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Microsoft is the victim of more leaks

While software leaks are inevitable, Windows 7 has been particularly leaky during the course of its development.  Hot on the heels of the leaks of near-RTM builds onto the internet, a new Windows 7 package has leaked -- an active copy of Ultimate edition.

The new version comes courtesy of what appears to be a legitimate Lenovo OEM Ultimate edition DVD .ISO file, first posted on a Chinese web forum.  The boot.wim file was cracked to yield the OEM-SLP key and the OEM activation certificate.

The data obtained turned out to be pure paydirt.  The key is the master OEM key, capable of activating OEM builds deliver to (and subsequently leaked from) any of the major OEMs -- Dell, HP, Acer, or Lenovo.  Further it reveals that Windows 7's OEM digital signing system uses the .xrm-ms extension, just like Windows Vista.

While leaks of Windows 7 are nothing new, this leak presents a particularly dangerous threat to Microsoft.  The company is left with only a few options -- changing the master OEM key, adding a second activation key for future builds, or changing its signing system.  Any of the possibilities will potentially throw OEMs off course, so Microsoft may opt to take no action at all

Microsoft has not yet commented on the developments. 

Windows 7 will see and official release on October 22nd and RTM builds will reach OEMs on August 6th.

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1... 2... 3... 4... 5...
By thekdub on 7/29/2009 1:04:14 PM , Rating: 5
Skroob : Great, now we can take every last fresh dollar from Planet Druidia. What's the serial key?
Sandurz : *master key*
Skroob : *master key*?
Sandurz : Yes!
Skroob : That's amazing. I've got the same combination for every other OEM copy of Windows!

RE: 1... 2... 3... 4... 5...
By Golgatha on 7/29/2009 1:33:48 PM , Rating: 2
6 worthy!!

RE: 1... 2... 3... 4... 5...
By Smilin on 7/29/2009 1:55:23 PM , Rating: 2
I hate to ask someone to explain a joke but I missed the reference.

RE: 1... 2... 3... 4... 5...
By thekdub on 7/29/2009 2:00:58 PM , Rating: 5
It's from the Mel Brooks movie Spaceballs. One of my favorites.

RE: 1... 2... 3... 4... 5...
By Smilin on 7/29/2009 2:01:53 PM , Rating: 2
Gotcha gotcha. I remember now.

RE: 1... 2... 3... 4... 5...
By Spivonious on 7/29/2009 2:22:08 PM , Rating: 2

RE: 1... 2... 3... 4... 5...
By therealnickdanger on 7/30/2009 8:27:35 AM , Rating: 2
That's fantastic. I <3 that movie with all of my being.

Anyway, I figure that "leaks" like this are probably insignificant to Microsoft. The only reason I suggest that is because the people that pay for Windows will likely always pay for Windows. The people that buy OEM hardware preloaded with Windows will likely always buy OEM hardware preloaded with Windows. The pirates who steal software will likely always steal software. I'm just hypothesizing that while the number of pirates grows, it probably grows proportional to the number of legitimate sales.

I'm not suggesting that the ends justify the means, but I find it highly unlikely that anyone who has presently downloaded an illicit copy of W7 and used a stolen/hacked key, I doubt that person ever had the intent to buy it in the first place. No matter how you shake it, Microsoft's userbase grows.

RE: 1... 2... 3... 4... 5...
By bhieb on 7/30/2009 9:39:26 AM , Rating: 2
Exactly. If I were them I would wait a year or so then implement a fix of some sort. This way the pirates get "hooked" on Win7, and the not so committed ones will likely just buy a copy once they have been used to using it.

Disclaimer: The person posting this is in no way inferring that the method described has happened to him/her personally.

RE: 1... 2... 3... 4... 5...
By Belard on 7/30/2009 11:41:25 AM , Rating: 2
Reminds me of the KEY for MS Office 97...

Its 123~ etc... no kidding.

(Not concerned that people would pirate Office97, its 13 years old and Open Office 3 would blow it out of the water and its free)

I wonder...
By TheNuts on 7/29/2009 1:23:12 PM , Rating: 5
...if the key starts with FCKGW :)

RE: I wonder...
By Kibbles on 7/29/2009 2:24:40 PM , Rating: 5
Anyone else think FCK GW with a U in there =)? I always get a chuckle when I put in that code. I wonder if it was intentional hah.

RE: I wonder...
By lotharamious on 7/29/2009 3:05:56 PM , Rating: 2
Ahhh... the pre-XP SP1 days...

RE: I wonder...
By leexgx on 7/29/2009 6:35:01 PM , Rating: 2
funny when i see users have that key installed on there systems or the disk they have (have you ever plugged an Pre SP1/SP2 system into the Internet Directly No router funky stuff starts to happen)

RE: I wonder...
By AnnihilatorX on 7/30/2009 4:22:58 AM , Rating: 5
I actually used to remembered that combination by heart lol

FCKGW-RHQQ2-, something like that. Good old days,

In any case I am no pirate anymore. Ordered Windows 7.

