Microsoft Office available for 50% off, but only for pirates

Laptop with Office 365
Laptop with Office 365 (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft is offering a 50% discount on Microsoft 365 Personal or Family.
  • The discount is only available to people that have pirated the software.
  • It appears that the discount is part of an effort to convert pirates into genuine license holders.

Microsoft's Office apps are ubiquitous pieces of software that are often pirated to avoid subscription fees or save money. It appears that Microsoft wants to convert Office pirates to genuine license holders. A report by gHacks shows that at least some owners of pirated versions of Office can get Microsoft 365 Personal or Family for 50% off.

A screenshot shared by gHacks shows a banner across the top of a pirated version of Excel. "GET UP TO 50% OFF. For a limited time, save up to 50% on a genuine Microsoft 365 subscription," reads the banner. Clicking that message leads to a Microsoft webpage about pirated software. In addition to listing some of the risks of using non-licensed software, the page has a buy button with a 50% discount.

Source: gHacks (Image credit: Source: gHacks)

The link does not appear to work for those that have not pirated a copy of Office. There's a chance that having a genuine subscription attached to your Microsoft account prevents the link from working, though we cannot confirm that as the cause. The source of gHacks was able to take advantage of the discount, which indicates that it will work in certain scenarios.

It's worth noting that the pirated piece of software used by the source of gHacks was part of the desktop suite, which is available through a one-time purchase. The discount offered by Microsoft is for subscription-based versions of Office.

In related news, a security report by Red Canary shared details about a fake version of KMSPico that's being used to spread Cryptbot malware. KMSPico is a tool commonly used by pirates to activate Office and Windows.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at (opens in new tab).

  • I certainly would not subscribe to office, if I was going to pay for office I would get the stand-alone version. I don't have MS office, oh I do an old 2000 version that is on a disk somewhere. I am using only office, it is pretty good, but there are some problems so I may go back to Libre office, the one problem is that it keeps forgetting that the cell or column is currency and not just numbers.
    i have no need for MS office, it is a bloated bit of software that does way more than I need.
  • If you don't need it I understand that you don't buy it. I think its good value considering that on my family version 5 people get multiple installs and 1TB cloud storage and 60 minutes worldwide calls. But I don't think pirates deserve a lower cost than non pirates..
  • £79.99 a year in the u.K, yes I agree for the storage alone compared to others that is a good price, then the office suite on top, I presume you mean calls from Skype, there is noting about calls on the U.K site.
    I don't use online storage really, just got a free drop box account and only used it for a couple of documents to go between the main computer and desktop, and send large files to people. I don't have the laptop working at the moment and I have now got a NAS that will do both jobs anyway Maybe Microsoft prefer to have a paying customer, then a non-paying one. The thing is how long do the discount last for?
  • One has to wonder, how many pirates are going to trust handing their personal details to Microsoft if they've pirated it. Does this affect the people who've installed the Office via the insider program or is it more of a cracked replaced file kind of deal with the pirate versions that are affected? Still, it's certainly interesting that Microsoft is keeping telemetry tracking what's going on even in the pirate world.
  • People pirate software not just because of say privacy, sometimes it's just affordability so I'm guessing those are tbe type of pirates they're targeting.
  • I guess we was saying that it's risky to give your information to a company saying that you pirated their software...
  • 50% is still too expensive for most of us here. Personal plan cost IDR 960.000 here. Half of that is IDR 480.000. That's still too much. Unless they manage to bring the cost down to 200.000 or below, they won't win many users.