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Microsoft Just Wants a Little Look

michael posted more than 9 years ago | from the won't-hurt-a-bit dept.

Microsoft 482

waynegoode writes "Do you want to let Microsoft check if your copy of Windows is legit? How about if they promise it's anonymous? How about if they give you some free stuff? Recently Microsoft launched their Genuine Advantage Program to let you (and Microsoft) check if your OS is legal. They hoped for 20,000 responses but received 800,000 without offering anything but piece of mind. Now they are throwing in a bunch of free and discounted stuff including Photo Story 3 and the Holiday Fun Pack to try to get more volunteers. Read more at news.com and Microsoft Watch."

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wee (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10670763)

2nd first post drunk

Stupid. (3, Insightful)

irc.goatse.cx troll (593289) | more than 9 years ago | (#10670764)

If I pirated windows, why wouldn't I pirate this too?
If anything, give away a tshirt or a hat or some other convention junk.

Re:You don't understand (5, Insightful)

Barlo_Mung_42 (411228) | more than 9 years ago | (#10670849)

This isn't aimed at those who know they aren't legit. This is targeted to those who purchase a PC from some 3rd rate shop and want to check that the cd they were given is authentic.

Re:You don't understand (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10670945)

hmm.

i'm sure the brilliant minds at microsoft have devised/gleemed all sorts of angles on how this information might help them.

somehow, i doubt 3rd rate shops even rank in the top 10.

Re:You don't understand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10670977)

ok..!

Re:You don't understand (4, Interesting)

dubbreak (623656) | more than 9 years ago | (#10670973)

exactly. However much MS would like to run down every joe schmoe with a pirated copy of windows (3.11 through 2003 server) they are more likely to be going after companies that sell computers with non-legit copies of winXP.

I wonder how many stores are selling computers with xp corp. and generated keys just so they can undercut the competition or make an extra buck?

As for the free software.. no one was going to buy it anyhow, so why not give it out as a perk? I think my parents might be getting some legitimate crappy photo software this week, for free.

Re:Stupid. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10670959)

ok!

Wow... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10670765)

Perhaps the RIAA should take some pointers from these guys? hehee

piece of mind (4, Funny)

addaon (41825) | more than 9 years ago | (#10670767)

Ewww... does it at least come in a plastic baggie?

Re:piece of mind (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10670932)

Or, as Duke Nukem would say, "Rest in pieces".

Re:piece of mind (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10670985)

o.k....!

THE SLEEPING PRINCESS IS ALIVE!!!!!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10670772)

SHE'S BACK!! [ilovebees.com] She's okay!! omg I'm so happy!! Also, the coordinates [ilovebees.com] for Sunday's broadcast have been posted, and as always you can find them in human-readable format [theblackforge.net] . If there's an axon anywhere near you, you MUST make Sunday's rendezvous because this could be your last chance. Melissa and the Princess may be leaving us. All we know is that something huge is going to happen. REMEMBER TO CHANGE YOUR CLOCKS FOR DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME SO YOU DON'T MISS THE RENDEZVOUS; MELISSA WOULD NOT APPROVE OF BEING AN HOUR LATE.

Re:THE SLEEPING PRINCESS IS ALIVE!!!!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10670970)

ok

Sure! (4, Funny)

arose (644256) | more than 9 years ago | (#10670773)

Thay can check out my Debian!

Re:Sure! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10670892)

Nobody checks out Debian.

Re:Sure! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10670903)

I know my copy of Windows XP is legit, I bought in a backalley in Malaysia. I didn't get the manual though?

Re:Sure! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10670953)

Danm, ya beat me to it. I would let them check my Fedora Core 2 and see that the kernel is up to date. I wonder if they would still send the schwag or if they would get sour and say 'only our operating systems'.

Let them pester people to look... (4, Interesting)

Famatra (669740) | more than 9 years ago | (#10670774)

...then will come harassment and demands to look and that will just drive people away from Windows towards Linux.

