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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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Subscription/personal os
By ZmaxDP on 7/5/2006 2:11:03 PM , Rating: 2
My bet is that Microsoft will shuttle over to a subscription based OS soon enough. You will have a licensed copy that essentially goes anywhere you go. Log in and there you go. Hardware based licensing will still be required for businesses and other "always on" operation. (I'd still need a hardware license so that I can leave my computer on and logged in 24/7 for rendering and still use another) Home servers would also put a kink in things. Anyway, everyone seems to be big into the whole thumbdrive OS and Application thing, and getting almost any application functionality in a web-based service. Surely an OS will follow.

Ok, realistically "soon enough" is like 10 years at the rate Microsoft is putting out their OS now. Apple will likely do it in less than 5 and MS will be playing catch-up again. You can already get linux to do it off a thumbdrive, and I can't wait for someone to set up the first online OS. Not sure how it would work, but someone will figure it out soon enough. Of course, security will be the big problem, but it already is so what's new? Ahh, rambling now. I'll shut up.

"Nowadays, security guys break the Mac every single day. Every single day, they come out with a total exploit, your machine can be taken over totally. I dare anybody to do that once a month on the Windows machine." -- Bill Gates
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