So the other day I put in a request for Microsoft Word for my office Windows machine. A couple of days later, my request was approved, and I was given login credentials to the MS Office 365 website where I could download Office.

But instead of downloading it on my work machine, I ended up downloading it on my personal machine, Mac OSX.

Was this a wrong/unethical thing to do? I'm fully prepared to uninstall it if they find out. But can they find out? And what would be the worst thing to happen to me for doing this?

  • Are you intending to install it on your work machine?
    – Peter M
    Apr 28, 2017 at 22:08
  • 5
    Talk to your company, often Office comes with the ability to either install at home for free or cheaply if you have a business licence, they can answer, we can't. Voting to close as company specific. Apr 28, 2017 at 22:29
  • Ask the same question you asked here, but to your manager.
    – Sandra K
    Apr 28, 2017 at 23:11
  • "I'm fully prepared to uninstall it if they find out." You are implying that you will keep it if you don't find out, which means you probably already realize that it is wrong/unethical, but are just hoping to hear that you may be able to get away with it. "But can they find out?" Yes, they can. In fact, Microsoft can most certainly do this automatically if they choose to. "And what would be the worst thing to happen to me for doing this?" You could be fired, and depending on local laws and how far the company chooses to pursue this, you could pay some fines and/or spend some time in jail.
    – Masked Man
    Apr 29, 2017 at 1:09
  • At my work, we actively encourage users to use the extra 4 licenses that come with their office 365 for business accounts. Might be the same at your work? Definitely check
    – Guy S
    Apr 29, 2017 at 3:55

4 Answers 4


This is wrong. Really really wrong. You just stole your company, and you could be fired for that. Delete it as soon as you can and never mention this at work.

  • 1
    You do understand that one Office 365 license can be used simultaneously on up to 5 (I think) devices? Apr 28, 2017 at 22:44
  • 2
    @PhilipKendall You are thinking of the personal Office 365. The Business Office 365 has a lot more.....nuisances in its licensing. Particularly on what types of devices can run what depending on the license. While it is unlikely, if Microsoft found out about OP's company effectively breaking their corporate license, they could sue for breach of contract. (When dealing with Entreprise software, companies get very defensive about contracts.)
    – Lan
    Apr 28, 2017 at 23:17
  • It is unfortunate that this was downvoted at least twice. I agree with the comment wholeheartedly. On the scale of moral wrong this is equal to jaywalking but it is still possibly a violation of the contract OP's company signed with Microsoft and the contract OP signed with their company. If I broke the agreement my company made with another, I'd have no recourse for the reprimand my company could have against me.
    – Lan
    Apr 28, 2017 at 23:21
  • It might be ok. Some companies/organizations allow one or more copies of various software to be used on personal machines.
    – MikeP
    Apr 29, 2017 at 0:53

I think you were wrong to install it on a different, and differently owned, machine from the one for which you requested it. If you had asked to get it on your own computer the request might or might not have been approved. That is a matter of licensing terms and company policy.

To fix the issue, I suggest asking, before using and preferably before activating, whether you can use it on your own computer. If the answer is "No", delete it immediately. If the answer is "Yes", all is well.


Most people would consider that personal use of company resources. Some companies may equate it to theft and some may be OK with it. You should just ask.

I worked a company were a guy was fired for stealing a $12 tool and this was a long time employee with no prior problems.

Their license with Microsoft may not include use on home machines.

What are you going to do when you need Office on your work machine?


You downloaded but didn't install it? Eh. It's really no big deal.

Certainly delete it if it makes you uncomfortable, but until you activate the product I imagine it's like any other trial download of Word. No one cares how many copies of software are downloaded, only the ones that are activated, and for which someone is paying a license fee.

While it's certainly a bad idea to use company software on your personal machine for personal use, if you ever, in any way plan to do work from home, you should be fine. If your company has a volume license, just ask your supervisor if it's OK to install it at home as well as on your work computer.

Note for reference that a personal edition of Office 365 is only $70/year, if you need something for yourself. Of course, Google Docs is free ...

  • 1
    I am reading between the lines that it was activated. Just using the credentials was personal use of company resources.
    – paparazzo
    Apr 28, 2017 at 22:39

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