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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: Microsoft Drops Phone Home "Feature" Entirely
By masher2 on 7/5/2006 2:07:10 PM , Rating: 2
> "There are rumors that indicate that the WGA's accuracy is dangerously off..."

Relevant word highlighted.

> " People complaining about WGA declaring their copy not genuine when they believe it is..."

Most people don't understand OEM licensing, I agree.

> "if someone guesses your legit key and uses it to install their OS. "

No one is going to "just guess" an installation key. That's why they're so long...guessing a valid one is less likely than being struck by thousand times in a row.

By DigitalFreak on 7/5/2006 2:26:32 PM , Rating: 3
Dude, you are being quite the Microsoft shill today, aren't you?

RE: Microsoft Drops Phone Home "Feature" Entirely
By masher2 on 7/5/2006 2:34:07 PM , Rating: 2
"Dude", I'm shilling for capitalism, freedom, and free markets. Why not try it yourself sometime?

Personally, I could care less about Microsoft. The principle here is the important issue.

By mindless1 on 7/6/2006 2:56:50 AM , Rating: 2
You claim to be shilling for the free market?

That's either funny or you badly need some education. WGA wouldn't likely exist at all in a free market and certainly not be prone to accusations of piracy for purchased licenses. Remember, YOU can't argue away that 20% with random BS, it is already conceded to be erroneous by the source that wants to paint it in the best light possible.

By masher2 on 7/6/2006 11:48:31 AM , Rating: 3
> "WGA wouldn't likely exist at all in a free market..."

Where do you get such nonsense? I use a couple high-end software packages (costing $100K+/copy) in a market in which no company has anywhere near a 50% market share. Each of them is considerably more intrusive with their license validation than is WGA. One of them requires you to obtain a per-day usage key EVERY TIME you run the application.

> "YOU can't argue away that 20% with random BS, it is already conceded to be erroneous by the source...."

Oops, nothing of the sort. Reread the source article; you apparently misinterpreted it seriously.

By piroroadkill on 7/6/2006 6:24:36 AM , Rating: 2
You're a mindless prick.

The phrase is "couldn't care less".

"could care less" means you care about Microsoft, and you could care less, but are not.

RE: Microsoft Drops Phone Home "Feature" Entirely
By masher2 on 7/6/2006 11:41:12 AM , Rating: 4
> "You're a mindless prick...The phrase is "couldn't care less"."

Quite possibly so, but on this issue more educated than are you. According to the OED-- the definitive standard of the English language-- the phrase "could care less" is a colloqualism for "couldn't care less", and one that, in contempory English, is used considerably more often than the original.

Think before you post, son. You'll embarrass yourself less often.

RE: Microsoft Drops Phone Home "Feature" Entirely
By Tyler 86 on 7/6/2006 9:00:05 PM , Rating: 3
I could care less, but then I would be hating.

Don't turn it into personal shit, back to the topic at hand.

If Microsoft had an OS that had competitive support from developers, it would be a competitive OS.

If such an OS existed, Microsoft could not get away with WGA.
They would get dropped like a hot potatoe.
People could care less, but then they would be hating.

If Microsoft incorperates a trusted computing module, people will care less they could care - they would be hating.

Don't hate the player, hate the game.

Got game for life, son - yaeh yuh!

By Tyler 86 on 7/6/2006 9:01:20 PM , Rating: 2
^ potato.
^ trusted computing model.

By gtnbuckeye on 7/7/2006 9:34:16 AM , Rating: 2
Since Microsoft's licensing requires that the software key "sticker" be on the side of the PC (all OEM installs), someone only needs to see your PC to steal your license key. No guessing required.

It's funny how anyone would consider you a retard if you put a password on a post-it note on your PC, but an OEM license key needs to be there to be "legal".

"If you mod me down, I will become more insightful than you can possibly imagine." -- Slashdot
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