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Microsoft Dodges Class Action In WGA Lawsuit

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the hire-your-own-lawyer dept.

The Courts 256

An anonymous reader writes "A lawsuit that accused Microsoft of misleading consumers to download and install an update for Windows Genuine Advantage under the guise that it was critical security update will go forward, but not as a class action. A federal judge has refused to certify the lawsuit as a class action, which would have meant that anyone who owned a Windows XP PC in mid-2006 could join the case without having to hire an attorney. As Windows XP was easily the most popular operating system at the time, the ruling means Redmond has managed to avoid hundreds of millions in potential damages."

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Thats fine by me... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30859300)

I never planned on using the corporate justice system anyway.

I used the consumer justice system... I pirated some of their software and then switched to Linux.

Re:Thats fine by me... (5, Insightful)

wall0159 (881759) | more than 4 years ago | (#30859670)

While switching to Linux is a punishment for MS - pirating their software is not - it merely entrenches their position.

Re:Thats fine by me... (2, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#30859808)

While switching to Linux is a punishment for MS - pirating their software is not

Of course it is.

Re:Thats fine by me... (2, Insightful)

just_another_sean (919159) | more than 4 years ago | (#30860228)

I don't think so. MS allowed rampant piracy for years. It wasn't until long after they were the king of the desktop that they suddenly became concerned with piracy. Allowing people to pirate their software, coupled with generous give-aways to developers via MSDN, is what gave them their control over more then 90% of user's computers.

Re:Thats fine by me... (1)

MistrBlank (1183469) | more than 4 years ago | (#30860478)

It further legitimizes the use of microsoft formats and standards, it does not punish microsoft.

 

Re:Thats fine by me... (2, Funny)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#30860574)

::begin shameless self plug::

Just like people "stealing" my music only helps me get more exposure! Oops, looks like I left links to a few tracks off my album without any payment method enforced...oh well.

http://www.livingwithanerd.com/music/ [livingwithanerd.com] ::end shameless self plug::

Re:Thats fine by me... (5, Informative)

qazwart (261667) | more than 4 years ago | (#30860196)

You actually have a point.

Back in the 1990s with the Microsoft antitrust case, many emails and discussions came out. One of the most interesting ones was Microsoft taking about their market position in China at that time. They talked about market share and how many people there were using Windows and Office and what they could do to improve this. The funny thing is they weren't talking about sales, but the number of people pirating their software. Microsoft wanted to encourage people in China to pirate more copies of Windows and Office.

Microsoft new the number of people who could actually afford their software in China at that time was low, but they also believed that one day China would crack down on the pirating and become a legitimate market. Microsoft thought their best position was to make sure everyone was using Microsoft products -- even if they were pirated -- because people would be use to them. Then once the government cracked down on pirating, Microsoft's sales would go through the roof.

Microsoft's biggest fear is that if people were discouraged from using pirated copies of Microsoft products, these people would turn to "open source alternatives" and would never become Microsoft customers.

Re:Thats fine by me... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30860376)

While switching to Linux is a punishment for MS - pirating their software is not - it merely entrenches their position.

Yes, but switching to Linux is also a punishment for me.

This is not intended to be flamebait. I prefer Linux on my servers, but I prefer Windows on my desktop. I know that around here that makes me deficient in some way, but it's true.

Re:Thats fine by me... (1, Informative)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#30860646)

I love having Linux on my Dell Mini 9, which stays in our living room. Watching TV/streaming Netflix and browsing the Internet on that little thing is awesome. Using Linux helps an underperforming device just feel snappier (plus I don't have to run anti-spyware, antivirus, etc which eat up precious CPU cycles)

I love it for my browsing purposes, but yeah I agree...I don't think I would want to use it for regular daily tasks.

Re:Thats fine by me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30859680)

Linux is my operating system.
Windows under virtualization is just an emulator. And I'm not paying $100+, or in fact anything at all for an emulator.

Re:Thats fine by me... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30860548)

Then you're a thief. Be honest about being a thief, don't try to make cute justifications for it like calling it an "emulator." Just say "I steal windows because I have no respect for other peoples' property." You'll feel better about yourself afterwards.

Re:Thats fine by me... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30860658)

I respect property, but not imaginary property.
Yes, I am a thief of imaginary property. So sue me.

Re:Thats fine by me... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30860730)

Why should she/he be honest about it?
Microsoft has a history of screwing their customers but you dont see Steve Balmer shouting "We abuse our monopoly position, vast resources and wealth to spread FUD and to lock-in and screw our customers".

I'm not saying it isn't theft but if a multi-billion dollar monopolist can lie about it, why cant everyone else?

You might like to feel superior because you're not pirating any software but I dont care and I also feel superior for not buying into
the copyright/IP bullshit.