Lenovo Leaked it, send them the bill
By rcc on 7/29/2009 2:51:01 PM , Rating: 2
Just set up MS update to count the number of computers accessing the site using this OEM code, subtract the number of OEM licenses Lenovo claims they sold, and send them a bill for the difference.

I realize it's not quite that easy, but conceptually I like it.

RE: Lenovo Leaked it, send them the bill
By halcyon on 7/30/2009 1:59:14 AM , Rating: 5
Ever consider it was *stolen* from Lenovo? The word 'leak' is just stupid warez-speak.

Are you in the habit of charging the victim in every other crime as well?

Not a good idea.

By imaheadcase on 7/30/2009 3:29:01 AM , Rating: 2
Well they do, its called "receiving stolen property". If you knowingly take something or buy something that is stolen.

RE: Lenovo Leaked it, send them the bill
By Visual on 7/30/2009 4:58:32 AM , Rating: 3
No, it is not stolen. Lenovo still have it, right?

This falls in the realm of trade-secret and confidential information laws, not theft or copyrights.

I don't know about the USA, but in most sane legal systems, there can't be a law prohibiting any random person from spreading such "secret" if they found out about it.
There can only be contracts with which specific people that will be told that information are prohibited from spreading it, but once the secret is out and distributed by third-parties, they should not be held accountable. Only the original leak source can be sued for a breach of contract, in this case that probably is Lenovo.

By HotFoot on 7/30/2009 5:34:43 AM , Rating: 2
I'm pretty sure there is such a law that if you know what the key is, what it's for, and yet you spread it/pass it on, you are wilfully and maliciously damaging an entity's business.

Missleading and Missing the Point
By vanka on 7/29/2009 6:10:31 PM , Rating: 5
The article is misleading and most of the comments are missing the point. The OEM activation of Windows 7 is a minor evolution of the OEM activation of Vista. (Note that the OEM activation of Vista was itself an evolution of the OEM XP activation.)

First, the reason for OEM activation: the OEMs did not want to inconvenience their customers with the hassle of needing to activate their new computers, so they worked with Microsoft to create a system where the OS would be automatically activated if it met certain conditions.

These conditions in Vista/7 are:
1. A specific code in the BIOS of the machine that identifies it as coming from an approved OEM (Dell, HP, Asus, etc). This is called the SLIC table.
2. A corresponding certificate must be installed in the OS. The BIOS table and the software certificate (an xml file actually) must "match up" - i.e. be from the same OEM.
3. A corresponding serial number.

If a machine has all three, then it is automatically activated. The article is misleads in that it implies that all that is necessary if the "master key" to activate any Windows 7 installation while the reality is that the key is only one of three components of OEM activation.

Going off the inaccurate information in the article many are jumping to the conclusion that Microsoft will/should revoke the key. I'll try to explain why this won't happen but for this we need to dig a little deeper into how Vista OEM activation works. Since Windows 7 OEM activation is only a very minor evolution over Vista's, this will shed light on how I assume it will work in Windows 7.

To facilitate the Vista OEM activations on their PCs, every OEM is provided with a unique BIOS SLIC table and a unique certificate file. The OEM keys are where things got interesting; the OEMs were each provided with several unique keys for the Home Basic, Home Premium, and Business editions of Vista as those were the versions that they would be selling the most of. Since the OEMs only very rarely installed the Ultimate edition on their PCs, only one key was provided for all OEMs to share . This could be considered the "master key".

The reason I think that this "leak" won't matter is that it would have happened when OEMs started shipping Windows 7 PCs in October. That is exactly what happened with Vista; just this time around people knew what to expect.

There exist multiple free tools online that will extract your Windows key for you; same for extracting an OEM certificate from a OEM activated Windows install. That yields 2 of the 3 needed components. The hard part is getting the necessary SLIC table into your BIOS.

This was accomplished by one of two methods: by having software emulate the necessary BIOS or by embedding the SLIC table into the native BIOS. The first method was quickly discovered and disabled by Microsoft while the second is virtually impossible to detect - but is more risky as you run the risk of bricking your hardware with either a bad BIOS flash or an improperly modified BIOS.

For these reasons I believe that Microsoft will not be changing the "master key" but will continue to crack down on the software BIOS emulation schemes.

By Ananke on 7/29/2009 7:49:01 PM , Rating: 1
So if I have Gigabyte board with double BIOS, I will be OK, I can recover bad bios flash with the second copy?

Another question:

I have a comp, not bad one, that cost me $25 (twenty five) to build from junked parts. Do anybody think that is worth purchasing MS Win to run on it, for mere $89 OEM copy of XP/Vista/7...:)

Yep, the time of using Linux is coming soon...:(, I got one Win 7 order, but the rest of my puters are on Linux. Unless MS releases $150 multiple license RETAIL Win 7

By emboss on 7/29/2009 11:50:29 PM , Rating: 5
The third method for getting the SLIC table into memory is via patched version of GRUB (eg: vistaloader) or some other bootloader. These are no more detectable than the BIOS patches, and have no risk of killing the board.

