Sure, buying a serial number online for your favorite productivity software for a fraction of the retail price seems like you’re sticking it to “the man.” However, do you know that saying about if something is too good to be true? It applies here.
Straight from the horse’s mouth: “(..) Microsoft does not distribute product keys as standalone products. If you see a listing on an auction site, online classified ad, or other online page advertising product keys for sale, it’s a good indication that the keys are likely stolen or counterfeit.“
You might say — Microsoft is a huge company and has tons of money, it doesn’t matter, and I saved money!
If you’re a home user or a consumer — that’s on you; it’s a free country, make your own decisions.
If you’re a business — do not pirate or buy counterfeit licenses. Why?
- They aren’t legitimate! Common sources of those cheap serial numbers are Microsoft programs like Developer Network, TechNet, Volume Licensing, etc.. You’re paying shady businesses and encouraging them to continue operating.
- They can deactivate at any time, and Microsoft won’t help you. Imagine your Outlook complaining about activation six months after you “bought a serial for $10.” You’re a business – get legitimate licensing to use your software reliably and get technical support when needed. Candidly, if you cannot afford the retail price for Microsoft Office, raise your prices.
- If you work with an IT company that’s a registered Microsoft partner (most of us are), we will have to step in and get you adequately licensed or risk losing our partnership status. If the first two reasons stated above don’t move the needle for you, this one should. If we (or any Microsoft partner) see pirated or counterfeit licenses, we clarify whether it was the last IT company’s bad advice or the business that made that decision. If it was the business, we’re less likely to do an engagement due to the indicators of taking unnecessary risks and cutting corners.
Tips for buying legitimate Microsoft Licenses
- Always buy from a trusted source. For example, a Microsoft Cloud Service Provider (like us) or Microsoft direct.
- When purchasing physical copies of Microsoft products, check that the product comes with a Genuine Microsoft Label or Certificate of Authenticity (COA).
- Determine whether the product you are purchasing is intended for business or personal use. Home versions of Office, for example, are not licensed for commercial use.
- When in doubt, check with your IT company. They should be a Microsoft partner and reselling you the correct licenses so you can focus on running your business.
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