Microsoft has silently killed off one of its primary weapons against Office piracy: its Office Genuine Advantage (OGA) program. ZDNetís Ed Bott first reported the shut down after receiving word from a tipster, and now Microsoft has confirmed it in a note at the top of several Knowledge Base articles. The tool basically required anyone wanting to download an Office add-in or template to go through a validation process first to prove that theyíre running a legit copy of the software.

The move affects all versions of the productivity suite, including Office 2010, which was only released a few months ago. What it doesnít affect is Office activation, which still requires a 25-character product key and direct contact with Microsoftís activation servers, so itís not like the software giant has totally given up the fight against piracy. Still, one less hurdle to jump over for legitimate users is always a nice thing.