Re:Thats fine by me... (1)

Asphalt (529464) | more than 4 years ago | (#30859686)

It also means that noone else is bound by the outcome, and is free to sue individually. If Microsoft loses the individual suit, you could potentially see 10,000,000 more individual suits using this case as a precedent for an easy win. That would cost MS significantly more money. Lack of class certification COULD be a disaster for Microsoft ... especially if they lose and the award is substantial.

Re:Thats fine by me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30859744)

Yeah it's a long shot but I am glad I finally found my real XP disc and box. Now I can prove I was effected by this terrible terrible lie.

Re:Thats fine by me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30860102)

Who is "Noone" and why are they bound by this outcome?

Re:Thats fine by me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30860578)

Who is "Noone" and why are they bound by this outcome?

He used to be the lead singer of Herman's Hermits [wikipedia.org] . For some reason all sorts of things get attributed to him around here.

Re:Thats fine by me... (1)

robinstar1574 (1472559) | more than 4 years ago | (#30860058)

Can you send me a copy?

Hundreds of millions (5, Insightful)

Spad (470073) | more than 4 years ago | (#30859344)

...the ruling means Redmond has managed to avoid hundreds of millions in potential damages

All of which would have gone to the lawyers.

Mod parent way the hell up, plz. (4, Insightful)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 4 years ago | (#30859414)

Seriously - we all know this. Every class-action against a tech company usually results in (at absolute best) a hundred bucks or so to each class-action participant, while the lawyer(s) leading the charge get to go buy a new yacht/house/jaguar/whatever with their take.

Re:Mod parent way the hell up, plz. (4, Informative)

rhook (943951) | more than 4 years ago | (#30859628)

It still ends up hurting the company and may make them think twice about using similar practices in the future.

Re:Mod parent way the hell up, plz. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30859824)

Does it though?
Even if a company gets fined 5 or 10 times what they made doing the bad deed will that really change anything?
Thats only if there is enough evidence, only if the judge has a clue and only if the company cant bury it with
all the usual tactics at the disposal of a company with hundreds of millions to spend on lawyers. Even if they
lose they appeal for years, ask the government to help protect their industry/monopoly or they'll have to fire
thousands of poor innocent employees.

Compare that to the recent copyright infringement cases where amounts are 10,000 times the value lost
against people who usually cant afford to mount a proper defence.

I dont see a class action lawsuit as any real kind of threat to a huge company.

Re:Mod parent way the hell up, plz. (2, Informative)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 4 years ago | (#30860302)

Seriously - we all know this. Every class-action against a tech company usually results in (at absolute best) a hundred bucks or so to each class-action participant, while the lawyer(s) leading the charge get to go buy a new yacht/house/jaguar/whatever with their take.

Yes. And?

In a lawsuit with 10,000,000 plaintiffs which pays out $1,000,000,000 dollars, how do you expect the distribution of the money to work out? Do you expect the lawyers to work for free? Or are you suggesting that the defendant should be fined 1 million-bliion-quazillion dollars so that EVERY plaintiff can go out and buy a yacht?

I'm not sure what point you were trying to make, or what your proposed solution is, so if you could clarify that for me I'd appreciate it.

Re:Mod parent way the hell up, plz. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30860664)

I don't mind the lawyers making money, but when they agree to give me coupons for products from a company that ripped me off, they shouldn't be paid.

Re:Mod parent way the hell up, plz. (1, Flamebait)

multisync (218450) | more than 4 years ago | (#30860736)

Every class-action against a tech company usually results in (at absolute best) a hundred bucks or so to each class-action participant, while the lawyer(s) leading the charge get to go buy a new yacht/house/jaguar/whatever with their take

They also take all of the risk, and do all of the work. If the suit is not successful, they lose. If they are successful, the participants get a token compensation, and - more importantly - the entity that was sued is punished, giving them an incentive to stop the behaviour that landed them in court in the first place.

Bashing lawyers is usually good for a couple of Insightful mods around here, but you might as well complain about those greedy medical doctors taking money for treating the sick, or - gasp - programmers or musicians or journalists wanting to be paid. If someone is willing to pay them for their services, why is that such a problem for you?

If you're so anti-lawyer, you can choose to not hire one and represent yourself in any litigation you participate in. And good luck with that, by the way.

Re:Mod parent way the hell up, plz. (0)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#30860824)

^^^More or less this.

My issue with most lawyers is the way they carry themselves, like they are all high and mighty. Granted, not all lawyers are like this (one of our closest friends is a lawyer), but many of them are.

I can't deny that they have a tought job, but they don't have to be such dicks about it.

Re:Hundreds of millions (1)

spikenerd (642677) | more than 4 years ago | (#30859624)

All of which would have gone to the lawyers.

Do you sue for the purpose of getting rich, or to make the world a better place? What's important here is that Microsoft should have been the one paying the lawyers. (For all I know, the lawyers probably get paid anyway by tax dollars through some legal loophole, and the judge gets a cut too.)