Bullying people into buying a $15 CD might work, but $200 is a lot more, esp. when there are alternatives.

Seek, Behold, Reveal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10670777)

Seek the truth
Behold the truth
Reveal the truth
That is the law and the whole of the law

incentives (4, Funny)

DeusExMalex (776652) | more than 9 years ago | (#10670778)

so as a reward for using their crappy software, they give us more crappy software?

no thanks - i'll stick to open-source goodness.

Re:incentives (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10670905)

Has anyone ever defined the term 'irony' for you?

Why are they doing this? (2, Interesting)

chrispyman (710460) | more than 9 years ago | (#10670779)

Windows Update refuses to work if you're using a pirated Windows XP CD Key, so why would giving you free stuff be that big of a controvercy? It's not like they're telling you that you can't visit their site unless you do this.

Re:Why are they doing this? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10670814)

Actually thats only if you are using the fckgw key or whatever... I can use windows update however I didnt pay for windows.. shhh.

Re:Why are they doing this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10670864)

It's actually only if you are using the top 10 or 15 pirated corporate keys. The keys designed for same use over an entire corporations. And that fckgw is Devils Own.

Re:Why are they doing this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10670817)

Thats funny, I use visit it daily with my dodgey CD Key. But, it is their fault... thats what they get for slapping my Windows installation disc on my FUCKING HDD that came with thise computer... It was a 5,400RPM, as if I could use it for anything. And, the legit key is on the side of the machine, but the Windows setup won't take it -- so Piracy, here I come.

Re:Why are they doing this? (4, Insightful)

Peyna (14792) | more than 9 years ago | (#10670879)

You should have contacted your manufacturer and demand they send you a proper CD Key for your computer; obviously this is a quality issue at their factory (wrong CD Key with install). Also, they will usually ship you a set of CDs if you request them, at no charge. Just convince them the partition holding the HDD Image is corrupt if they give you crap.

Re:Why are they doing this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10670936)

o.k

Re:Why are they doing this? (5, Informative)

JFitzsimmons (764599) | more than 9 years ago | (#10670831)

Because there is actually a way to generate a new key so that you look at least somewhat legit. At least enough to let you update, install service packs, the whole deal, as far as anyone can tell. If Microsoft knows you're a pirate... that's anyone's guess.

SP2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10670781)

Anyone here just download a corporate ISO of winxp with SP2, just because they dont want to install all the patches from scratch.

I guess you could slipstream everything, but damn thats a few hours work.

Not saying to pirate software, you already own a legit copy of WinXP Pro, you just want to have the SP2 already on the install cd.

Hell, does Microsoft even sell an updated version with all patches?

Pay 200 bux for an OS, they could at least offer an upgrade cd to make life easier...

Everyday (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10670782)

Everyday I feel guilty about purchasing not 1, but 2 legitimate copies of WindowsXP @ retail price.

chump [n/t] (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10670794)

that is all.

Re:Everyday (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10670948)

o.k.

No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10670784)

Simple reason too... My copy of Windows is not legit.

Call me paranoid..... (5, Interesting)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 9 years ago | (#10670785)

But it would probably be rather easy for M$ to keep a nice tidy database of who has "legit" windows vs. those who don't. Also, this could, with trivial modification, be used to detect duplicate product activation keys....might it be something along the lines of a means to find these keys for a future crackdown?

The article states that there is "no 'stick' as yet", and perhaps there never will be any official action taken against those with pirated copies who foolishly enough decide to tell Microsoft about it. [ After all, if they suddenly started sending out flying attack squads of lawyers, that would make for some bad press. ] However, how long will it be before such a check is integrated into the OS, and checked every time the computer goes online? It certainly wouldn't be that difficult to program in such a "feature', with the added bonus of locking down the system should the results not be acceptable.....

At any rate, it makes me sort of pity all those poor windows users who are going to get screwed over...and makes me very glad that I don't use windows.