MS could try and scan every sector of every attached storage device to see if it can find "bad" code, but then the crackers would just hit back with polymorphic bootloaders, and MS's job would become almost impossible.

RE: Missleading and Missing the Point
By vanka on 7/31/2009 12:58:03 PM , Rating: 2
Well it looks like I was wrong on one point: I had assumed that Microsoft wouldn't want to inconvenience their OEMs by blacklisting the leaked key; but since it's so early in the game and only a few computers will be shipped with Windows 7 Ultimate - Microsoft has decided to blacklist this key. No computers will be shipped or sold with this key, so it won't affect people who purchase computers once they are released.

This really won't make too much of a difference as once Windows 7 is officially released and the keys are discovered; Microsoft won't be able to blacklist keys without having to deal with a major customer service nightmare. Already the Windows 7 "alternative activation discussion sites" are a buzz with this news and most are philosophical about it. Most just see this as a game of poker between them and Microsoft and they acknowledged that they showed their hand too soon.

Link to a Microsoft blog on this story:

Why an OEM build?
By CSMR on 7/29/2009 12:45:41 PM , Rating: 2
Why would you have one code for tens of millions of computers? This has been causing piracy problems for several releases. Why are they sticking with this strategy?

RE: Why an OEM build?
By tastyratz on 7/29/2009 1:29:38 PM , Rating: 5
Because as bad as pirates are for business... they are also very good. If someone is going to steal a piece of software people come to realize they are just going to steal it... You cant make any program pirate proof these days no matter how hard you try. The only thing you can do is make it more difficult and cumbersome to crack, as well as provide more benefits to legitimate customers.

If nobody could steal windows there would be a significantly lower userbase... Windows is probably the most pirated software around. If the cheap/low budget people weren't able to run a free copy of windows the real free alternative operating systems would start to take hold much more so. This keeps Linux at bay with a far lower adoption rate.

Its an ecosystem... and sometimes you have to lose money to make money - it's a smart move by Microsoft. Better market penetration makes for faster business adoption rates.

RE: Why an OEM build?
By bissimo on 7/29/2009 2:08:06 PM , Rating: 5
Agreed. Many software companies have had this viewpoint for years. Adobe is a good example. They never (to my knowledge) go after individuals using cracked copies of their software, only companies. They want to make sure that as many people as possible know how to use Flash, Photoshop, Illustrator, etc, so that the user base stays as large as possible.
If those people are later employed in positions where those skills are required, they will request Adobe's software and their company will pay for it, instead of paying for a learning curve with some other software.

RE: Why an OEM build?
By PARANOID365 on 7/29/09, Rating: -1
By mindless1 on 7/30/2009 11:54:43 PM , Rating: 2
Stop and think about this for a minute. China assumes a LOT of our national debt, sends us tons of junk that we buy, pretty much is in a position to tell us whether we'll let them pirate windows or not.

Government intervention is a naive idea. Won't work. Only way MS will get this problem solved, IF they actually cared to do it, would be to lock systems up tight instead of leaving the little holes and gaps that they CHOOSE to.

Surely it's obvious that MS, the creator of something as elaborate as the OS, could figure out a way to stop piracy. It's not in their best interests to do so, because they aren't about trying to force every last PC to have a tribute paid, they're about keeping windows so popular that no other OS gets a footing to pull users away.

Implement strong anti-piracy and by default you cause more people to abandon windows, especially in the orient. Their government is not going to force them to use windows so when you can't squeeze blood out of a turnip what you end up with is billions of people switching to a 2nd most popular OS - exactly what MS is wise to keep from happening as best they can.

By crystal clear on 7/31/2009 2:15:58 AM , Rating: 2
It's not in their best interests to do so, because they aren't about trying to force every last PC to have a tribute paid, they're about keeping windows so popular that no other OS gets a footing to pull users away.

they're about keeping windows so popular that no other OS gets a footing to pull users away

This excuse does not work/apply anymore as all them are using pirated versions of WinXP & are very satisfied,let it be a notebook/desktop/netbook .

Therefore there is NO urgency/need to use/switch over to the Win7.

So the no other O.S. you refer to, is in fact the WinXP of Microsoft & NOT linux.

WinXP is so popular that no other OS gets a footing to pull users away......

So now is the time to stop Win7 being pirated & keep them limited to/with the pirated WinXP.

So lets assume Microsoft does succeed in stoping piracy of Win7 & or succeeds to cut it down drastically,they (people)continue using the pirated WinXP as usual.

There is No fear of any other O.S. besides the WinXP will ever succeed in the piracy market.

So let the Win7 bring in the at the right time in the right place ...Asia/China etc.

