March 29, 2014
Haptic Networks
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Office 365 for iPad and the loophole Microsoft won't be shouting about.

As we’re sure you’re aware, Microsoft want you to purchase Office 365 in order to obtain Office apps for iPad. Technically however there is a way you won’t have to.

Office on iPad was released on Thursday, shortly after a loophole in how Office 365 authentication gets enforced on Apple tablets was discovered. This loophole allows users who have not paid for the subscription to enjoy the tablet apps for iOS.

As part of any Office 365 roll-out Microsoft gives you (for less than the price to buy the software outright for only one computer) the ability to install Office on five Macs or PCs and up to five tablets.

Although we couldn’t possibly advise you to try further devices; many have.

Similar to sharing around a Netflix password among friends, (which of course, we wouldn’t condone) all that's required to exploit the loophole is to have someone with a valid Office 365 account log in to Word, Excel or any other Office app on iPad. Once that happens, the tablet is automatically authenticated for all Office apps and any future users, regardless of whether or not those users have paid for 365.

(we must state this is against the rights agreement that limits you to authenticating only five tablets)

Thus someone with a Microsoft account that was, just minutes prior, unable to access the best features of an iPad Office app will have the ability to utilise the full version -- as well as other downloaded Office apps seemingly indefinitely.

The fact that any 365 user gets 10 total installs makes the service highly economical from a customer standpoint.

Microsoft confirmed that it does indeed track how many versions of Office for iPad a single account has authenticated. What action Microsoft would take if, say, a 100 people were piggybacking on a single 365 subscription is unclear, but the five-tablet limit is explicitly laid out in the user agreement very high up.

If you’d like to know more about how Office 365 can be a huge boost to your organisation give us a nudge.

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