It was surprising and frankly disappointing to see Amazon USA post a very dubious offer for Office 2019 Professional Plus at just US$46.99.
Office 2019 Professional Plus sells for around $559 but only as a volume licence. There’s no retail version of Office 2019 Professional Plus.
This offer is doubly dubious. It’s selling something that’s not available through retail channels and offering it for a suspiciously low price.
UPDATE: it took Amazon long enough, but this pirated product has finally been taken down.
(after an in-house debate, we decided not to link to this page. We don’t want to endorse this seller or offer in any way).
There are other ‘red flags’ in the final print of the product page. The seller sends a product key plus a special link to download the software from Microsoft (presumably from the volume licence downloads site). There are two reviews, one is five star but the other reports problems and asking for a refund.
In the Q & A section there’s a direct question “This is a $400 product. How is your price so low? Microsoft does not grant volume discounts this deep.” which the seller doesn’t answer.
Office 2019 can be disabled at any time
Even if you successfully purchased and installed one of these Office 2019 Pro Plus packages there’s a real risk that Microsoft will disable the software because it’s an illegally acquired license.
Office 2019 is installed using ‘Click and Run’ technology. That means Microsoft can check the licence status whenever the product is installed, reinstalled or updated. The company could stop reinstallation or updates by blocking downloads.
In other words, it’s not like earlier versions of Office where you could download the entire software in one package to keep. Now every install must be approved by Microsoft.
Why does Amazon allow these products to be posted?
This product should trigger alarms and a take-down at Amazon. The price and the fact that it’s not even a retail product is enough. From the reviews, it seems Amazon already has one unhappy customer demanding a refund. Yet it’s still for sale?
Even if Amazon didn’t notice, surely Microsoft’s anti-piracy section should see it and ask Amazon to take the product down? It doesn’t take a lot of effort to find, we found it accidently on the first page of results searching for ‘Office 2019’.
All talk, no change
This product page has been live on Amazon’s site for over two weeks, since 7 October 2018.
Apparently there’s been no real policy change at Amazon or Microsoft since we wrote about Maybe you can’t even trust Amazon when buying Microsoft Office A defrauded Office customer needed a local TV station to help before Amazon took action.
At the time, Amazon gave an assurance that now seems quite hollow:
“… we will continue to fight and innovate on to protect customers, brands, and sellers. “
Really Amazon? There doesn’t seem to be much innovation or ‘fight’ when such blatantly pirated software is being sold on your site with a good search result.
Yet again, we wonder where Microsoft is hiding? Redmond constantly complains about software piracy and rightly so. It’s hard to take those corporate concerns seriously when the company allows a large retail partner to sell illegal Office so blatantly.