Re:Call me paranoid..... (1)

isometrick (817436) | more than 9 years ago | (#10670826)

Microsoft is already very aware of legit keys -- they printed them. Also, if you don't download the "genuine software" checker, they won't be able to see if you have a duplicate key. I'm not saying that it couldn't get worse, but with this particular instance I don't think there is anything to worry about.

Re:Call me paranoid..... (1)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 9 years ago | (#10670962)

I meant "legit" in the sense of "hasn't been passed around like a bong at a hippy convention", rather than "not generated by some script kiddie with too much time on his hands".....though I rather doubt they'd keep some sort of database of every key they send out....what would happen when it was inevitably stolen and/or leaked?

Re:Call me paranoid..... (5, Insightful)

Peyna (14792) | more than 9 years ago | (#10670843)

They're more concerned in targeting the people who are selling copies of Windows as legit retail copies, when they're just repackaged pirated versions. They don't have much interest in going after the average user, because the average user isn't worth the trouble. If they can shutdown a major retail pirate outlet, or find a medium-sized business running 500 copies of Windows that are all pirated; it would be a pretty good deal for them.

People that know they are pirating aren't going to run this tool (unless they're idiots). So, most of those that run it will either know for certain their copy is legit (or think it is) and 99.9% of them will probably turn out to be legit. It's the guy that bought his copy at the 2-bit shop down the street that finds out that it's not a legit copy that might just get pissed enough to turn in the bastard that sold it to him. He's not responsible for having it, and MS knows that. They want the phony retailer, not the poor schmuck that bought from him.

Re:Call me paranoid..... (2, Interesting)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 9 years ago | (#10670866)

Hrmn. Using "free" software to convince people to be stool pigeons. That's kind of evil, I guess.....playing the greed of the end user off against the greed of the habitual pirate....

Actually, it's sort of ingenious when you think about it.....for a modest expenditure of manpower setting up the authentication system [ they already have mondo loads of coders working for them, anyway, so what's one more project? ] and giving away some software they wouldn't be able to scalp for a high price, they potentially reap many rewards.

If they weren't so evil, I'd shake their hands. I guess that's why Gates is a billionare, and I make $7.50/hr answering 411 calls.

Re:Call me paranoid..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10670955)

ok.

Re:Call me paranoid..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10670968)

Actually instead of paranoid, we will call you behind the times. They have been doing this for years (95 was the first) with the auto software checkin. Your modem (in those days) would automagically call home and tell them what you had running.

Support? Security? Hehe... (5, Insightful)

Fnkmaster (89084) | more than 9 years ago | (#10670788)

From their site:

Using genuine Microsoft software ensures that you get world-class reliability, security, and support...

I don't think I need to comment on the reliability and security issue around here. But I have a strange feeling if Microsoft really gave
"world-class" support, half of Slashdot's readers would be out of jobs. I think they need to come up with a more realistic explanation of why it's worth spending 300 dollars for Windows.

Re:Support? Security? Hehe... (2, Funny)

gnuman99 (746007) | more than 9 years ago | (#10670825)

I think they need to come up with a more realistic explanation of why it's worth spending 300 dollars for Windows.

To help pay the wages for the new MS campus in India??
/me ducks

Re:Support? Security? Hehe... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10670834)

get world-class reliability, security, and support...

No, they mean that Windows is about as reliable, secure and supportive as the world at large is today. ;-)

Which world? (1)

MacFury (659201) | more than 9 years ago | (#10670888)

No, they mean that Windows is about as reliable, secure and supportive as the world at large is today. ;-)

Do you mean the real world or the world inside of Bush's fantasy bubble? :-)

Its a monster bite! (1)

Jafar00 (673457) | more than 9 years ago | (#10670790)

Has anyone noticed the photo for the Microsoft List Builder on the page? That woman must have the biggest set of gnashers ever! I find it kind of scary ;)

Re:Its a monster bite! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10670855)

Freaky indeed! [microsoft.com]

