirms that it will apply to all Office 2007 products.

Reduced Functionality mode is triggered whenever Office 2k7 fails activation. This can happen when the program is initially run after installation, or if it fails a subsequent check following an Office update. Once the switch is thrown, Office continues to run, but with the following restrictions:

You cannot create new documents.
You can view existing documents. However, you cannot edit them.
You can print documents. However, you cannot save them.
Despite what some media outlets are reporting, the Reduced Functionality Mode is not new. It already applies to Office 2003 and even Office XP versions. While the approach undoubtedly has at least some impact on piracy, the process is not 100 percent foolproof: some legitimate users have reported problems with the activation process.

Microsoft is not just limiting Reduced Functionality Mode to its Office programs, however. The company is also planning to introduce reduced functionality limitations to Windows Vista, which also must be activated after installing. Copies of Vista that fail the activation process will have the Aero visual effects disabled and any “Premium” or “Ultimate” features deactivated.

Most industry analysts consider the total elimination of software piracy to be impossible: dedicated crackers will view any new scheme as an intellectual challenge to be overcome by any means necessary. However, by adding all sorts of “kill switches” to the operating system and applications, Microsoft can make keeping up with their antipirating measures just annoying enough that many users will choose to purchase a legitimate version instead.

I own legal copies of Office 2000 Pro and Office XP, among other MS products, and actually have Office 2000 Pro installed, cause I don’t like Office XP. That said, it’s my intent, given the serious interface redesign in Office 2007, to switch full-time over to Open Office when Office 2000 is no longer viable to use.

I’ve already switched over to NeoOffice on the Mac, cause Office 2004 is not going to get a Universal Binary, and as a result has to run in emulation mode on Intel based Macs, and there seems to be little to nothing in Microsoft Office that is not available in Open Office. (NeoOffice is Open Office with Mac Centric interface stuff worked in there).

This “Kill Switch” thing may not be new, but it’s another reason why I am so torqued off at Microsoft. It’s just that big corporate mentality thing, I guess, at least in part, that is so unappealing.

That will do it for me. I have always used the Office products even at the high cost, for my kids to to use for school. Next time around it’s Open Office for me too.


Microsoft builds Kill Switch into all new products!

I’m all for Large Corporations committing Suicide.

That’s not corporate suicide - they will probably get away with it. Most people find it easier to just go along with things instead of putting up a fight, unless it is a huge moral or personal issue. This may be neither for many.

I really don’t care. There are more choices than Microsoft Office if you are not satisfied with it. Get OpenOffice or something else.

From what I can see, the new file formats Office 2007 uses will likely be more of a headache for users than the interface, particularly with Word saving documents in the new .docx format. After trying out the beta for a few weeks, I have finally got the hang of its tabbed toolbar interface, but one thing that has already caused problems is me accidentally saving documents in the new .docx format and not being able to open them on another PC, since these cannot be opened with Office 2003 or any earlier version. :doh:

As a result, I am back to using Word XP again. So far, I have not seen anyone complain about a lack a features in Word 2000, never mind Word XP and can barely remember the benefits of using the 2003 version. At work, we use a mixture of Microsoft Office 2000-XP and OpenOffice. So far, apart from poor calculation performance in OpenOffice Calc (its equivalent to MS Excel) and no Access alternative that works with MS Access databases, I have not seen anyone complain about missing features in its Word, Excel & PowerPoint alternatives despite Microsoft’s recent campaign of trying to show off why its Office suite is better than OpenOffice.

When it comes to businesses, I do believe that they should be using legal software, but as OpenOffice is a legal free alternative, Microsoft will need to watch out, as unlike Linux vs. Windows, anyone who is familiar with Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint will get the hang of OpenOffice’s alternatives in a very short period of time. On the other hand, Microsoft’s Retail Office suite pricing is seriously overpriced when it comes to expecting home users to pay for it. For example, many students learning to use Microsoft office (particularly Access) like to have it at home to practice on and many of these would not justify spending €600 (typical price in Ireland) for the retail professional version just to be able to work on their assignments on Microsoft Access (which the Students & Teachers edition lacks).

Try Atlantis Office, it’s a 7Mb installer only, compatible with MS Word, etc. (.rtf), very nice and light.