Re:Hundreds of millions (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30859956)

Do you sue for the purpose of getting rich

Seems like that happens a lot in America. Seriously, what's wrong with you people? Why do you have to sue so much?

Re:Hundreds of millions (1)

ebuck (585470) | more than 4 years ago | (#30860142)

I know it's flame-bait, but there's few alternatives to suing someone. Every alternative involves taking vigilante action (highly illegal) or letting someone take advantage of you.

Re:Hundreds of millions (0, Flamebait)

cmiller173 (641510) | more than 4 years ago | (#30860266)

Do you sue for the purpose of getting rich

Seems like that happens a lot in America. Seriously, what's wrong with you people? Why do you have to sue so much?

It's a liberalism thing. Liberal politicians have spent decades telling people that it is someone else's fault whatever the problem is. It's the rich bankers/oil companies/insurance companies etc. that are the cause of all your problems, you have no responsibility for your life.

So naturally if my computer does something wrong it's Microsoft's fault and I should sue them...

Re:Hundreds of millions (2, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#30860696)

So naturally if my computer does something wrong it's Microsoft's fault and I should sue them...

If Microsoft's own software identifies what you are running on your computer as an illegal copy even if it was legitimately bought and paid for, then yes it is Microsoft's fault.

Come on. We're talking about software here. Not everything requires petty political bullshit. Save it for HuffPost or Drudge Report; don't bring that malarky in here.

Re:Hundreds of millions (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30860556)

Do you sue for the purpose of getting rich, or to make the world a better place?

If you are a nigger you sue to "Get yours from the man!".

Re:Hundreds of millions (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#30860836)

Law firms initiate class action suits, by and large, to make money. Some of them also happen to contribute to the public good by punishing companies for bad behavior, but the core reason most class action suits go forward is because large law firms have found the formula (forgive the ./ meme):

1. Find an injustice or perceived injustice with enough victims to qualify as a "class".
2. Get a judge to certify it as a class action.
3. Win a judgment (or better yet convince the defendant company to settle)
4. Profit (usually about 1/4 to 1/3 of the total settlement)!

Basically, class action law firms are mostly comprised of ambulance chasers who decided the exhaust fumes were getting to them.

Re:Hundreds of millions (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#30859776)

I wouldn't care who it went to so long as it caused them to rethink their way of doing business.

Re:Hundreds of millions (1)

Funderburk (987472) | more than 4 years ago | (#30860260)

All of which would have gone to the lawyers.

Not all of it. Those involved would have received a shiny new coupon for $20 off MS Office ... Or a copy of Vista if they wanted to say "F#%& You!"

Re:Hundreds of millions (2, Interesting)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#30860834)

All of which would have gone to the lawyers.

Modded insightful? It's completely and utterly false, though. Ahh, slashdot.

good (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30859346)

They don't deserve being sued for this anyway. WGA enables other updates to be installed, it pretty much is a security update.

Re:good (5, Insightful)

adolf (21054) | more than 4 years ago | (#30859432)

WGA enables other updates to be installed, it pretty much is a security update.

Yeah, sure. It "enables" other updates to be installed, just like DRM protection "enables" movies to be watched.

The converse, however, seems far more true: WGA restricts other updates from being installed, just like DRM restricts movies from being watched.

There is no technical or security reason for WGA's existence. The "other updates" that it "enables" would work just fine without it, were they not arbitrarily designed to require WGA.

Re:good (4, Interesting)

GiveBenADollar (1722738) | more than 4 years ago | (#30859572)

What upsets me the most is that if I legally purchase windows for my computer I am limited on how much I can upgrade, but if I illegally pirate it I can actually treat it like I own a copy of the OS. The same is true with the excessive DRM on DVDs and Blu-ray. It doesn't stop people from pirating, it just punishes those of us who own legal copies.

Re:good (1)

gparent (1242548) | more than 4 years ago | (#30859720)

What upsets me the most is that if I legally purchase windows for my computer I am limited on how much I can upgrade,

No, you're not. People who legally purchase Windows are allowed all updates, and you can upgrade your computer as you wish. You may have to reactivate it.

Re:good (1)

GiveBenADollar (1722738) | more than 4 years ago | (#30859934)

Guess it pays to get the retail version vice the OEM. Lesson learned.

Re:good (1)

Anonymous Cowpat (788193) | more than 4 years ago | (#30860506)

I bought the OEM version retail (which you can do so long as you're buying hardware in the same transaction) and it reactivates fine. The limit is once every 6 weeks, apparently.

Re:good (2, Insightful)

giminy (94188) | more than 4 years ago | (#30859918)

What upsets me the most is that if I legally purchase windows for my computer I am limited on how much I can upgrade

Sadly you didn't purchase windows, you licensed it. Welcome to the world: intellectual property gets all the protection that physical property gets, with none of the 'disadvantages' (ability to loan, etc).

