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Registration Wizard casts spell on Office 2000

Will turn software counterfeiters into frogs

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Microsoft has stepped up the war against software piracy by incorporating compulsory registration technology into the retail version of Office 2000 (O2k) and boosting the number of holographic identifiers Windows 2000 (W2k) will carry. The entire surface of W2k CD-ROMs will be one big hologram. Right from the centre of the disc to its very edge, when held at an angle it will reveal the name 'Windows 2000' along with a series of product graphics. PCs with W2k pre-installed will come with a Certificate of Authenticity label attached. The label will be interwoven with a copper thread bearing a hologram. The hologram will carry the words 'Microsoft' and 'Genuine'. The retail version of W2k will come with a similar label. This is all good stuff and -- if nothing else -- should at least make it easier for the PC buying public to tell the real McCoy from pale imitations. But this is nothing compared with what's in store for O2k. The long-awaited next version of Microsoft's world-beating office suite will come with what is euphemistically being called a Registration Wizard. The Wizard will prompt users to register online and will generate an installation number. Although the official release from Microsoft doesn't stress it, the point here is no installation number = no installation. Pow, zap, alakazam, hocus pokus and other assorted wizardry. The bottom line here is that if you don't own a genuine copy of O2k, be prepared for stormy weather when you try and use it. And before hordes of conspiracy theorists (you know who you are) start getting all heated about major corporations collecting your personal details, you only need to enter the name of the country where the software was purchased to get the installation code. You can even use an anonymous Web mail account to register. Microsoft is also upping its efforts to crack down on Web sites distributing illegal copies of its software. It is kickstarting a 24x7 monitoring programme which will scour the Net looking for pirates. When the pirates are spotted, the ISP hosting the offending site will be made to walk the plank... no they won't. We made that bit up. The ISP will, however, be instructed to pull the pirates' site down. In January alone, Microsoft identified and eliminated more than 100 such sites with the help of the ISP community. ® See also: MS unveils Win2K anti-piracy tools Half of UK schools are software pirates Threat of gaol not enough to deter piracy

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