It’s a wonderfully automated age we live in. Want a book? Download it from Amazon. Want to hear a song? Fire up Spotify and it’s there. At any time, you are practically two or three clicks away from getting access to any digital property.
Unless you want to buy Microsoft Office online.
We recently bought Microsoft Office for a new laptop. We easily downloaded the software in the time it takes for three gigs of info to flow into the machine. However, to set it up and begin using it, we needed the product key.
We figured it would be another seamless process, like every other part of setting up software on a new computer. We were wrong.
How did Microsoft supply us with the information that allowed us to open up that massive file and start using Word, PowerPoint, and Excel? They mailed it to us.
Yes, that’s right, you put your credit card in, including that three-digit number you can never remember, hit send and, bang! We’ll mail it to you.
A jumble of twenty-five numbers and letters through the mail. No, not email. The other one. The one with those coupons and letters that a guy brings around most days. Yeah, THAT mail.
I’ll admit the plastic box that arrives is impressive, considering it’s just letters and numbers inside. The packaging looks like it would hold a small disc or a thumb drive. When you open it, you find a piece of laminated cardboard onto which they have affixed the label with the 25-character key.
Okay, I know this is 2011 and piracy is a big problem, but is this the best Microsoft can do to defeat the pirates? Do software pirates not know how to type the characters from the cardboard into their skull and crossbones brand laptops? Is this really working?