Re:good (3, Insightful)

uglyduckling (103926) | more than 4 years ago | (#30860040)

No... he purchased a copy of Windows, with a license to use it. That's where the sticking point is - just like when you purchase a book, the physical copy is your own, but that doesn't mean you have the right to read it out on the radio or adapt it as a screenplay.

Re:good (2, Insightful)

orasio (188021) | more than 4 years ago | (#30860460)

What upsets me the most is that if I legally purchase windows for my computer I am limited on how much I can upgrade

Sadly you didn't purchase windows, you licensed it. Welcome to the world: intellectual property gets all the protection that physical property gets, with none of the 'disadvantages' (ability to loan, etc).

Well, I don't know whether you are trying to make a point, or you actually believe what you are saying, but "intellectual property" is not something that can be compared to actual property. The concept of property has its origins on scarcity. Intellectual works are not scarce, so the concept of property has no meaning regarding them. "Intellectual property" is about monopoly rights over immaterial works, in this case, copyright. The only thing copyright and property have in common is that confusing term. There is no analogy to be made between property and copyrights, and doing so brings confusion like the GP, who thought he bought something, when he only paid for the right to run certain software under certain conditions. Much more like game tickets, only you have to play yourself in addition to paying.

Re:good (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#30860332)

You assume that these corporate whores give a rat's ass about their paying customers. In the old days, a business competed with other businesses for your dollar and had to care about you; new customers were valuable as there was a limited supply. These days of globalism there are seven billion prospective customers; there's more where you came from.

Re:good (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30859582)

It actually does enable because without WGA you can't get certain patches from Windows Update. Even on a brand new install of XP, if you choose not to install WGA, you're still not allowed to DL the updates that are restricted when you do DL WGA.

And saying WGA should be gone so you can pirate the OS easier is pretty god damn dumb. Why would pirates have free access to updates too?

Re:good (3, Interesting)

Karellen (104380) | more than 4 years ago | (#30860000)

Why would pirates have free access to updates too?

Because a insecure, compromised OS affects more people than just the owneruser of that OS. Unpatched pirated copies of Windows can be pwned and exploited to send spam, perform DDOS attacks, do distributed cracking of encryption keys, or whatever else the operator of a botnet chooses to do with it; actions that hurt all the users of the internet, including all the legitimate ones.

Patching pirated copies of Windows is in the public interest [networkworld.com]

Re:good (1, Troll)

indi0144 (1264518) | more than 4 years ago | (#30860248)

>> Why would pirates have free access to updates too?

To minimize the pool of botnet-ready machines connected to our internet? Thing that may or may not help you directly but is a good thing anyway. It does cost the same for MS to deliver 10 or 10000 patches.

WGA as any DRM it's broken by design, removing it was easy. Unlike Win 7 wich requires a bit more of struggle and is not 100% a sure shoot. In fact, I'd like to buy the copy of Win 7 just for the sake of not messing around with BIOS mods and the like, IF ONLY Win7 delivers something to improve my workflow.. but it is not, I'm more likely to switch to Linux and emulate Win and spend the money in buying compatible hardware. In the meanwhile my OEM XP license is not going anywhere. YMMV

Re:good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30859594)

While what you say is true, it doesn't follow that they can be successfully sued for deciding to ensure that only their actual customers can install patches (the purpose of the DRM). Just like folks don't sue Mozilla over the Awesome Bar (which I like, but it seems some folks incessantly whine about).

If a company implements a technical measure to ensure that updates are only able to be installed by their customers - so what?

Re:good (2, Interesting)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#30859644)

If Microsoft wants to claim and enforce a draconian EULA, they're effectively saying that by buying their software there's a contract between you and them, and as part of that contract they agree to provide any updates through the supported life of that product. In most businesses, the contracts are much more explicit.

By making a change like this which requires action on your part to continue receiving updates, they've made a substantial change to the contract, without renegotiating. Such unilateral changes to contracts are normally frowned upon by the courts.

Re:good (1)

uglyduckling (103926) | more than 4 years ago | (#30860066)

So, it's an invasion of privacy to have your computer regularly sending information back to Microsoft about where you are (they know the IP address at least and the time, so can work it out pretty well), what hardware you have etc.. I know you're trolling, but there's other ways Microsoft could ensure only their customers can install patches, for instance the 'genuine advantage' software could run only when you want to download a patch - with a clear warning stating that information will be sent to Microsoft.

Re:good (1)

Inda (580031) | more than 4 years ago | (#30859766)

What's the problem? I had no problems with WGA on my pirated copy of XP and I was able to get the Windows updates just fine. :p

Re:good (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 4 years ago | (#30860364)

Yep. I've seen dozens of people running pirated copies of XP, all with WGA installed and humming happily to itself. As usual, the ones most harmed by this measure are those who aren't doing anything wrong.

