MS Office 2019 Pirates Get 365 Discount

John Lister's picture

Microsoft appears to be offering discounts on legitimate software to people running pirated copies. The Office deal isn't quite a like-for-like offer however.

The offer, spotted by the Ghacks site, appears to be limited to users in specific countries. It's not clear if there's a pattern such as targeting countries with high rates of piracy, or those where people are likely to have enough money to buy legitimate software. (Source:

A message shown to some users of unlicensed copies of Office 2019 in the ribbon bar reads "Get up to 50% off. For a limited time, save up to 50% on a genuine Microsoft 365 subscription."

Pirates Must Switch To Subscription

Clicking on the message opens up a warning page that lists what Microsoft calls the risks of running pirated applications. This includes not getting updates, being open to security vulnerabilities, and potentially losing data.

Users can then click through to subscribe to Microsoft 365. Those running pirated software appear to be offered the discounted deal.

As noted, the offer isn't a direct equivalent. It's made to people running the standalone copy of Office where people pay a one-off fee (or install an illegal copy) and can theoretically run it forever, though eventually it will stop getting either feature or security updates.

Deal Renews At Full Price

Instead the discount is for Office 365 where users pay an annual fee, with the software continuously updated so they can always run the latest version. However, it's a subscription deal meaning they'll need to pay again in a year's time (presumably without the discount) to carry on using it. (Source:

It's a strange move by Microsoft given that it arguably rewards people for piracy. It's also unclear whether somebody who refuses to pay for a legal copy at full price will be willing or able to pay at half-price, particularly if they don't like the subscription model.

One risk is that it makes the full price deal look overpriced. Indeed, in some countries a renewal of Office 365 is already legally available with significant discounts by buying a renewal code from Amazon or other retailers.

What's Your Opinion?

Should Microsoft make offers like this to pirates? Do you think many people will take it up? Do you think piracy is affected by pricing or are illegal users simply unwilling to pay anything on principle?

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