Microsoft has quietly killed off its Office Genuine Advantage (OGA) anti-piracy measure after it became clear it was hindering legitimate users whilst having no effect on software pirates.
Microsoft is now directing users to a page listing the advantages of using genuine software.
OGA required end-users to validate their Office installation in order to download updates or add-ons to the software package.
Security measures in place around initial activation of the Office suite, and validation procedures for Windows as a whole, are understood to be unaffected.
In a statement sent to MicroScope, Microsoft said the OGA scheme was designed to notify customers whether their copy of Office was genuine.
"The programme served its purpose and thus we have decided to retire the programme".
It added, "We are making several new investments that will allow us to engage with customers and help victims of fraud".
The firm did not comment further.