And the guy says to the Bartender "Oh, heehaw, heehaw, heehalways talks like that"

Re:Its a monster bite! (1)

Peyna (14792) | more than 9 years ago | (#10670863)

About 6-7 years ago the Microsoft home page showed a different picture depending on whether you were using Netscape or Internet Explorer. If you connected with Internet Explorer you had a nice, happy looking lady. If you connected with Netscape, it looked like she might be ready to rip your guts out at a moments notice (and the picture was a lot darker as well).

its well knowm.. (1)

earthstar (748263) | more than 9 years ago | (#10670792)

Ive already said it in previous story and ill say it again.

MS doesnt really need ur permission to find if your copy is legal or not.it could have alraedy built that into winXP,98,2k.And no one can verify it.

And whats the point in asking for people to volunteer?ONly those who have legal copies will do so.Those who dont will stay away.So all those who take part will be having valid copies.

No one sane enough will believe MS when they say they wont do anything to you if ur copy is illegal.The illegal user just doesnt have to use it.

I believe, the first thing Longhorn does when it is connected to internet will be to check with MS ,whether the copy is legal.Or get caught up when the user hits Microsoft.com

And they can say dont require your permission for it...Probably screw up the PC if itsnt legal copy.A suit over that will probably lose for it is their product illegally used.

And the first thing.. (1)

Tracer_Bullet82 (766262) | more than 9 years ago | (#10670852)

our beloved hackers will do, is stopping(cracking) the OS, from ever contacting MS.

With a nice, big warning from them.

In a way, I do feel sorry for MS, as powerful they are, the "guerillas" aren't chump/chumpettes either.

___________
I have a question though, why is this under YRO?

Re:its well knowm.. (1)

Frogbert (589961) | more than 9 years ago | (#10670940)

What are you talking about? Its quite easy to verify if Windows is "Phoning Home". Its called a nifty packet logger, or even better a firewall.

The above comment is nothing but the wild speculations typed by, judging by the spelling, a thirteen year old browsing at school.

The Sleeping Princess (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10670793)

Has [ilovebees.com] the [ilovebees.com] cutest [ilovebees.com] voice [ilovebees.com] ever [ilovebees.com] .

The MS van (4, Funny)

xsupergr0verx (758121) | more than 9 years ago | (#10670797)

C'mon kids, check and see if your windows copy is legitimate. I've got candy...

Feed me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10670799)

..."without offering anything but piece of mind."

Piece of who's mind...?

Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10670801)

Why would somebody willingly cooperate with Microsoft?

Anybody here one of those 800,000 fools that seems to trust MS?

Because they have such a lengthy record of stabbing customers and especially business partners in the back, I honestly see no reason to trust anything they say.

I know a person who verified his Linux... (2, Interesting)

amokrun (689058) | more than 9 years ago | (#10670839)

His Slackware turned out to be a legitimate copy of Windows. Figure that. The number could very well consist of page loadings or such, instead of actual verifications. Some people actually tried it out for fun. I guess I should give it a try from few OSes as well.

Pie Rat (4, Insightful)

xombo (628858) | more than 9 years ago | (#10670803)

It's not so much for Joe user with his activation crack. I have a feeling this is more-or-less sniffing out people who use the Corp. Edition that is activation-free and thereby never needs to be registered, etc. and can run Windows Update to begin with (I've not yet found a copy of Home or Pro that can get on Windows Update "safely").

They may not shut down your copy but you can bet they'll look into the company that bought that strand of registration keys that you just so happen to be piggy-backing on.

Re:Pie Rat (1)

irc.goatse.cx troll (593289) | more than 9 years ago | (#10670877)

Without going into too much detail, theres both a "win update fix" that will alter the cdkey in such a way as to allow windows update to run (but if you let it reboot before changing back, windows wont boot ever again), and also some reg key that will disable the cdkey entirely and thus win update runs. I'm obviously not going to link to the first, and I dont know enough about the second to give more info-- It was an option in some reg frontend that was for tweaking speed and such.

