With the new OGA program, users will have to opt in to allow the system to confirm that their copies of Office are genuine. If they choose not to, they won't be able to get important security updates, support, downloads or templates.
The implementation of WGA and OGA has led to a fair measure of criticism from sectors of the user community who, in the case of WGA, have objected to computers deemed to be running pirated Windows being disabled by Microsoft. There has also been criticism of cases of the program returning false positives.
According to Microsoft spin, however, OGA is more about protecting users from pirated software than catching pirates. Microsoft wants to convince the 45% of users who said OK to using pirated software on its survey that they are putting themselves in harm's way.
“While the survey found that virtually every Australian (98%) considers it important to keep their computer safe from viruses and online threats, people are putting themselves at risk by using pirated software which has been shown to be 43% more vulnerable to viruses and spyware,” says Steve Johns, Consumer Product Manager, Microsoft Office Business, Microsoft Australia.
According to Microsoft, with security top of mind for Australians, it is a worrying statistic that almost half (47%) of those surveyed wouldn’t know how to check if their computer software was a genuine copy, thereby exposing themselves to the risk of security threats.
“Using genuine software and knowing how to check that you have authentic copies of computer programs is a fundamental way of protecting yourself and ensuring that your PC and personal information are secure,” said Johns.
From today, Australian Microsoft Office customers will be able to opt in to get OGA notifications.
If an Office application is found to be non-genuine, a pop-up dialog box will alert the user and provide options on how to acquire genuine Microsoft Office and secure their PC. Microsoft is adamant that OGA notifications will not affect the way Microsoft Office works on individual computers and the user can continue to use Office as before.