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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 wallijonn on 7/5/2006 1:21:41 PM , Rating: 2
Quote: "xp is old already and about to be replaced so its understandable lots of people don't want to pay for it even that. "

Remember when MS said that it would soon no longer support WXP Home? Exactly what would BestBuy, CompUSA, CircuitCity, Staples, OfficeMax, Fry Electronics, et. al. now do with the machines in their stock? Would you buy the machine knowing that it would no longer be supported? Imagine Dell immediately increasing their prices by $100 to cover the WXP Professional install. You'd think people would just fork over another $100 without some assurances from Dell, IBM, HP, Gateway?

As for the "OEM" OSs, there is an OEM WXPP which will work on all machines and the ones which Dell, HP, IBM, Gateway, etc. bundle with their machines, the ones which come (???) with install CDs. ( A practice many got away from by installing the initial OS on a hard disk partition instead of supplying a CD.)

I bet you that a large percentage of the "hits" are people with Dells, HPs, etc. who are re-installing their OSs because of viruses, spyware, bad drivers, bad software, etc. All they have is that license COA and no install CD. For these cases you'll probably have to phone in for a key activation.

Me, I see WGA as a precursor to certificates (DRM), that once Vista comes out you will need an internet connection to verify its certificate keys (for the OS and all content (music and movies).) Ultimately there will be a certificate for each and every piece of software installed, there will be a certificate for each and every peiece of hardware installed, there will be a certificate for each and every driver installed, for each BIOS (firmware) installed.

WGA is nothing but DRM beta.

RE: Uh....
By Tyler 86 on 7/6/2006 8:44:49 PM , Rating: 3
WGA is nothing but DRM beta.

... and then the entire software world began the cruel and treacherous move to Linux and ReactOS, setting development cycles back decades ... for the unprepared.

The RIAA is just starting to realise there is a line.
I hope Microsoft realises there is a line.
Yeah, they know there's a line... probably.

They'll put their products just barely within reach, with just a little enough bullcrap packed in them, and dangle it infront of everyone. Same thing they're doing now.

RE: Uh....
By Armorize on 7/8/2006 2:01:19 AM , Rating: 2
I hope Microsoft realises there is a line. Yeah, they know there's a line... probably.

the problem is ms put that stupid line their in C language and their opening up visual studio to move it wherever they please, OH NOES!!

"People Don't Respect Confidentiality in This Industry" -- Sony Computer Entertainment of America President and CEO Jack Tretton
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