Dont loose this opportunity...think greenbacks $$$$$$$

By crystal clear on 7/31/2009 2:34:02 AM , Rating: 2
what you end up with is billions of people switching to a 2nd most popular OS - exactly what MS is wise to keep from happening as best they can.

The 2nd most popular O.S. now will be the WinXP after Win7.

So you sacrifce one (WinXP pirated) to save the other (Win7 legal).

Time to get cunning/shrewd & become evil with them.

By crystal clear on 8/1/2009 7:27:12 AM , Rating: 2
The websites are often based in China, but use "" as part of their domain name, giving shoppers a false sense of security, they say.

It is thought that there could be as many as 480,000 websites which carry "", but which are not UK based.

The sites sell a range of goods from trainers to hair straighteners.

For £5, anyone can buy a "" domain name

Kill the key.
By Smilin on 7/29/2009 2:01:02 PM , Rating: 3
So I'm not sure how much of a big deal this truly is. It's not the first time a key has been leaked.

They'll just shut off the key. If it causes an inconvenience to an OEM becuase they have to build new images then the OEM should have been more careful with NDA information to begin with. End users will get individual keys so this won't matter to them.

This also shouldn't cause any delays to OEMs building and testing their images. They can go ahead and get their images designed and tested but when they go for the final rollout they'll just need to use whatever new key MSFT issues.

This story makes great headlines I'm sure but honestly there isn't much going on here.

RE: Kill the key.
By leexgx on 7/29/2009 6:39:06 PM , Rating: 2
not that easy you can get vista OEM update software that can make the system pre activated with 15 dif companies under one program

MS cant just Block the key as it may have been used on 100k of computers or more, the company that got the key revoked would get lots of support calls it would cost them a lot on money

RE: Kill the key.
By chick0n on 7/31/2009 11:12:21 AM , Rating: 2
Does it matter ?

The Comps not even released yet.

well sucks to be them but they should at least punish Lenovo for the leak in some way ...

For the love of...
By Dark Legion on 7/29/2009 3:18:21 PM , Rating: 3
whoever you worship...what is the key?!?!

100% security doesn't exist
By 13Gigatons on 7/29/2009 1:17:35 PM , Rating: 2
They can't really disable the key or technique because the pirates will just adapt.

PS: Don't worry Microsoft will make billions off of Windows 7!

All those laptops, desktops, servers, etc.

By Slaimus on 7/29/2009 2:20:43 PM , Rating: 2
The OEM version of Vista that Lenovo/Dell/HP uses has a check against another key in the BIOS. How come it does not use that method this time?

Why Pirate Windows?
By sapiens74 on 7/29/2009 2:52:46 PM , Rating: 2
As much as I loathe MS sometimes for its Desktop OS practices, Windows is worth paying for

If you complain how crappy the software is then pirate it.......

One Key to Rule them all
By sapiens74 on 7/29/2009 4:21:30 PM , Rating: 2
DRM doesn't work.....

Your OEM keys and VLK keys leak.

Then again, we bypassed Vista cause it needed a key server....

By Win7MasterKey on 7/30/2009 2:25:49 AM , Rating: 2
For The Love Of Free Computing

Win7MasterKey: 22TKD-f8XX6-YG69F-9M66d-PMJBM

By TomCorelis on 7/30/2009 5:28:07 PM , Rating: 2
Correct me if I'm wrong, but this sounds like someone got ahold of Microsoft's private signing key for authentication stuff? If activation follows a PKI scheme (I believe it does) then getting ahold of the private key is bad news indeed... if I am reading this correctly, what was leaked isn't a "master" product key but rather the secret code (aka private key) that Microsoft uses to digitally sign OEM activations. If that's out then that would indeed be bad...

I believe something similar happened with Apple... pirates somehow stole or figured out the private key used to generate iTunes store cards and are now generating bogus cards with it that authenticate for cash at iTunes.

Of course I'm just guessing and trying to read behind the lines here, I still have difficulty wrapping my head around the intracacies of asymmetric encryption....

Ruh Roh Raggy
By SiliconJon on 7/29/09, Rating: -1
RE: Ruh Roh Raggy
By Spivonious on 7/29/2009 12:49:42 PM , Rating: 5
Or they just give Lenovo a new key and disable this one.

Is $120 for a retail upgrade copy really that much? If it is then maybe you should find a better job or just be happy with the OS you have.

RE: Ruh Roh Raggy
By Brandon Hill on 7/29/2009 12:54:12 PM , Rating: 5
Exactly! And I scored two copies of Home Premium upgrade for $50 each from Amazon when Microsoft had that promo a few weeks ago. I originally planned to get one copy of business for myself and one copy of Home Premium for my wife, but decided that I could make do with Home Premium.

I mean seriously, why not pay for the software that is your base hub for all things computing?

RE: Ruh Roh Raggy
By murphyslabrat on 7/29/09, Rating: -1
RE: Ruh Roh Raggy
By Smilin on 7/29/2009 1:52:58 PM , Rating: 4
Those people should reevaluate their lives. If you can't afford food why did you buy a computer?

