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Microsoft sheds a little more light on its WGA iniative

A recent blog by Ed Bott over at ZDNET has brought even more attention to Microsoft's Windows Genuine Authentication (WGA) which has been coming under increasing scrutiny and has even been the subject of a lawsuit. Computerworld and Ed Bott have been trying to get to the bottom of the whole WGA mystery and some of the issues being brought to the forefront are quite interesting.

Microsoft’s WGA utility, which is used on the Windows XP operating system to combat piracy, has been used in the past to validate OS installs so that users could download certain system updates as well as downloads like Internet Explorer 7.0 Beta and Windows Media Player 11. But while Microsoft sees WGA as a major ally in the fight against pirates, the utility has been pegging some innocent customers as having pirated copies of Windows XP. "80% of all WGA validation failures are due to unauthorized use of leaked or stolen volume license keys," said a Microsoft spokeswoman to Computerworld.

Ed Bott, not satisfied with this response from Microsoft, fired off his own inquiry into the reason for a 20% false positive rating for WGA and received this response from Cori Hartje, Director of Microsoft’s Genuine Software Initiative, "While we will don't have specifics to share on other forms counterfeit installations, they mostly result from activities such as various forms of tampering and unauthorized OEM installations."

It'd be nice if Microsoft would go into more detail on that other 20%, but that likely won't happen anytime soon. Microsoft is no longer accepting interviews on the WGA matter -- possibly due to the pending lawsuit.

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RE: Uh....
By rushfan2006 on 7/5/2006 10:58:05 AM , Rating: 2
I agree their prices are a bit high for licensing. However, trying to be logical and reasonable on both sides of the issue -- Microsoft's right in a Free Enterprise economy to operate a business AND my own feelings as a consumer on paying high prices for their product. Its very hard to not feel torn on the issue if you try to be fair to both sides.

I will say that the flat out argument of "well if they charged less people would pirate (steal less)" is immature at best and flat out absurd logic at worse.

If society held that logic in general, for all goods and services, it would be utter lawlessness and virtual anarchy in the streets.

You can't, legally, say "well I"m stealing your product if its not at a price *I* feel is acceptable for it". That's morally and ethically wrong. Not to mention just stupid logic.

Finally the problem with saying "a reasonable price" is that -- who's standard of "reasonable" do we use? Money, like many things is a very subjective thing. We all have different liabilities, different incomes, etc. -- what is cheap to you may be expensive to me, or vice-versa.

“Then they pop up and say ‘Hello, surprise! Give us your money or we will shut you down!' Screw them. Seriously, screw them. You can quote me on that.” -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng referencing patent trolls
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