Re:good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30860632)

It's people like you that are the reason the rest of us have problems with WGA. Go suck a cock.

If you can dodge a class action lawsuit... (5, Funny)

Barefoot Monkey (1657313) | more than 4 years ago | (#30859386)

If you can dodge a class action lawsuit, you can dodge a ball.

Re:If you can dodge a class action lawsuit... (5, Funny)

Spazztastic (814296) | more than 4 years ago | (#30859496)

If you can dodge a class action lawsuit, you can dodge a chair.

Fixed that for you.

Re:If you can dodge a class action lawsuit... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30859608)

If you can dodge a class action lawsuit, you can dodge a car.

Fixed that for you.

Fixed that for you.

Re:If you can dodge a class action lawsuit... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30859672)

That's not fair, Microsoft is probably the only one with that much muscle, and you go replacing the balls in dodgeball to chairs?!?!

Re:If you can dodge a class action lawsuit... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30859752)

What the fuck is that supposed to mean?

Re:If you can dodge a class action lawsuit... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30860762)

It's a play on a quote from the movie Dodgeball. [imdb.com]

Re:If you can dodge a class action lawsuit... (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 4 years ago | (#30859758)

No, Bill. I'm trying to tell you that when you're ready, you won't have to dodge lawsuits.

Re:If you can dodge a class action lawsuit... (0, Redundant)

PhxBlue (562201) | more than 4 years ago | (#30860080)

If you can dodge a class action lawsuit, you can dodge a ball.

But can you dodge a chair?

Who cares whether it's class action? (4, Insightful)

SirGarlon (845873) | more than 4 years ago | (#30859396)

By the time the settlement or judgment is made -- assuming Microsoft doesn't go to trial and win -- the damages would probably amount to a few bucks per end-user anyway. It's the injunctive relief that matters IMHO. Microsoft should be forced to comply with anti-spyware laws. That can potentially happen whether the suit is class action or not.

Re:Who cares whether it's class action? (2, Interesting)

dnoyeb (547705) | more than 4 years ago | (#30859558)

The plaintiffs will probably get a LOT more payout since its not class action.

Re:Who cares whether it's class action? (2, Insightful)

Asphalt (529464) | more than 4 years ago | (#30859742)

By the time the settlement or judgment is made -- assuming Microsoft doesn't go to trial and win -- the damages would probably amount to a few bucks per end-user anyway.

This is why large companies often preferclass action suits over individual suits.

Class action suits mean that, if the company loses, they never have to litigate over the matter again.

If they lose an individual suit, every consumer on the planet is free to chase the same reward the original litigant won, and they are not bound by any $5 off coupon settlements.

Meaningless penalties (4, Insightful)

toby (759) | more than 4 years ago | (#30859440)

As in the patent infringement case - even "several hundred million" is only a couple of days' revenue, assuming the crooked bastards lost.

Penalties against Microsoft do not change their behaviour.

I can see that (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | more than 4 years ago | (#30859452)

I can see why they would tell a customer that the Windows Gen app was a security update. To a lot of users they just know that if they download a "high" priority update they will be protected.

Take my mom for instance, her entire computer knowledge equates to if I double click the blue E icon Google appears and then I can youtube. So then only way she would know that she should get an update like Windows Gen is if it was declared high priority and had the word security attached.

This lawsuit is fair but I agree that it should not be class action.

"In closing, your Honor..." (5, Insightful)

the roAm (827323) | more than 4 years ago | (#30859460)

"This was indeed a critical security update. An update to secure the legitimacy of the software which we support."

Then the judge rules in favor of Microsoft.
The end.

Re:"In closing, your Honor..." (3, Funny)

the roAm (827323) | more than 4 years ago | (#30859498)

I've been modded funny? I'm dead serious. This is how the American legal system works. Been to court in the last 10 years? Obviously not.

Re:"In closing, your Honor..." (3, Funny)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#30860104)

If said the right way, anything can be funny no matter how insightful. Your comment was modded up and thus visible, and unless you're a karma whore that's all that matters.

Re:"In closing, your Honor..." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30859710)

Apparently, we were thinking alike.
I was about to post something in a similar vein.

It is accurate.

Microsoft was simply seeking to secure their product by adding something to check if it is a good, untampered copy of the operating system. They could probably have done it a little better, since I did hear the stories of people with good copies of XP being told their copies are not genuine.

However, if Microsoft had not taken that action, would it be seen as Microsoft is not trying to protect their brand (I know there is fancy english word or two for letting people blatantly knock the product off, with almost identical copy, and only a minor change in look)?

