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posted by LaminatorX on Sunday March 30 2014, @04:54PM   Printer-friendly
from the Honesty-is-the-best-policy dept.

janrinok writes:

"CNet is reporting that Microsoft is hoping that users will not exploit a loophole which would save them $100 for an Office 365 subscription. But it is not as straightforward as it might appear as there are a few twists to the tale. From the article:

Microsoft wants you to buy Office 365, making the $100 subscription service mandatory to access the full power of Office apps for iPad. But if you don't want to pay the price, you don't technically have to. After tinkering with numerous devices and accounts since the debut of Office on iPad Thursday, CNET discovered a loophole in how Office 365 authentication gets enforced on Apple tablets. The loophole allows users who have not paid for the subscription to enjoy the benefits of those tablet apps for iOS.

"Similar to our commercial use rights, we do not strictly enforce the limit on tablet installations, but trust that our users respect and understand the device limits outlined in the EULA [end user rights agreement]," a Microsoft spokesperson told CNET. Subscriptions now form the backbone of Microsoft's software licensing, and the company has made an aggressive push to make it as convenient as possible to access its Office app suite through an Office 365 subscription. It wants to turn one-time customers into annual ones, and users are signing up. Within hours of going live on Thursday, the apps grabbed the top four slots in the free category of Apple's top charts.

Sweetening the deal, Microsoft gives you for less than the price to buy the software outright for only one computer the ability to install Office on five Macs or PCs and up to five tablets. However, there's nothing to stop you from trying a sixth tablet, or a seventh or an eighth or beyond. For now, there is no set limitation.

Additionally:

Similar to sharing around an HBO Go password among friends, all that's required to exploit the loophole which, again, is against the rights agreement that limits you to authenticating only five tablets is to have someone with a valid Office 365 account log in to Word, Excel or any other Office app on iPad. Once that happens, the tablet is automatically authenticated for all Office apps and any future users, regardless of whether or not those users have paid for 365. In other words, someone with a Microsoft account that was, just minutes prior, unable to access the best features of an iPad Office app will then be able to utilize the full version as well as other downloaded Office apps seemingly indefinitely. The prompt to pay for 365 or resort to using the "read-only" mode disappears.

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  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 30 2014, @05:29PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 30 2014, @05:29PM (#23211)

    It's subscription based, I'm sure they can disable stuff anytime they want.

    Once they get enough marketshare and people are hooked then they'll collect the $$$$$$.

  • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 30 2014, @06:11PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 30 2014, @06:11PM (#23220)

    Nigger

  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by robpow on Sunday March 30 2014, @06:12PM

    by robpow (1575) on Sunday March 30 2014, @06:12PM (#23221)

    Are they trying to say that you can log on with someone else's Office365 account to unlock the app and then back with your own account and it stays unlocked? There were an awful lot of words without actually saying what they are doing.

    • (Score: 2) by WizardFusion on Sunday March 30 2014, @08:03PM

      by WizardFusion (498) on Sunday March 30 2014, @08:03PM (#23255) Journal

      If that is the case, then I sounds like it's just a flag that is set in the software somewhere. I am sure some enterprising jail-breaker can find it.

  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Immerman on Sunday March 30 2014, @08:31PM

    by Immerman (3985) on Sunday March 30 2014, @08:31PM (#23269)

    "But for now there is no set limitation"

    Since they just finished stating a a 5-tablet limit, that sounds to me like there is currently no *technical* limit, which is a very different thing than no *legal* limit.

    I suspect we all hate DRM here, so why are we touting articles highlighting the fact that the DRM is not as onerous as it could be and encouraging people to illegally exploit that fact?

    • (Score: 2) by etherscythe on Monday March 31 2014, @05:12PM

      by etherscythe (937) on Monday March 31 2014, @05:12PM (#23660) Journal

      A more positive interpretation is that we are highlighting a DRM flaw or "incomplete implementation with a loophole" that demonstrates that doing DRM is hard, and many products could be developed more cheaply or with better features/fewer bugs if only companies would quit throwing resources at the DRM which pirates just break anyway.

