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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 Trisped on 7/5/2006 1:48:40 PM , Rating: 2
If you actually look at other OSes, windows is a steal. At $100-150 for XP MCE and Pro OEM you get a highly tested and compatible OS. It is used by something around 90% of all PC users. Almost all commercial software runs on it. It comes with basic software like a media player and simple word processing (word pad and note pad). It has industry support, so you can ask a tech savvy friend for help or go to a store and pay a small fee to have the problem fixed. They provide standardized APIs like DirectX, they are backwards compatible (I hear that the x64 versions aren't very backwards compatible, but they still work). They have complete networking options.

Sure, many other OSes have these or similar, but with the exception of OSX from Apple, they all cost more or require more expensive support. They have very few applications compared to Windows and if you want tech support you have to pay more then it would cost to get a new PC with windows installed.

And don't talk to be about your Lindux or Fedora. They might be perfect for people that like to spend the time to figure things out on their own, but their options and usability reminds me more of DOS and Windows 3.0 then of a real OS.

"The whole principle [of censorship] is wrong. It's like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can't have steak." -- Robert Heinlein
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