$5 million for how many users? (4, Informative)

ThreeGigs (239452) | more than 4 years ago | (#30859478)

How about original linkage? : http://www.electronista.com/articles/09/09/04/microsoft.sued.over.wga [electronista.com]
The lawsuit is for $5 million for the whole class. You do the math and tell me if this is to benefit the lawyers or the end users. This isn't about MS, it's about lawyers making money. I have a feeling there will be a lot of misplaced outrage in these comments.

Also, it was a high priority update, _not_ a critical security update. Inflammatory summaries again.

Re:$5 million for how many users? (4, Funny)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 4 years ago | (#30860002)

Relax, we have plenty of rage for both Microsoft and lawyers. No one needs to go without.

Re:$5 million for how many users? (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 4 years ago | (#30860468)

You do the math and tell me if this is to benefit the lawyers or the end users.

I hate to tell you this, but lawyers use MS software too.

What's the issue? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30859488)

How many of the people that were to join the class action suit would have had legitimate copies of XP flagged as illegitimate? I know very few people that had this happen. A few corporations had their volume keys flagged as such, but if the admin was doing things properly, they would have denied the update through group policy (or some other patch management).

For all the individual users - I remember coming across a few who decided to let their beliefs be known at a few functions I attended. They were up in arms over this, how it removed their background, and had a nuisance box pop up on the system tray. I asked if they bought the copy - they said no. So, WTF is the problem? You steal something, then get upset, when you get caught? Be happy, nothing really happens when you get caught. MS is basically saying "we know you pirated this, but no worries, just buy a copy now, we won't tell, we won't take you to court, we won't send Jimmy to break your legs."

Now, we can all be pro-linux, pro-mac, pro-whatever, but the bottom line is, Windows costs money, and like any other company, MS has to make money to continue making Windows, etc. Now, they may be charging TOO MUCH, but this is a case for a monopoly. Just because all the oil makers are in cahoots, doesn't mean we can steal gas because we feel because it is a monopoly their prices are too high. And to jab the Apply fanboys - Apple releases OS updates YEARLY for $130. MS fanboys have had the pleasure of paying $200 retail (or $140 OEM w/ a mouse or stick of ram, or anything else cheap), for 5 years. I bet if MS released OS updates every year for $130, everyone would be up in arms, but when Apple adds a program like Notepad to it's OS, they repackage it, and call it something cute. I'm waiting for Apple Liger (it comes with a new theme!!!!!!!!!).

So, back to reality, if you stole Windows, expect the genuine advantage to show up. And I love it, you know why? Because I'm a legitimate sysadmin, and when I load on Windows XP, Server, or even Linux (Redhat, or another one with support) I purchase the program, and make sure my clients are fully licenced. I have to compete with people who steal software and sell computers with pirated versions. The client usually does not know the difference, until the genuine advantage shows up - and I love this, because it weeds out the PC makers that are cutting corners and pocketing the extra money. The client gets pissed, then the PC maker ends up getting in trouble.

Re:What's the issue? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30859782)

if you stole Windows, expect the genuine advantage to show up .. I love this, because it weeds out the PC makers that are cutting corners and pocketing the extra money

Do you have any hard evidence that WGA only shows up on pirated Windows or that PC makers are cutting corners. And regardless, WGA phoning home with details of what's on my PC is a breach of privacy laws.

To remind you of what the case is about ..

'Microsoft this week was sued in a Washington district court for allegedly violating privacy laws [arstechnica.com] through Windows XP's Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) copy protection scheme. Similar to cases filed in 2006, the new class action case accuses Microsoft of falsely representing what information WGA would send to verify the authenticity of Windows and that it would send back information [daily IP address and other details that could be used to trace information back to a home or user]. The complaint further argued that Microsoft portrayed WGA as a necessary security update rather than acknowledge its copy protection nature in the update

Re:What's the issue? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30860070)

they didn't miss inform any body. they clearly stated that if you didn't install WGA you would not be able to get necessary security updates. they never said that WGA was an necessary security update.

Re:What's the issue? (1)

Anonymous Cowpat (788193) | more than 4 years ago | (#30860624)

ah, because 'necessary update for security' and 'necessary security update' mean such different things, and don't both boil down to "you need to install this to keep your computer secure"

Re:What's the issue? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30859922)

Microsoft's right to only support their legitimately-purchased products does not entitle them to mislead their (legitimate) customers. MS's war on those who stole windows is fine with me, if they just avoid collateral damage.

I realize that this particular lie didn't cause all that much damage. Maybe a few thousand people had to put in a few more hours to make sure the 'critical' patch didn't break their company's setup. It's a matter of principle, however - if we allow Microsoft to get away with this, what's to keep them from doing more damage with other lies in the name of fighting piracy?

I'm not defending those who stole Windows - honestly, I'd rather they just switch to a legal free-as-in-beer (and preferably free-as-in-speech) OS. I'm defending the legitimate customers that Microsoft chose to deliberately lie too, both past and future.

Re:What's the issue? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30860008)

if you stole Windows, expect the genuine advantage to show up.