Just like that guy walking down the street with a $99/mo iphone while he doesn't own a car.

RE: Ruh Roh Raggy
By HrilL on 7/29/2009 6:18:08 PM , Rating: 3
Hey now. I'm that guy currently. Car cost more to get fixed than its worth so I can't drive it because it won't pass a smog check and I'm not going to move to a state where it would be legal to drive. No money for a new car yet though its building by the month and after losing my license for the past year it didn't have insurance so I can't use it for cash for clunkers either.

On another note I pay of the software I use. If you like it or use it then pay for it.

RE: Ruh Roh Raggy
By ertomas on 7/29/2009 6:23:39 PM , Rating: 3
Tell me about it.

I live in Venezuela (home of the fuC#%ng 21st century socialism) and I see people with 1500$ blackberry phones (yes, a BB bold goes for 1500 USD at the "official" currency exchange rate) with prepaid lines and no money to make a call..

Worst of all, the person carrying that phone works as a taxi driver with no future ahead (no pun intended)...

RE: Ruh Roh Raggy
By Brandon Hill on 7/29/2009 2:00:33 PM , Rating: 5
You can't afford food, but you can afford cable/DSL to download pirated software?

Sounds like someone has their priorities out of whack.

RE: Ruh Roh Raggy
By Souka on 7/29/09, Rating: -1
RE: Ruh Roh Raggy
By Spivonious on 7/29/2009 2:20:51 PM , Rating: 5
LOL! "have to"???? When did software and music become necessities?

Maybe those people should realize that having $8000 in credit card debt means that YOU DON'T HAVE ANY MONEY.

RE: Ruh Roh Raggy
By Smilin on 7/29/2009 6:24:37 PM , Rating: 3

Maybe those people should realize that having $8000 in credit card debt means that YOU DON'T HAVE ANY MONEY.

You got an LOL out of me.

RE: Ruh Roh Raggy
By cubby1223 on 7/29/2009 2:21:18 PM , Rating: 5
Perhaps if they'd go back to school and learn a skill instead of spending all their time downloading entertainment...

F'd up priorities in life is not an excuse for piracy.

RE: Ruh Roh Raggy
By Akrovah on 7/29/2009 5:17:57 PM , Rating: 2
While I agree that not being able to afford the price of admission does not give you a right to pirate things, and that anyone paying for internet who can't afford food needs to have thier priority examined, I'm not sure going to school is a good way to get rid of dedbt, as going to school generally increases debt. Even my wife, who had full financial aid through college, still had to get a signifigant portion of it through student loans, and now she is 15K in debt for going to school.

RE: Ruh Roh Raggy
By Kibbles on 7/29/2009 2:18:34 PM , Rating: 5
He could be leeching broadband from the neighbor too, while living in a vacant foreclosed house. Think of the savings! Pirates of the Suburbia.

RE: Ruh Roh Raggy
By ebakke on 7/29/2009 5:16:53 PM , Rating: 5
[excited to try out new weekend hobby!!]

RE: Ruh Roh Raggy
By kroker on 7/30/2009 1:38:03 AM , Rating: 5
As a matter of fact, yes, I would rather eat less than not have internet. And I bet most of the users of this site would do the same thing. It's easy to tell someone else that they can live without commodities without which you yourself couldn't live.

RE: Ruh Roh Raggy
By themaster08 on 7/30/2009 3:52:33 AM , Rating: 3
I would hate to be a child of yours.

RE: Ruh Roh Raggy
By mindless1 on 7/30/2009 11:57:45 PM , Rating: 2
Average US child might do well to eat a little bit less. Obesity doesn't just start after someone becomes an 18+ yo adult. Then again, a little less internet might not be bad either, if one can't go outside and play when they're a child, then when?

RE: Ruh Roh Raggy
By deeznuts on 7/30/2009 4:50:08 AM , Rating: 2
Brandon. They can use their friends computer ... :D

RE: Ruh Roh Raggy
By xti on 7/29/2009 4:47:18 PM , Rating: 4
you are at the point in life where its "food" versus "windows 7"? holy crap - what wrong turn did you take so i can avoid it!!

RE: Ruh Roh Raggy
By Flunk on 7/29/2009 11:50:06 PM , Rating: 2
Then those people can use Linux or FreeBSD.

RE: Ruh Roh Raggy
By themaster08 on 7/30/2009 3:54:25 AM , Rating: 3
But then how are they meant to play their library of pirated PC games?

RE: Ruh Roh Raggy
By invidious on 7/29/2009 2:22:58 PM , Rating: 3
I am very confused by the rationale behind these "update only" packages. Basically they are charging more to new customers, or more realistically, to people who currently have pirated versions of XP/Vista.

Anyone who has a pirated copy of an older OS isn't going to be willing to pay a higher rate than everyone else to get a valid win7. Especially not in this current climate of a new versions of the OS being leaked every week. If anything these people are exactly the ones Microsoft should be targetting with low introductary rates to convert them into real paying customers.