Re:Pie Rat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10670897)

What are you talking about? If you use a Corp version with a key that is not compromised then it will work. I know tons of people running Windows XP SP2 with no problems. It's a big deal for MS to start locking out their corp customers - so corp keys aren't turned off that quickly.

Re:Pie Rat (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 9 years ago | (#10670906)

Whether or not Windows tries to activate itself is all handled locally.. you don't need to "piggy back" on a legitamate key. They never thought of making a whitelist for the corporate keys, so as long as it appears legitimate, Windows Update will happily serve you. Althought I heard they blacklisted the famous FCKGW key from the Devil'sOwn release. Adding a whitelist for CD Keys is something they're supposed to be doing with Longhaul.

I'm more interested to learn what would happen if someone with an illegitamte copy of Corporate with a generated key would be detected as genuine or not.

Re:Pie Rat (1)

DarkEdgeX (212110) | more than 9 years ago | (#10670979)

I'm more interested to learn what would happen if someone with an illegitamte copy of Corporate with a generated key would be detected as genuine or not.

Well, I have Windows XPSP2 installed on another boxen sitting here that is using the corporate edition and a VLK. Ran the Photo Story 3 for Windows "offer" and it didn't say anything (installed the ActiveX control, it ran for a second, then skipped ahead to the download instructions for Photo Story 3). So, either it's not reporting if you "passed" or "failed", or the corporate edition with a VLK is enough for it to think you're legit.

Probably dumb of me to do that, but bleh, I have a legit copy of WinXP but it's still packed in a moving box. It was easier to download an ISO and a keygen than it was to dig out that disc from who knows what box.

nice surprise (1)

ntxb229 (542609) | more than 9 years ago | (#10670804)

From the cnet article [com.com] :
"The problem is that there are a large percentage of users that are using nongenuine software," said David Lazar, a director in the Windows Client unit at Microsoft. "A good percentage of those think they are using genuine Windows and are being cheated."


There is still no "stick," or penalty, for customers whose software is found not to be genuine. That could change, Microsoft said.
Wouldn't that be a nice surprise to boot up your computer one day only to find a message... "j00 r 0wn3d. Sincerely, Bill."

ehhhhh (4, Insightful)

Peyna (14792) | more than 9 years ago | (#10670805)

While you might have to trust that they're not going to try to hunt you down, it really does seem at this point that they are simply seeking to inform unsuspecting users that they may have received an illegit copy of Windows from a retailer. Most people who are intentionally pirating, aren't going to try to validate it. The focus of this campaign isn't try to catch Joe-Bob that loaned his copy to his sister, it's trying to get consumers who bought a copy of Windows at the corner PC store to go back and demand a legit copy.

I was going to run it, but it doesn't work under Mozilla. Oh well.

Oh cool! (1)

spiralscratch (634649) | more than 9 years ago | (#10670806)

...Now they are throwing in a bunch of free and discounted stuff...
Now I can finally get that copy of Microsoft Bob that I've always wanted!

Clearly Broken (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10670807)

(posted as AC to protect my identity)

I have bought enough Dell's to have windows XP CDs out the ying-yang, but I hate having to go through the activation process each time I format a PC. I own licenses for each computer, all I want is a clean windows installation with no Dell OEM crap. So this is what I did:

1) Downloaded the Devil's 0wn corp version of windows.
2) Slipstreamed SP2 into the install CD.
3) Downloaded a keygen for SP2.
4) Installed Windows with serial from keygen.

I just downloaded Microsoft's authentication tool, and it said my copy was valid. I can download updates, their crappy photo software, and everything else. Im sure Microsoft is throwing millions of dollars into R&D to create this elaborate activation and serial number system, and yet their own tool says my obviously pirated copy is valid. Way to go.

Re:Clearly Broken (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10670816)

It's probably just trying to verify if it's using one of many well known pirated CD keys.

