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Wednesday, Microsoft defended product activation on the Mac with the same reasoning that it has used in the past for Office on Windows.

How to retrieve Office 2011 product key from old machine?

Microsoft has aggressively promoted product activation by arguing that it's one way customers are assured they've purchased genuine software. Users have often scoffed at that explanation. According to Microsoft, the goal of the anti-piracy technology is reduce "casual copying" by tying the software to a specific Mac's hardware configuration. During the activation process, Microsoft also collects other information, including the Mac's IP Internet protocol address and the default language of the operating system.

Download and install or reinstall Office for Mac 2011

Microsoft debuted Office activation in with Office XP, but this is the first time it has added the technology to the Mac productivity suite. The company has also scaled back the number of Macs on which a customer can legally install Office, and uses activation to keep people from violating the terms of the software's end-user licensing agreement EULA. Each license granted the user permission to install Office on both a desktop and a laptop, for a total of six installations.

Office for Mac , however, switched to a single activation code and to an install-based licensing plan, effectively halving the number of Macs on which a customer can install the program.

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Last August, Macworld senior contributor Rob Griffiths complained about the licensing changes, arguing that Microsoft was penalizing customers with multiple Macs. Others were also up in arms over Office for Mac's product activation and its enforcement of the suite's more limited EULA.

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To pay extra to be able to install on a laptop is nonsense," chimed in someone labeled as Jonathan. Both Art and Jonathan were likely referring to the price difference between the two versions of Office for Mac Home and Business Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. His e-mail address is gkeizer ix. Here are the latest Insider stories.

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