I almost feel obligated to pirate Office for Mac

As an owner of a legitimate license Office for Mac 2008, I’ve become frustrated with it enough in recent times to enrol in a trial copy of Office for Mac 2011. My main motivation for trying 2011 has largely been file format related, to get better interchange with other applications. I’m also searching for some usability and user experience parity with the suite on Windows, which I use heavily at work.

The trial ran out a couple of days ago, so obviously Microsoft have been spamming me trying to get me to buy it, including a lovely trio of emails sent at the same time, all extolling the benefits of ponying up for the license key. The middle email of the trio contained an attractive price, so I clicked to see what bits of the suite were included for the money, and that’s when it all fell apart.

To sign up for the trial you need a Microsoft account populated with everything they need to contact you by phone, email and post. They know unequivocally from two of those pieces of information that I’m a resident of the fine sovereign state of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, flying spaghetti monster save the Queen.

So when the “Get It Now” button in the email takes me to a Microsoft UK page that says, “We’re sorry. The site you are attempting to access is restricted in your region.”, I feel almost morally justified in pirating it due to their complete inability to do that very simple thing of selling me a license key for a reasonable sum of money.

It’s not the first time either! This time they know exactly what I’m interested in and know how to market it to me accurately, yet they still can’t bring themselves to take my money in a sane, orderly fashion.

Ultimately, as a programmer who makes money writing software, I can’t justify a position where I’m using theirs illegitimately. That said, a general situation where people pirate ones and zeroes because it’s easier than paying for them, even when they actively want to pay, is incredibly understandable if it goes anywhere near as badly as my experience with Office for Mac.