Are they trying to buy a community? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10670886)

I think its funny that any *NIX os has millions of people around the globe all working for FREE! But outside their organization does anyone help them at all?

They can't even care about actual legitimacy it would just cost them numbers.

Re:Clearly Broken (1)

davmoo (63521) | more than 9 years ago | (#10670887)

I was wondering about this myself, since finding key generators and such is so trivial my 70 year old mother could probably do it. Thanks for posting your info.

ermm I'm not getting something here... (1)

Tracer_Bullet82 (766262) | more than 9 years ago | (#10670811)

This is voluntary right?

Why would the "pirates" then volunteer for it?

Won't they get 100% "genuine" participation?

As for the "in the dark" "pirates", I'd wager the number is quite small, errm why bother?

Re:ermm I'm not getting something here... (1)

redJag (662818) | more than 9 years ago | (#10670872)

I've sort of wondered that as well, but maybe they're doing this more to pat their "honest" customers on the back. There's so many reasons to pirate Windows, maybe they just want to create a reason not to (not that their validation is perfect, by any means).

Re:ermm I'm not getting something here... (1)

PurpleFloyd (149812) | more than 9 years ago | (#10670965)

This program is not for the l33t kiddies on IRC with the corporate edition. Rather, it's for more mainstream customers - like people who bought a whitebox computer from a less-than-honest retailer. While I haven't run the tool, I'd bet almost anything that if it detects a pirated copy, it tells you to call the Microsoft piracy hotline and inform them where you got your copy of Windows.

After all, the legal costs are probably about the same to go after a pirate no matter what their offense is. It's good business sense for MS to go after big pirate operations and shut down people who are churning out and selling thousands of copies of Windows to willing customers; spending thousands on a case to shut down one kid with a cracked copy of Windows probably wouldn't be worth the cost. The target of this operation is almost certainly shops selling counterfeit copies of Windows; it probably wouldn't be worth the cost or privacy issues to go after everyone with a warez copy of Windows.

Result of the poll (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10670821)

Overall outcome: 100% of the responses were from legit copies of Windows.

Conclusion: Piracy doesn't exist for Windows.

Hey, if BSA can do statistics, so can we.

Please... Go ahead and check... (0, Troll)

ajservo (708572) | more than 9 years ago | (#10670827)

Let me just get adjusted here...

(zip)

(Drops pants/drawers, bends over)

Go ahead. Tell me... IS it genuine?

Now, where's my free software?

Sadly.... (0)

DLR (18892) | more than 9 years ago | (#10670830)

...people have stolen so much of Microsoft, and other company's. software that it has come down to this. And whether or not you think the current IP laws are just the fact remains that it is the law and if you are running software that you haven't paid what the author is requesting then you have stolen it.

I'm not worried about my copy of XP being "pirated" since I got it at the Microsoft company store, but to see Joe User taken in by this invasive policy from yet another megacorp who thinks they have some right to a chunck of my paycheck they haven't earned just makes my hackles rise.

I've been a Gnome and Enlightenment fan for a while, but I hear that KDE is ready for prime time. Guess I'll take a look at it. I sure hope Linux for the desktop can start making some inroads into Microsoft's market share so Joe User can keep his current hardware and have a choice in OS, rather than wait for his next big purchase to go get a Mac.

Free stuff? (1)

ATAMAH (578546) | more than 9 years ago | (#10670832)

As i could see there are only two items being offered that are free. The rest is ... just a clever(?) way to sell more stuff and generate more profit... Just another marketing ploy.

I happen to know a little about this program... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10670845)

Posted anonymously to protect my job.

