Office 2000 - Register Or Else!

Microsoft gets more aggressive about online registration--the Office 2000 beta won't run for long without it.

Microsoft stepped up its already insistent registration policing in the second beta of Office 2000, which was released to a group of testers last week. If a copy of the Office 2000 beta is not registered after 50 uses, it simply won't run on attempt number 51 until you contact Microsoft to register.

Microsoft billed the feature as a way to help customers register so they can best take advantage of updates and other Office resources. But clearly, another goal is to curtail software piracy, an area in which Microsoft has stepped up efforts in recent months. The feature also will gather details about millions of customers who would not normally register.

"Some Symantec products continually prompt you to register and it drives you nuts, but as far as turning it off, I haven't run into a product doing this," said Rob Enderle, a senior analyst at the Giga Information Group. "The problem Microsoft has is that people buy one copy of Word in an office and everybody copies it." The registration wizard--which John Duncan, Office product manager, said could be added to other Microsoft products in the future--likely will have to be tweaked for corporate multiuser scenarios, one beta tester suggested.

"Certainly, Microsoft will have to deal differently in shops that have users working off of the server," said the tester. Beta 2 of Office 2000, with features such as the enhanced ability to save documents in HTML, is set to enter widespread testing in the next two weeks. However, shipping of the final product has been delayed until the second quarter of 1999, although it could be in the hands of the company's biggest customers earlier.

(Bob Trott, InfoWorld)


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