Microsoft Spyware

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by ChrisH3677, Jul 8, 2004.

  1. ChrisH3677 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 6, 2003
    Victoria, Australia
    I have Office v.X academic.

    Was at work today. 40km (25 miles) from home. Went to shutdown MS Word (which had been open for a few days). Got a message that I couldn't use Word because another user (displayed my wife's name) was using a product with the same product ID.

    True it's installed on both our computers, but my understanding for the academic version, was I could install it on up to 5 computers for personal use. Will have to verify that. (At work I run Office in Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection)

    Anyway, what concerned me was the message. Our computers were 40km apart, on separate, private networks behind firewalls. But they were communicating. And if they were communicating with each other, what's to say they weren't communicating with Microsoft?

    I accept MS right to protect the legal rights of their software, but the use of spyware to do it way oversteps the boundary of what I consider reasonable, fair and honest means.

    What other information are they harvesting? What other companies as spying on our use of their software?

    I have tried previously to find an alternative to Office, but nothing comes close in compatibility. OpenOffice which claims to be, just isn't - and is so ugly (read W95 looking) it gives me chills.

    Anyone know of anything else? My main use is Word and Excel, but I do need something that is very compatible - eg columns, textboxes, section breaks, tables etc in Word. functions, formatting, charting etc in Excel.

  2. saabmp3 macrumors 6502a

    Jul 22, 2002
    Tacoma, WA
    This happened on my college network (on the same subnet) with my friend who had the same serial as me. We just put different ones in (legal) and it worked. We as well had academic versions of Office 2000.

    I don't think you have anything to be concerned with as to why it came up, you said you were using remote desktop? That's like actually being at your computer at home which is right next to your wife's computer. Another thing might be it just took Office a while to realize that another computer was using the same copy as you were.

    Microsoft is not getting any info back from you. However, Adobe does.

  3. Horrortaxi macrumors 68020


    Jul 6, 2003
    Los Angeles
    While they allow Office to be installed on multiple computers, you can only run one at a time. So either you or your wife can use it at any given moment. Is this Office 2004? In Office X it would only check your subnet (I think, though I'm pretty sure). This "phoning home" crap is new.

    As for the principle of Office phoning home with your information--Dude, it's Microsoft! They're not exactly the kings of disclosure or civil liberties. At least you're not using Windows with its hidden folders containing your life's history.

    If you want to know what applications are phoning home, search versiontracker for something called "Little Snitch". It works like a software firewall and notifies you about outbound traffic. You can allow it or not.

    As for Office alternatives--do you need to send files to people for them to modify? I've come to the conclusion that that's the only situation in which compatibility is an issue with Office. If people just have to view your work, you can send a pdf. Have you tried AppleWorks? Apart from a dated looking interface there isn't anything wrong with it. Functionally it's as good as anything.
  4. jeremy.king macrumors 603


    Jul 23, 2002
    Fuquay Varina, NC
    Did you register both installations (I wouldn't)? If so, I would venture a guess that by doing they embed some fine print that says you are giving M$ permission to phone home. Or better yet, read the User agreement on the installer.
  5. phonic pol macrumors regular

    Feb 16, 2004
    What does Adobe get?
  6. 7on macrumors 601


    Nov 9, 2003
    Dress Rosa
    Actually I don't think Adobe's Mac CS has this "protection" but I know the PC version has it.
  7. PlaceofDis macrumors Core

    Jan 6, 2004
    if you have the Student and Teacher edition of Office you should have been given three different serial numbers, if you used the same one for the installation on both computers then you will get this message if the computers can communicate. I just got the student and teacher version of Office 2004, and it is running on a home network and at the same time, but we wont get this error because we have different serial numbers. Hope this helps
  8. phonic pol macrumors regular

    Feb 16, 2004
    I think this is only for registration. I might be wrong but I don't think any information is sent on how users actually use adobe products.
  9. osprey76 macrumors 6502

    May 3, 2004
    Oklahoma City, OK
    The Office 2004 Academic version includes three serial numbers. I had v.X through the upgrade version, so I don't know what the serial number scheme was with that. Also, I wasn't engaged to a teacher then. :)

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