Ultimately M$'s money comes from the corporate sector with massive licencing and support fees. So I think they would do well from a publicity point of view to take a more consumer friendly approach to home edition, $50 should not be restricted to upgrades and should not be temporary.

RE: Ruh Roh Raggy
By ElFenix on 7/29/2009 4:09:19 PM , Rating: 3
$50 wasn't cheap enough?

RE: Ruh Roh Raggy
By Akrovah on 7/29/2009 5:23:23 PM , Rating: 3
That's not what he is saying, what he is saying is that $50 should be the permanent price, and not just for an upgrade but for the full retail install.

RE: Ruh Roh Raggy
By mforce on 7/29/2009 9:07:00 PM , Rating: 4
That's and easy one, just because you can. High speed internet is like 10$ here ( Romania ) and I can even get 3 MB/s.
I know I should pay for Windows, that's it's the right thing to do and so on but still I see Microsoft doing pretty well as it is. For me 150$ for Windows is a lot of money as I don't live in country where the jobs pay that well.
And you know what , if Microsoft goes bankrupt and disappears I won't cry. Honestly, Windows is nice because it supports all of that Windows software. Other then that it doesn't have any real value to me and I can just as well use Linux ( which I often do ).
You can downgrade me all you want I'm just being honest.
Oh and another thing , MS likes pirated copies of Windows, they'd rather you use that then switch to Linux or hacker OS X.

RE: Ruh Roh Raggy
By TomCorelis on 7/31/2009 2:43:38 PM , Rating: 2
Unless you're like me who found out the upgrade deal didn't apply to Windows 7 Ultimate :-( I happen to like my Vista Ultimate....

RE: Ruh Roh Raggy
By Zingam on 7/29/2009 3:46:45 PM , Rating: 3
Sometimes finding a better job means "emigration"... :)

RE: Ruh Roh Raggy
By SiliconJon on 7/29/2009 3:56:26 PM , Rating: 2
Not that I said (or even implied) $120 was too much for me, but I would argue $120+ for a Windows OS is too much for the market. Let's take a vague look at the supply & demand curve, elasticity, and the economies of scale of the situation.

Demand for operating systems is up, in bare numbers - and by that I mean there are more computer systems up and running every day, roughly. Each PC needs an OS. With every piece of compatible hardware on the market there's a sales opportunity for Microsoft. Creating demand for a new product requires that it both trump the customer's current product in quality and come at a cost to which the customer finds appropriate to the difference in perceived quality (actual quality difference is irrelevant).

In determining supply we rely on demand, or at least forecasting, with consideration of the economies of scale. But let us quickly discuss the effects of a higher supply. With a product like an operating system the distribution medium can be made dirt cheap (efficient optical retail packaging, or even online distribution – paper, shipping, and middle-men create a big hit though). The more product that is manufactured, the cheaper this medium becomes to a point, and I'm sure they can well surpass that point, so it’s probably irrelevant unless they manage to create such a low demand that they can’t reach this apex. However, much more relevant is the R&D, whose only limit to how low the cost per product sold can become is the very limit of possible products sold. Sell more products and the software R&D&M costs per unit sold will decrease directly with each and every additonal sale.

Even ignoring current market pains, the amount of possible customers and the accompanying economies of scale put current production costs for this software low – I would bet a per unit cost well below Windows XP initial launch days. Granted the R&D may be much higher given the larger size of Microsoft since then as well as a larger time difference between releases, this factor needs to be kept in check by the fact that the more units sold the cheaper this cost is per unit, directly and unlimitedly.

Also consider where the hardware market is when gauging the price of the operating system. Hardware is crazy cheap these days compared to XP launch days when adjusted for inflation. People are paying less for their computer consumables. Reducing price will increase demand which will utilize the economies of scale to reduce unit costs. Find the optimal profit margin point, likely a little on the short side to ensure the competition feels some pain, and maybe XP and Vista users’ money will flock the way of MS. Aim too high on the profit margin and watch the continued cost of legacy users eat away and operational costs while per unit costs of 7 soar due to lackluster sales.

Though on a personal note, I do also think $120 is too much for my personal budget as I do not see $120 worth the value in the purchase, so at that price point I will do just that: be happy with the operating system(s) I have. But at $50? Hell yeah - so my magical point is somewhere in between.

RE: Ruh Roh Raggy
By ice456789 on 7/29/2009 4:34:48 PM , Rating: 2
You can talk about supply, demand, and economies of scale all you want but without knowing the actual demand, and the actual variable costs of supply, and where the economies of scale lie you can't possibly have any idea what the best price would be for the product. All you know is your personal demand. I assert that the best price for the product would be $120, because Microsoft has determined that price using all the information at their disposal. It's not like they just picked a number out of thin air. You might be priced out of the market at that rate, but many people aren't.