      Do you think Microsoft is opposed to as much DRM as they can get away with? Consider Games for Windows Live, XBOX firmware detection, and all the Windows Validation tech they have produced. It seems likely to me that, since they have focused on the Mac ecosystem only slightly more often than never, that this is just a measure meant to keep a working product, without showstopper bugs that will give their product a bad name. A great demonstration of backing off of DRM in favor of the user experience, at least temporarily.

      --
      "Fake News: anything reported outside of my own personally chosen echo chamber"
  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 30 2014, @09:00PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 30 2014, @09:00PM (#23276)

    MS winked at piracy of their Office suite until it became dominant and their competitors irrelevant. MS will allow this violation of their EULA until the Office iPad/Android app is dominant. This should not be surprising.

  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 30 2014, @10:04PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 30 2014, @10:04PM (#23301)

    This slashvertisment is way too long. IMHO there should be a limit or at least a warning for too lengthy news summaries - maybe so someone else have to edit it before used?

    A very quick edit of this one with still everything intact could be:

    "Microsoft is hoping that users will not exploit a loophole that save $100 for an Office 365 subscription. But it is not as straightforward as it might appear as there are a few twists to the tale. If you don't want to pay the price, you don't technically have to, CNET discovered a loophole in how Office 365 authentication gets enforced on Apple tablets. It allows users who have not paid for the subscription to use those tablet apps for iOS.

    After going live on Thursday the apps grabbed the top four slots in the free category of Apple's top charts (with features disabled or "read-only mode").

    Subscriptions now form the backbone of Microsoft's software licensing,
    Microsoft has made an aggressive push of its Office 365 subscription, costing less than the price to buy the software outright for only one computer. It allows install of Office on five Macs or PCs and up to five tablets, but Microsoft do not strictly enforce the limit on tablet installations.

    Similar to sharing around an HBO Go password among friends, all that's required is
    to have someone with a valid Office 365 account log in to a MS Office app on the iPad to make it authenticated for all Office apps and any future users."

    it can (should) certainly be further shorted ofcourse.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 30 2014, @11:18PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 30 2014, @11:18PM (#23341)

      Still too long really, and even though nobody reads TFA (I certainly don't), there should be something in it that isn't included in the summary, right?

      -----------------
      While Microsoft hopes that users will not use Office 365 subscription for free, CNET discovered a loophole in how Office 365 authentication gets enforced on Apple tablets.

      Microsoft has made an aggressive push of its Office 365 subscription, costing less than to buy the software for one computer. It allows install on five Macs/PCs and five tablets, but the limit on tablet installations is not enforced.

      Similar to sharing an HBO Go password among friends, all that's required is to have someone with a Office 365 account log in to a MS Office app on the iPad to make it authenticated for any future users.
      -----------------

      The link should be on 'CNET discovered a loophole', but also a link on 'sharing an HBO Go password' would be interesting.

      Now I'm not sure MS is sad at all about this, and they can always enforce payment later if this stunt makes people start using office365. Who pays for Office programs in the first place, and why would anyone want to say do word processing on a tablet?

      The real news here isn't microsofts advertising of "oh how cheap it is!" and "We are so nice so you don't even have to buy separate licenses for each of your computers!" and "btw, Licenses and EULAs is important stuff!" and "if you are coool you can even use it for free (for now) if you have a friend that payed!" and "it's popular! you have to get it too!".
      No the news is that microsoft have seen the writing on the wall that nobody sane buys new versions of ms office, they probably have one already, so instead they try to make people rent office. (now why would they do that? but I guess on smartphones people are more happy of paying because it is so easy to do so you don't even have to think...?)

      • (Score: 1) by bryan on Monday March 31 2014, @11:48PM

        by bryan (29) <bryan@pipedot.org> on Monday March 31 2014, @11:48PM (#23813) Homepage Journal

        Or you could just forgo the entire slash-like summary and subscribe to the RSS feed: http://www.cnet.com/rss/ [cnet.com]

        In this way, the originating website of TFA already has a short summary of it's own with a simple link to each of its articles.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 04 2014, @04:20PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 04 2014, @04:20PM (#26266)

          but I like the up to 10 lines summaries... (not a whole screen!), the http://soylentnews.org/index.rss [soylentnews.org] only have the title it seems, and just one line of summary is most often too little.