Mandatory Registration Comes to Office 2000

The shoe finally drops.

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They've been playing around with it for years, but they've finally done it. With the inclusion of the SR-1 bug fixes, Office 2000 will stop working in 50 days if you don't register it with Microsoft. Current Office 2000 users who download SR-1 to update their current Office 2000 will not be affected (according to Microsoft).

A few years ago, in a revenue enhancing move, Microsoft changed their licensing to "per seat" and prohibited concurrent usage. Previously, if you paid $500 for Office and installed it on your office computer, you could also install it on your home computer, so long as it was not in use in both places at the same time. The license now states you have to pay another $500 for a license for your home computer because it is another "seat".

In recognition of the fact that users widely ignore this provision and consider it unreasonable, Microsoft now allows registration of any particular serial number on a second computer (presumably a home computer). One medical professional reports that he needs his copy of Office in 4 places, (office, notebook, home office, another facility) none of which would ever be used simultaneously. Microsoft told him his only solution was to purchase a second license for Office.

Registration can be by mail, fax, phone or Internet. At this point, Microsoft is hiding out after some really bad press about their information gathering, so they ask for very little information. This is certain to be tightened up once they get people used to the registration concept.

Should you actually mange to register the same serial number multiple times, the "self help" provisions of UCITA (already passed in Virginia and pending in your state) allow Microsoft to enter your computer without your permission (using your Internet connection) and disable Office.

Alternatives - Star Office is available for Windows95/98/NT/2000, OS/2 and Linux. WordPerfect Office is available for Windows95/98/NT/2000 and Linux. Both offer a high degree of compatibility with Microsoft Office, and both cost a lot less (Star Office is free).

©:Andrew Grygus - Automation Access - www.aaxnet.com - aax@aaxnet.com
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