R&D costs are sunk costs. If you want to talk about amortizing them then that's finance, not economics. But they would not figure into the supply equation. Only variable costs are important when considering supply. And economies of scale too are part of supply curve, not something to be considered outside of it. If you can create 1000 widgets for $1.00 then the next 1000 for $.90 then the only effect is to flatten the supply curve.

RE: Ruh Roh Raggy
By SiliconJon on 7/30/2009 3:01:02 PM , Rating: 2
While true their guys have plenty of brains and figures to out-whit me on the matter with no effort, their 1/2 price sales hints that their announced MSRP may be too high by their own figures, or maybe that's not even their intended MSRP as it could also be used to build the psychological case for a better "deal" when the MSRP is dropped if such were the plan, even if only as a contingency. Granted the sale makes for a great marketing launch regardless, so it’s not guaranteed a hint at a lower standard MSRP, just a possibility. The cost of hardware versus software in regards to an operating system is also another component to consider. With $400-500 systems easily accomplished it's hard to see an OS upgrade, or even installation, take such a high percentage of the cost, though this is Windows and the product substitutions are limited, if even available, for many users.

Proving me completely wrong will be as easy as waiting until Christmas to see if their OS prices do not drop.

RE: Ruh Roh Raggy
By themaster08 on 7/30/2009 4:53:30 AM , Rating: 2
Let's take a vague look at the supply & demand curve, elasticity, and the economies of scale of the situation.

Lets take a more realistic approach....

The price that Microsoft set is, in my opinion, nothing to get all flustered about. It's nothing that can be changed by pissing and moaning. However, having the money to pay for it is something that can be changed.

Windows OS's are released on average every 3-5 years. $120/3 years = $0.77 per week. You can find more than that on the floor of the street in a week.

But seriously, if you cannot afford to pay for something immediately, then you do something that is known as saving up. That, or get a better job.

A lot more people would be able to afford the things they want if they used their money more wisely.

I find it quite ridiculous that people manage to get themselves into debt for things that (if in retrospect, they had managed their finances more carefully) would be able to afford without getting themselves into such a mess. I've seen it happen so many times.

RE: Ruh Roh Raggy
By SiliconJon on 7/30/2009 3:15:21 PM , Rating: 2
What does poor financial management have to do with my statement, except as a factor in the overall economic condition (by most arguments)? Or perhaps the pirates' rationalization of their use of illegitimate products is what you’re referring to?

Bah, you're just throwing stones trying to make yourself feel bigger by implying I think the price is too high because I must be financially irresponsible. Rubbish. Though I am quite frugal, so any argument I can make that gets my bartered arrangement to a lower cost on my end works for me.

RE: Ruh Roh Raggy
By themaster08 on 7/30/2009 5:43:03 PM , Rating: 2
What does poor financial management have to do with my statement, except as a factor in the overall economic condition (by most arguments)? Or perhaps the pirates' rationalization of their use of illegitimate products is what you’re referring to?

My post is referring to both of the topics you mentioned. Not to anyone in particular.

Bah, you're just throwing stones trying to make yourself feel bigger by implying I think the price is too high because I must be financially irresponsible.

No, you're wrong. It was a generalisation, that Microsoft's OS's are very affordable if people go the right way around things. This wasn't a stab at you, although I apologise if my post seemed that way.

RE: Ruh Roh Raggy
By inighthawki on 7/29/2009 8:15:32 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think disabling a master key is such a wise idea. Not to mention that would mean that microsoft would be demanding them to provide additional production cost to reinstall a new key to every packages pc or disc that was already created. This would be a huge loss for OEMs especially considering that the OEM key will inevitably be leaked as soon as the first pc is purchased.

RE: Ruh Roh Raggy
By hiscross on 7/29/09, Rating: -1
RE: Ruh Roh Raggy
By xrodney on 7/30/2009 3:38:35 AM , Rating: 2
120$ maybe, unless you dont need Retail, because of changing HW components a lot but that will set you back 300$, and thats only if you are lucky american citizen.
I prety much remeber Vista costing less then 300$ when released, but UK got it for 400$ and in my country it was even almost 600$ (yeah double price of US and add that that salaries here are like 1/3 of those in US)

RE: Ruh Roh Raggy
By zzeoss on 7/30/2009 7:33:08 AM , Rating: 2
120$ has different value in different countries, but win7 price is the same!.
In my country it's not really afordable.

RE: Ruh Roh Raggy
By sebmel on 7/30/2009 11:23:32 AM , Rating: 2
It's worth making sure you understand the upgrade rules:

"In general, you can only upgrade your current version of Vista to the comparable version of Windows 7. For instance, Vista Home Premium can only be upgraded to Windows 7 Home Premium and Vista Business can only be upgraded to Windows 7 Professional. This rule has two exceptions. Any flavor of Vista except Starter can be upgraded to Windows 7 Ultimate, if you care to spend the extra money. And Vista Home Basic can be upgraded to Windows 7 Home Premium."

more here at the WSJ:

Also, if I understand correctly if you've got a Windows 32bit license (XP or Vista) you are stuck with 32bit Windows 7, unless you buy a full copy.

