I tried to use my Microsoft Office 11 Mac software today (Word) which has been working on my Mac Mini for many months. Instead of opening as usual, I was confronted with a window asking me to enter my product key. I had my product key on file and entered it. When I tried to activate the software, I was told that "online activation did not complete successfully because the product key has been used the maximum number of times permitted."
I have used this software on my MacBook Pro and my Mac Mini (Mac Pro before then) for a couple of years at least. I've deactivated the software when upgrading computers and have kept records of the product IDs issued and the messages I received when deactivating.
I tried going online to see if perhaps I am using the software on too many computers. I couldn't figure it out. So I called. After much trouble trying to get the robot to get me to a real person, I reached a woman in India. I recorded this conversation. She told me the following and confirmed the following:
1. I have purchased a copy of Microsoft Office 11 Mac software and have been using it on my Mac Mini for several months with no problems.
2. She said that their website for activating this software was down and I needed to try again, or call to see what the status was, in 24 hours.
3. I asked, and she confirmed twice, that this was not subscription software, but regardless, this software had checked back with Microsoft at some point and de-activated itself. I therefore needed to re-activate it again. This seems to me to be blatantly, flagrantly, and ridiculously illegal; or at least it should raise a real furor with anyone who uses Microsoft software. Perhaps this support person was wrong, but I repeated myself several times to be sure of the answers and recorded the conversation.
If a user buys Microsoft software (not on a subscription basis) and Microsoft has this software check back with this severs secretly to de-activate it, then this seems illegal and outrageous. I purchased this software legally and am unable to use it for at least another 24 hours, not to mention having to spend valuable time to get it working again.