Microsoft is trying to entice pirates to turn towards the light

A logo marking the edge of the Microsoft corporate campus in Redmond, Washington.
(Image credit: Photo by Toby Scott/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Piracy is a worldwide problem arrrrr. Not only does it deprive software developers and companies of much deserved revenue, it also opens up end users to scurvy dogs pushing out increasingly sophisticated malware. No one knows more about the effect of piracy than Microsoft. For decades, users have been using illegal copies of Windows and Office. It’s a losing battle, but rather than fight those using illegitimate software, Microsoft is trying a different approach, dangling a carrot in front of users, rather than forcing users to walk the plank.

Screenshot of Microsoft's discount offer for pirated Office copies

(Image credit: Ghacks)

Ghacks, via PCWorld, reports that users with pirated versions of its popular Office software suite are receiving offers for a discount of 50% off of a legitimate version. Interestingly though, it’s trying to direct pirates to use the online Office 365 suite. Given that the offline version is more likely to be pirated, we’re curious to see if Microsoft can actually entice many users towards legitimate bounty, since they’re using it for ‘free’ and may be reluctant to sign up for a Microsoft account at all. Some people want to own their software, and not deal with software as a service subscriptions or worry about big brother.

It appears as though the offer is only available in certain markets. In Australia, I see no offer or discount for my legitimate Office 365 subscription. I would have opened the coffers if so. Not that I have any desire to hornswoggle Microsoft by downloading a pirated version just to check.

These days, with Google docs and open source alternatives like LibreOffice, it remains to be seen if Microsoft will actually make a dent in piracy levels or entice users towards its products. Will we see any other software developers follow suit? An affordable Adobe suite would be nice, aye? Alas, that’s some loot that will probably have to remain buried.

Chris Szewczyk
Hardware Writer

Chris' gaming experiences go back to the mid-nineties when he conned his parents into buying an 'educational PC' that was conveniently overpowered to play Doom and Tie Fighter. He developed a love of extreme overclocking that destroyed his savings despite the cheaper hardware on offer via his job at a PC store. To afford more LN2 he began moonlighting as a reviewer for VR-Zone before jumping the fence to work for MSI Australia. Since then, he's gone back to journalism, enthusiastically reviewing the latest and greatest components for PC & Tech Authority, PC Powerplay and currently Australian Personal Computer magazine and PC Gamer. Chris still puts far too many hours into Borderlands 3, always striving to become a more efficient killer.