      I "stole" windows, and it never shows up. Then again, I have auto updates disabled.

      Oh, and I do have legitimate copies of Microsoft software lying around, since MS DOS 2.odd. However Microsoft feels it can enforce a "per CPU" license agreement on individual users. I disagree. I also disagree to be bound by their agreement by opening the package. So there. Up to them to enforce it. Good luck with that.

Re:What's the issue? (2, Insightful)

infinitelink (963279) | more than 4 years ago | (#30860014)

Your comment is a perfect example of being off-topic; as such, it functions as a diversion from the real matter at hand--the illegal installation of malware onto many computers, breaching privacy laws, and worse, under guise as an update, rather than something new altogether; this ain't no Mac vs. Lin vs. Win issue, and your mind's immediate jump to such things as those, and "piracy", is a perfect example of how unfortunately stupid people are these days--too quick to speak; I want to be fair, however, I'm an idiot too: I do it too much too, but I'm trying not to; I say this in friendly encouragement--shut-up more often. Speaking of speaking out of ignorance: WGA installs on all computers running Windows, "pirated" (ahem, stolen, not pirated--there is a legal difference) or legit, and it does indeed flag legit installs, even proper installs, for whatever reasons unknown: too often; I've heard reports that it sometimes flags machines even after having "validating" them already once before. The thing is, Microsoft has no legal rights to validate any computer, period: even if someone has breached copyright by installing an illegit duplicate: there are no legal means for them to create effective enforcement mechanisms outside of going through court: seriously. SERIOUSLY. Just because software is dynamic instead of static, does not mean those who make it may begin to become their own legal enforcers, judges, etc.. This is a serious trespass on authority, just as are so many other things (use licenses overriding secured rights, etc.) these days: so much arrogance--even more when the Microsofty types decide they'll pay what it takes to have laws written for them, pragmatic rather than concerned with just government. I can't say it's just Microsoft, though. It's like the lawyers pissed about the "residual overhang of physicality", who want laws to ensure they and clients can continue extracting protection money for "IP" without continuing to make real product: those laws are set-up to be just, not subjugate justice to profit; it's like the lower courts' and patent offices ignoring the Supreme Court's caution that the case reviewed regarding a patent which included a piece of software in a physical transformation does not mean software is patentable: all this patent litigation over software is illegitimate, unauthorized, i.e. illegal, but the unauthorized "authorities" have been using power they are not given for enforcement nonetheless; it's like the congress, president, executive staff, political parties (both major ones), etc., making laws federally they are not authorized even to debate in session--which some of the more open scumbags (who were actually open about being scumbags) have dared repeatedly say in session in congress, and to the public: and here we get to the point where a bunch of jerk offs who want this or that with society, this way vs. their way vs. his way, cry "but but but" without any real deference or regard for "rule of law", which has been of late bandied about too often by those who so often trample it. Sheesh. e whole case is rather about

And YOUR comment... (3, Insightful)

Petersko (564140) | more than 4 years ago | (#30860198)

"Your comment is a perfect example of being off-topic;"

And your comment is a perfect example of being too exhausting to read. I'm sure you had a good point, but I saw that huge block of unbroken text and thought, "no thanks".

Yes, I'm being pedantic, but the "enter" key can be a trusted ally and an aid to communication. Use it wisely.

Re:And YOUR comment... (2, Insightful)

idontgno (624372) | more than 4 years ago | (#30860582)

tl;dr

Re:What's the issue? (3, Informative)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 4 years ago | (#30860030)

How many of the people that were to join the class action suit would have had legitimate copies of XP flagged as illegitimate? I know very few people that had this happen. A few corporations had their volume keys flagged as such, but if the admin was doing things properly, they would have denied the update through group policy (or some other patch management).

Somewhat OT, but every time my Win7 computer wakes up from suspend, it tells me that it may be pirated (it's not) and blocks me from t downloading any optional updates. Mine was a simple upgrade from Win Vista (which came with the laptop) to Win 7 (upgrade disk provided by the manufacturer), and yet I'm still told that it's not legit. I have no trouble believing that legit XP installs have their fair share of this with WGA.

Re:What's the issue? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30860552)

Somewhat OT, but every time my Win7 computer wakes up from suspend, it tells me that it may be pirated (it's not) and blocks me from t downloading any optional updates.

Funny, every time my Win7 computer wakes up from suspend, it doesn't tell me that it may be pirated (it is) and doesn't blocks me from downloading any optional updates. Maybe you should do what I did?

Not $130 (0, Troll)

btaylor (1066810) | more than 4 years ago | (#30860160)

Apple doesn't necessarily release its updates for $130 a pop. Snow Leopard [apple.com] was released as a $29 upgrade.

Re:What's the issue? (0, Troll)

EXrider (756168) | more than 4 years ago | (#30860208)

And to jab the Apply fanboys - Apple releases OS updates YEARLY for $130.

