Microsoft Wizard will comply with Privacy Act

Microsoft will comply with the Privacy Act in requiring New Zealanders who use the new Microsoft Registration Wizard to reveal no more the name of the country in which they reside. The wizard, which is aimed at preventing illegal installations, will be included in all versions of Office 2000 sold in New Zealand next year. Customers will be able to use the product 50 times before being compelled to contact Microsoft to register and get an access code allowing continued use.

Microsoft will comply with the Privacy Act in requiring New Zealanders who use the new Microsoft Registration Wizard to reveal no more the name of the country in which they reside.

The Office Registration Wizard will be included in all versions of Office 2000 sold in New Zealand, Australia and Brazil, and as well as in academic packages distributed in the US and Canada. The new Web-oriented suite is due for release next year.

The Wizard makes registration a "natural part of installing the product" and helps prevent illegal installations according to Bridget Reeves, marketing manager, desktop applications at Microsoft New Zealand

Reeves says users are not required to provide personal information and can register anonymously. The only information that customers need to provide is the name of the country in which they reside, and an automatically generated installation ID number confirms registration. Customers can also register via e-mail, the Internet, postal mail, fax or telephone.

"Customers can use the product 50 times before registration is required. At that point, customers can continue to use their software by calling Microsoft Services to register and get an access code," Reeves says.

Microsoft is frank about the anti-piracy aims of the new technology.

"Software piracy is a significant problem for the entire industry, and we are launching this registration approach because no effective technology exists today to validate licensing," says Reeves.

Microsoft says the Registration Wizard technology has been tested over the past six months in retail versions of Office 97 Small Business Edition and Publisher 98 in Brazil, as well as in Office 2000 beta 1, which was distributed to local beta testers last week.

In accordance with the Microsoft end-user license agreement, customers can install a copy of Office on a single computer, then install a second copy for exclusive use on a portable computer. Installations on additional computers that violate the license agreement will not qualify for registration.

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