Microsoft Discounts Office for Pirates

Pirated copies now show an offer for 50% off an Office license.

Pirated copies now show an offer for 50% off an Office license.

Since switching to a yearly subscription format in 2013, Microsoft’s suite of Office programs, including Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and more, has collectively become one of the most pirated pieces of PC software in the world. Many users have opted instead to continue using licenses for older, single-payment iterations of Office, while others have instead chosen to pirate unlicensed copies of the modern iteration. Instead of attempting to dissuade pirates from using the unlicensed software, Microsoft is now trying a different method: enticing them with discounts.

While unlicensed copies have long had a banner encouraging users to register, something new has appeared. According to a Ghacks report, pirated copies of Office 365 have begun showing an offer for a 50% off discount, representing an ambitious move to convert pirates to paid customers. The page that the offer links to contains a warning from Microsoft noting that pirated software may expose users’ PCs to viruses, and that buying a license is a safer choice. With the discount, a single-person one-year Office 365 license would cost $34.99.

Microsoft currently has roughly 50 million registered Office 365 users, though they could potentially bring in millions more if this gambit pays off.

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