Microsoft Quietly Sunsets the Office Genuine Advantage Program

Microsoft's Office Genuine Advantage program (OGA), is no more. Reportedly, Microsoft has quietly retired the program, which formerly was used to validate an Office installation before add=ins or templates could be downloaded, without fanfare.

In fact, Ed Bott discovered that Microsoft mentioned the shutdown in a KB article, 917999. One sentence at the beginning of the article says: "The Office Genuine Advantage (“OGA”) program has been retired."

Additionally, at the top of the KB article, the article is now said to be "Retired KB Content," with a Last Review date of December 17, 2010. This implies that Microsoft retired OGA just a few days ago.

It's unclear why Microsoft made this move. Windows Genuine Advantage (which is required for some downloads, like Microsoft Security Essentials) is still working, Bott noted. Additionally, Activation is still required for the Office product, as it is for Windows, as well.
Via:  ZDNet
MMcCutcheon 3 years ago

well for isn't hard to find a crack for OGA nor is a they probably just decided to give up. plus the 30 day activation...uninstall, wipe the registry entries...oh no 30 more days.

countcristo 3 years ago

Yeah, they probably spent way too many resources in guarding against piracy. Perhaps, they'll come out with a new oga program.

3vi1 3 years ago

Prior to XP, MS did very little to fight piracy. Microsoft knew that a pirated version of MS-DOS/Windows was much better for them than letting a competitor gain market share. It was only once the user-base had it's head firmly trapped in Windows they decided to tighten the thumbscrews.

Unfortunately for them, is free. So, when you tighten the MSOffice thumbscrew, you create (legal) customers. Having people become familiar with OO.o and perhaps introduce it to their business is the worst-case scenario for them. Because, what happens when businesses are dependent on the app and not the OS APIs? They realize you can run OO.o on Linux or Macs with fewer security concerns.

If Linux ever grabs 15% of the market, expect WGA to disappear too.

Joel H 3 years ago

Right. But it won't. Not on devices that run under a Windows-centric paradigm. OO has made some very solid strides in the EU, but install base in the US is just under nine percent (with half of those users running it in tandem with Office itself).

I imagine the disparity between the US and EU is at least significantly impacted by government mandate; countries which have mandated that their governments use free software show the highest install base. The article notes that computers with Office installed may actually be using OO, but it fails to note that the exact opposite may also be true--on my system before this, you'd have found an install of OO and of Office sharing space, but it was Office I was using (after a year-long experiment with OO).

(The fact that OO has just splintered into LibreOffice is another example of why businesses risk more uncertainty with OSS, even if it's completely Oracle's fault).

Don't get me wrong. I like F/OSS products, I'm glad Linux is around, it's a proven success in lots of areas. I'm convinced that we may see a year or two out of the next five dubbed "Linux on the tablet." When it comes to throwing down with MS in its traditional strongholds, however, I'm betting on MS all the way.

PS - What competition? What you say may have been true in the early 90s, but by the time we get to Windows 98 Apple was busy falling apart and IBM was edging towards the door on future versions of OS/2 Warp. I'd argue that MS had clearly won the desktop by Windows 95, but there's no way to push that back past 98. 

3vi1 3 years ago

>> but install base in the US is just under nine percent (with half of those users running it in tandem with Office itself).

Are you trying to argue that MS doesn't see it as a threat? If so, why are they wasting their time/money making business videos that spread FUD about it?

>> The fact that OO has just splintered into LibreOffice is another example of why businesses risk more uncertainty with OSS

Quite the opposite. It shows that you're not dependent on the owning company to behave as a good citizen and innovate. Compare forking OpenOffice with the stagnation of WordPerfect over the years. Oracle is free to re-incorporate any improvements from LibreOffice, and vice versa - Nothing can stop the innovation, unlike a closed source product.

Jonation 3 years ago

Microsoft was probably losing money trying to fight piracy. They probably figured that they didn't lose as much profit as they thought to piracy and compared it to the costs of such a program.

Office is no CS5 (as far as $$$), alotta people still buy office.

PCMaster160 3 years ago
it didn't work (i would know lol) but i totally forgot about it. Have you guys heard in win 8 or whatever it'll be called things will be backed up with cloud to prevent piracy
Joel H 3 years ago

If companies value innovation, 3vi1, then sure, you've got a point. If you value steady point releases from the same company with guaranteed compatibility that won't require you to re-image image master discs or jump ship from Product A to B because of a code fork, then innovation may be exactly what you don't want.

3vi1 3 years ago

>> If you value steady point releases

Open projects generally have completely transparent schedules (, and you can check out the current version daily. Being open gives you more value here.

>> from the same company

OpenOffice isn't dead. No one makes you use a fork. The only reason to switch is if you don't like what Oracle is doing. And, unlike closed source - the fork is based on the same code you were already using.  If you don't like something that Microsoft or any other closed-source company is doing to their product...  tough luck.

>> with guaranteed compatibility

Compatibility with what? Itself? Who do you think breaks compatibility more often: Open (and many times committee standardized) formats from open source projects that share the same open libraries to access them, or MS changes to their undocumented binary formats? Open products don't generally change the file formats on every release in order to force you to buy an upgrade.

>> that won't require you to re-image image master discs

Now that one's plain FUD. If you're putting your apps on a master disc, you're doing it wrong and MS would love to sell you an SMS server and packaging tools. You can set up a Linux repo server in your company and create a dummy package that updates to an entirely different product transparently too. The only difference being that it's free.

>> or jump ship from Product A to B because of a code fork

You never have to jump ship because of a code fork. You jump ship if you prefer where the fork's developers want to take the product, over that of the previous ships captain. Basically, you get to pick which fits better with your own goals. That's a good thing, and not something worthy of FUD - "true" forks are somewhat rare, but have produced some great stuff: like OS X, Android, Apache, etc.

animatortom 3 years ago

Don't know why they just don't integrate all the office products into the OS in the first place!

There are many other options for documents like open office and WP. It would make more sense for MS to integrate it and charge an extra 10 bucks for the OS.

Instead Gates would rather just give half his billions away and complain about helping the little guy? Would it really cost him anything to give away billions of copies of office, so people can learn for their future jobs! FRickn Hypocrites:P

Joel H 3 years ago


Gates tried that with a little program called Internet Explorer back in the late 90s. It lead to a massive antitrust lawsuit. Microsoft has to tread *extremely* carefully and there are very strict rules regarding what it can and can't do. Just the fact that MS makes a security / antivirus program--even though they scarcely advertise it--was enough to make the AV manufacturers cry foul.

The problem is that any product includes in the OS suddenly has a majority market share. It doesn't matter *which* product MS picks to fill a role; even if they choose an out-of-house solution (let's say they'd tried to make a deal with Kaspersky, for example), then Kaspersky becomes a near-monopoly and everyone screams bloody murder.

I am no fan of unrestricted free enterprise but it's hard not to appreciate the irony of MS's position. If they attempt to incorporate their own products, vendors scream. If they attempt to use someone else's products, vendors scream. Search some of the legal filings and you'll find an awful lot of third-party software companies have argued MS should be restricted from offering *any* product other than the OS--this is why some analysts thought the DOJ might order MS to break into independent business units post-trial.

Jonation 3 years ago

America! Land of the regulated?

Joel H 3 years ago


And thank God for it. Anyone who thinks government regulation is a bad thing needs to take a good hard look at the early 1900s-1920s and how companies treated employees. The concept of owing your soul to the company store didn't come from nowhere.

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