Microsoft isn't going after the end users with this program. They honestly don't care whether you personally bought and paid for Windows, because face it, no one goes to Best Buy and plunks down $100 - $300 for an operating system. The goal of this program is to show the value to users of having a genuine copy of Windows. Create "mindshare" if you will, that genuine Windows has greater value than your borrowed/downloaded/pirated copy. This will hopefully, in turn, encourage users to demand genuine Windows when they buy a PC. Again, face it, when people buy a new PC, they buy Windows. Most never upgrade after that. By creating users who ask for genuine Windows when they buy a PC, Microsoft can indirectly assert pressure on small OEM's and System Builders, where the largest amount of counterfeit Windows is sold to unsuspecting users. Even Microsoft realizes it's unfair to punish users who honestly believe their copy of Windows is legit.

You'll notice that those who fail validation are asked to provide (largely generic) information regarding their PC and their purchase. They get a 'courtesy key' in most cases that allows them access to the content (creating the image of a kinder, more benevolent Microsoft). It also goes straight into a reporting database where Microsoft can track trends like which resellers are selling large amounts of counterfeit copies of Windows.

Regardless of your software ideals, stealing software is wrong, and it's certainly within Microsoft's rights to restrict premium content to genuinely licensed copies of Windows. Validation isn't locking any genuinely licensed users out of any content; in fact, a large percentage of those people with counterfeit licenses will still be able to access downloads. Microsoft has also committed to allowing all counterfeit licenses to access critical security updates via Automatic Updates, probably so they don't get lambasted in the press for "denying users security fixes."

I'll try to answer any further questions that get posted as a reply to this post.

Re:I happen to know a little about this program... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10670851)

So when you say "posting anonymously to protect my job" does that mean you work for a shady retail pirate?

Re:I happen to know a little about this program... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10670870)

So when you say "posting anonymously to protect my job" does that mean you work for a shady retail pirate?

Well, think about it. Who knows intimate details of the goals and focus of a brand new Microsoft program? Clerks at Bob's Bargain Backyard PC's are probably not on the list of those with access to this sort of information.

Re:I happen to know a little about this program... (1)

Peyna (14792) | more than 9 years ago | (#10670920)

Who knows intimate details of the goals and focus of a brand new Microsoft program?

Anyone who bothered to RTFAs posted above?

Re:I happen to know a little about this program... (1)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 9 years ago | (#10670885)

You wouldn't happen to know if the program takes a few non-volunteered bits of info from the OS? Like, logs IP, login name, that manner of thing...as I'm not a windows user, I'm not quite sure exactly how much they could find out, but I'm sure there's something....

Re:I happen to know a little about this program... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10670934)

IP address of the system would not be very useful. Plenty of PC's are on home or corporate LAN's - Microsoft DB's would fill up with tons of 10.x.x.x and 192.168.x.x addresses. It would be much easier to collect the IP of the system from the server side as it's making the connection to the web page.

That said, they're not collecting it - it's not useful to Microsoft, because, as explained above, Microsoft doesn't care about you, the end user. Login name, registered to name, registered to company are all not collected for the same reason (and the fact that they have a published privacy statement indicating they're not collecting 'Personally Identifiable Information'). Items that are collected are BIOS identifier string, and CRC of BIOS. The idea is to start pinning down OEM's and System Builders. Combine BIOS information with the information users volunteer about location and name of store the PC was purchased at and you have a good starting point for hunting down the shady resellers.

Thank you for your post. (5, Interesting)

Tracer_Bullet82 (766262) | more than 9 years ago | (#10670935)

Read my post further up, i was wondering the real motivation for this.

Regardless of your software ideals, stealing software is wrong

hHere in my country, a 'developing" nation I'd wager the piracy rate(for MS) is at 70-80%. Roll back 5 years ago,, it'd be near 100%.

Piracy has actually helped MS entrech its position. Nowadays, the instances of non MS OS or office(in the office) software is still near 0%.. All "pirates" who uses MS in the past(i.e Univ) is now working, and they wouldn't be interested in learning about new "tools"

I'd wager MS would not view 'stealing' that led them to a dominant position is wrong.

IMHO all developing or poor nation starts with 100% piracy rate, as they gradually become more prosperous the rate will go down. The softwares most pirated will benefit the most from this growth.

