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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 Sureshot324 on 7/5/2006 12:14:53 PM , Rating: 2
If there was a competing OS that could run all Windows software and was a reasonably good OS, there's no way Microsoft could get away with charging what they do. The ratio of money they invest in developing Windows is tiny compared to the amount of money they make from it, which means another company could afford to make a much cheaper alternative, if this was possible. Microsoft is expoiting it's monopoly to charge us ridiculously high prices.


RE: Uh....
By masher2 (blog) on 7/5/2006 12:43:13 PM , Rating: 2
> "If there was a competing OS that could run all Windows software..."

There are competing OSes that run THEIR OWN software. That's the entire point.

There is so much Windows software because Microsoft spent billions to provide developers with tools, free SDKs, and other help to write that software. And they spent so much marketing, developing, and promoting Windows that developers had a high comfort level that they were writing for a product that would stand the test of time.

> "The ratio of money they invest in developing Windows is tiny compared to the amount of money they make from it, which means another company could afford to make a much cheaper alternative..."

If writing Windows is so cheap and easy...why has no one else done it? Many people have tried in fact to implement a binary-level compatibility with Windows. After spending many thousands of man-hours and achieving only limited compatibility with the simplest of Windows programs-- they realize there's a lot more to it than they first thought.

> "Microsoft is expoiting it's monopoly to charge us ridiculously high prices. "

Tell you what. You go write a Windows clone, charge half price for it, and I promise to buy a few hundred copies. You can get rich overnight.

But be warned-- if even a single Windows programs fails to run on it, I intend to sue for triple damages.


"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov

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