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If machine changes too much, product stops working and you may have to do it all again. After too many changes (I think it's two), product will no longer work at all until you physically pick up phone and call Microsoft and get a, get this, 50 character activation key.
What on earth is Microsoft using for brains? Here you've got someone who actually purchased their product in spite of high price and you make it difficult for them to install thing? On top of that, if they have gall to want to also install it on their wife's computer, then you force them to go out and buy another copy?
This is (excuse me, was) a loyal customer who plunked down some hard earned money for an office suite which is priced significantly more than competition. Keep in mind that this person could have bought a much cheaper product like StarOffice, paid a lot less and got every single feature that he could possibly want. He chose Office because he wanted Office, and he was willing to pay extra to get it. And now he gets slammed across face.
But what about software piracy? This product activation scheme does absolutely nothing to prevent piracy. Believe me, hackers and crackers had warez copies posted to their sites before product was even released! You think some silly activation scheme is going to stop these people?
I know, news has been full of stories about places like China, which reportedly makes millions of illegal copies all of time. Do you think this silly little thing is going to stop them? I'll bet they had product activation removed even before hackers.
What should Microsoft have done? In my humble opinion, they should have created an upgrade that was worth trouble and price of an upgrade, to begin with. Office XP doesn't even come close. On top of that, how about creating a "home license" which allows copies to be legally made on any computer in a single home? Charge an extra 20% for it if you have to - or better yet, just allow people to make those extra copies on their wife's computer system.
What product activation does is two things: one, it is designed to convince everyone that upgrade has some value. Otherwise, why would Microsoft bother to work so hard to protect it? Second, it hurts home user, who now has to make choice: purchase multiple copies of office using very hard earned money, purchase a different product (such as StarOffice), or get an illegal copy.
Personally, I'll be checking out competition. This, by way, is something that I would never have dreamed about a couple of years ago. In my opinion, Office 2000 suite is by far best tool of it's class on market. But is it worth so much that I'd pay two or three times for it? Hardly. No, let's see, where can I get a demo copy of StarOffice? Perhaps WordPerfect or Lotus has improved in five years or so since I looked at them last? Let's see...
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