Do they produce this confusion just to encourage:
"Damn it, just give me the 'does everything' version!"

RE: Ruh Roh Raggy
By Golgatha on 7/29/09, Rating: -1
RE: Ruh Roh Raggy
By chick0n on 7/29/09, Rating: -1
RE: Ruh Roh Raggy
By petrosy on 7/29/09, Rating: 0
RE: Ruh Roh Raggy
By SiliconJon on 7/30/2009 10:56:18 AM , Rating: 1
The comprehension here is phenomenal on this matter. "up the price" - see that first word in the quotes?

Why a serial number?
By headbox on 7/29/09, Rating: -1
RE: Why a serial number?
By dr4gon on 7/29/2009 12:45:08 PM , Rating: 5
It also only works on a very limited pieces of hardware, what's your point?

RE: Why a serial number?
By mmntech on 7/29/09, Rating: -1
RE: Why a serial number?
By DEredita on 7/29/2009 12:56:56 PM , Rating: 5
While there is a community of people willing to spend the time and effort into building a Hackintosh, there are still a great deal more out there who couldn't be bothered.

RE: Why a serial number?
By rudy on 7/29/2009 1:36:35 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly and why would you? For the vast majority of people out there who may be interested rather then doing a hackintosh why not just install ubuntu or some flavor or linux you can even get a shell to make it like OSX if you wanted to. The people who are involved enough to do this usually a fully capable of getting a linux distro to do all they need. So unless you had some obscur software you had to run on OSX their is little point.

RE: Why a serial number?
By FITCamaro on 7/29/2009 12:52:24 PM , Rating: 2
FYI: Nor do people try to pirate it on the level that they do Windows.

RE: Why a serial number?
By Bender 123 on 7/29/2009 2:00:22 PM , Rating: 2
Why would they pirate Mac OS? If you are smart enough to pirate, you definitely don't need the "It just works" Genius help.

After all, the quote at the bottom of the page randomly says that MS would prefer people pirate their software over anybody elses. To MS its just adding to the install base and the pirate niche is not their bread and butter anyway. You try to stop them, but ultimately, you just try to limit the impact and wish them well.

RE: Why a serial number?
By Nobleman00 on 7/29/2009 4:35:17 PM , Rating: 5
So what you're saying is that even when they can get it for free, and run it on a PC, people don't want the mac OS.

RE: Why a serial number?
By Golgatha on 7/29/2009 12:53:26 PM , Rating: 5
Service packs to Microsoft OSes don't require them either. They're also free.

RE: Why a serial number?
By Brandon Hill on 7/29/2009 12:55:13 PM , Rating: 2
I must admit, that made me LOL.

RE: Why a serial number?
By KazenoKoe on 7/29/2009 1:48:55 PM , Rating: 1
But Win7 is not free, and does require a key.

RE: Why a serial number?
By thekdub on 7/29/2009 1:59:35 PM , Rating: 5
You will also be able to get Windows 7 with a whole computer (including keyboard, mouse, and screen) for $400. You'd have to spend at least $600 to get a copy of OS X with a computer, and that's without a keyboard, mouse/trackpad, or screen.

Which boils down to the fact that both have their pros and cons price-wise.

RE: Why a serial number?
By sapiens74 on 7/29/09, Rating: -1
RE: Why a serial number?
By MFK on 7/29/2009 3:05:15 PM , Rating: 4
$400 can buy a lot of computer these days.
It won't be a POS by any stretch of the word.

RE: Why a serial number?
By MFK on 7/29/2009 3:03:48 PM , Rating: 2
Give this man a 6. Please.

RE: Why a serial number?
By Smilin on 7/29/2009 3:17:51 PM , Rating: 2
+1 For deflating the Mac schmac.

RE: Why a serial number?
By foolsgambit11 on 7/29/2009 3:18:36 PM , Rating: 2
True, I could upgrade from OS X 10.5 to 10.6 using the same disc as a friend without any trouble. That would be nice if I had a Mac. Still illegal though (unless he sprung for the family upgrade edition).

OS X does require some authentication though - authentication that it is Mac hardware. Apple doesn't worry about piracy too much because they make a lot of their money selling hardware. The OS helps sell the Mac, just like iTunes helps sell the iPod. MS has to make all their money from software sales, though, so they have serial number authentication procedures to discourage piracy.

RE: Why a serial number?
By bldckstark on 7/30/2009 9:22:21 AM , Rating: 2
I certainly understand your point that for most people Itunes helps sell Ipods, but in my case Itunes is what stops me from buying an Ipod.

I would like to have an Ipod touch though, just to play with all the downloadable content. The Iphone to me just seems like a toy with a phone in it.

Like someone on DT posted before. Love the I, but hate the phone.

"When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." -- Sony BMG attorney Jennifer Pariser

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