Wrong, Apple stopped doing yearly OS updates once their OS finally reached general usability, which was version 10.3 (back in '03). Anyways, they've been supporting their most recent OS releases for at least 4 years, you don't have to upgrade Mac OS soon as it comes out, just like you don't have to upgrade Windows as soon as a new release comes out.

I bet if MS released OS updates every year for $130, everyone would be up in arms, but when Apple adds a program like Notepad to it's OS, they repackage it, and call it something cute. I'm waiting for Apple Liger (it comes with a new theme!!!!!!!!!).

If you were an admin that had actually supported some Macs, you'd realize that there are always un-advertised features in those OS releases that actually make your job as an admin easier. Additionally, based on that comment, I can tell you've never actually used Mac OS X for any length of time. By the way, 10.6 is offered as an upgrade for merely $30 and it doesn't come with any new eye candy, just underlying OS refinements that make Active Directory and Exchange integration work better, and memory and disk footprints smaller.

Because I'm a legitimate sysadmin, and when I load on Windows XP, Server, or even Linux (Redhat, or another one with support) I purchase the program, and make sure my clients are fully licenced.

Well then, you've had the fortune to only deal with companies that pony up the cash for volume licenses then. When you work for a company that only buys OEM licenses, WGA makes things that you take for granted as an admin, hell. Disaster recovery, Terminal Services, system images and virtualization all become a pain in the ass or even impossible to practically implement thanks to WGA.

Re:What's the issue? (4, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#30860214)

Rape isn't murder, it's rape. Copyright infringement is not stealing; it's copyright infringement.

If you download a copy of XP, that infringes Microsoft's copyright. Microsoft has not been deprived of property any more than the rape victim has been deprived of life.

If you walk out of Best Buy with a copy of XP without paying, you have indeed stolen it, and Best Buy is out the cost of the software they bought from Microsoft.

Come on, guys, this is a technical forum. Lets be a little more precice, can we?

Frivolous lawsuit (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30859514)

Managed to "dodge"? This is the classic definition of a frivolous lawsuit. this is not a compliance lawsuit. There is no injuctive relief. This is a perceived slight by litigous individuals. Why didn't the entire case get thrown out altogether?

TWAT (5, Funny)

SpockLogic (1256972) | more than 4 years ago | (#30859518)

WGA renamed for Vista and 7 as "The Windows Activation Technologies (TWAT)" Your Honor, I rest my case.

Re:TWAT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30859966)

And who doesn't love twat?

Don't answer that. :)

Re:TWAT (2, Funny)

copponex (13876) | more than 4 years ago | (#30860128)

Catholic priests and publicly homophobic senators?

Damn. Couldn't help myself.

Re:TWAT (4, Funny)

Spazztastic (814296) | more than 4 years ago | (#30860120)

WGA renamed for Vista and 7 as "The Windows Activation Technologies (TWAT)"

Your Honor, I rest my case.

I made a guild in World of Warcraft called T W A T, The War Against Terrorism. Anybody who objected to the name was called a terrorist, including the GM who contacted me about it. It didn't end very well...

Denial of class != ruling on merits (5, Informative)

xymog (59935) | more than 4 years ago | (#30859826)

The problem with the case is that plaintiff's' attorneys have failed to meet the legal requirements to certify the lawsuit as a class action. The initial pleading has been repeatedly amended to add and drop plaintiffs, while at the same time it is not able to advance coherent legal arguments backed by evidence. Courts will not certify a lawsuit as a class action based on wishful thinking. The courts require prima facie evidence that the issue is widespread, that many people are harmed, and that judicial economy will be best served by having a single lawsuit. This isn't a "win" for Microsoft or a "loss" for the common man; plaintiffs' attorneys haven't done their homework and met the burden of proof for certifying the class.

Halfway install (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30860112)

I have an older computer that while in a hurry allowed the WGA to start to install. I wanted to cancel that installation but now was unable. Every time I boot it asked to continue with the install and I cancel out of it. Does anyone know if I will have the option to de-install that feature once it is installed? Or a way to remove the partial installation?

WGA was the final straw for me (3, Interesting)

blankoboy (719577) | more than 4 years ago | (#30860300)

I have to say that WGA was really the final straw for me with Microsoft. I, being a paying customer, felt from day 1 of WGA that it was an absolute kick in the teeth from Microsoft. It is what turned me from a Microsoft fan over to using my Mac Mini. It was a sad thing for me but I'm much happier now and will never come back. Thanks for turning me away Microsoft!

Re:WGA was the final straw for me (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30860780)

Oh no, what will they do without the support of blankoboy.

This may have worked out in MS's favor. (1)

kellyb9 (954229) | more than 4 years ago | (#30860362)

Whoever refuses to join the class action lawsuit has illegal copies on Windows!
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