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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: reality check
By plywood99 on 7/5/2006 6:34:38 PM , Rating: 2
It is not the pirates who are paying the price of piracy though, it is the legitimate customer. I'm a hardware enthusiast, always upgrading my ONE computer. After having to call MS and talking to someone from India or who knows where that I could barely understand to have my copy of XP validated. I've already decided I will not be upgrading to Vista when it comes out. When a legit customer is put through the ringer, then it's time to change os's.

I buy ALL my software and hate piracy, but MS and others are treating me like the pirate...

I am switching to Linux, slowly but surely. MS and many others are hurting the honest consumer, when it's the pirates they should be hurting. I agree it is their software and they can do whatever the LUA says, but I will no longer support them. When the honest consumer is given a fair hand I may return...


"If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else." -- Microsoft Business Group President Jeff Raikes

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