Re:Thank you for your post. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10670976)

Here in my country, a 'developing" nation I'd wager the piracy rate(for MS) is at 70-80%.

You didn't tell us what your country is. I'd be interested in knowing.

I'd wager MS would not view 'stealing' that led them to a dominant position is wrong.

You're missing a key fact. Microsoft is not a government, and they're not concerned with the morality of the public. Their concern is extracting the greatest amount of profit out of the public (ultimately, this is the goal of every company; Microsoft just happens to be wildly successful at it). Microsoft realizes that developing countries typically have high piracy rates; you'll also notice that you haven't seen very many news articles of Microsoft goons breaking down doors and carting off Windows pirates. Microsoft uses the force of law when it's profitable for them to do so (BSA software audits at large corporations). In other cases, crippled software at a lower price point helps keep users paying SOMETHING to Microsoft rather than moving to a free alternative (witness Windows XP Starter Edition, available soon in countries like Russia, Thailand, and Malaysia).

Why would a pirate check this? (1)

DLR (18892) | more than 9 years ago | (#10670853)

I've seen several comments wondering why a person who knows they have a pirated copy do this. This isn't for the "casual pirate". This is for people who saw a deal on the Web and got XP Pro for $50 and installed it. They'll "phone in" and Microsoft will tell them their copy is pirated, then ask where they got it. Voila! Pirate shop busted. That is what this is all about.

I know some of you would suggest otherwise... (1)

oldosadmin (759103) | more than 9 years ago | (#10670857)

but there ARE some people out there still running FCKGW-* keys who are completely clueless as to the legality.

I worked for a computer store, and we had at least 4 scenarios in 6 months where one of our customer bought Office/Windows XP off ebay, then we try to upgrade to SP1 to fix a problem and ... wait ... FCKGW-*. I imagine it's a common scenario, and most of these people WILL drop the $100 for a legal copy upon finding out they got screwed.

Err... (1)

cuteseal (794590) | more than 9 years ago | (#10670859)

...ok, if I have a pirated version, I'll do it to get FREE STUFF. Yes! I will get my ass thrown in jail for FREE STUFF. Yes! Please!

piece of mind (0, Troll)

targo (409974) | more than 9 years ago | (#10670862)

piss on you too! [magnaromagna.it]

my response to ms (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10670867)

fuck you!!!

aren't you rich enough off corporate compliance???

you gave 53B away to your corporate drones...

I have an idea, let's go after the little guy...

The "corporate" activation scheme is coming (2, Interesting)

IronChefMorimoto (691038) | more than 9 years ago | (#10670878)

Someone mentioned that this might be a way of hunting down errant, illegal copies of non-product activation corporate editions of MS Windows products. I would take that a step further and venture to say that this will be the next step in "product" activation. Instead of requiring the hassle of the product activation phone call/activation code entry for corporate clients, they will, instead, find ways to monitor corporate clients for errant product IDs floating around outside the bounds of a corporate purchasers' license terms.

I would suspect that Microsoft could easily come up with some way to monitor an individual corporate license being used during product updates. Maybe they keep a head count of how many licensed copies are out there under a particular company's account. When 2041 licenses are detected for a corporate account of only 1000 licenses, Microsoft will skip going after the pirates and basically take the issue to the company in terms of fines and/or a nice big Microsoft bill.

Could they do it with IPs? Make each company register a domain and/or IP range for corporate clients? Probably not, given that corporate clients could be working mobilely and the prospect of spoofing. But perhaps they could account for that and start issuing a set # of desktop licenses (that don't move) and a set # of laptop/mobile licenses that can move off the network. A little harder to say "you gave out more product IDs/licenses than allowed," but still a means of tracking licenses outside a set number of mobile clients. There would most likely be a threshold of, say, 20% more than the license limit before the company got called on it.

I could see this as Microsoft's wakeup call to its corporate customers. Control your licenses, or you will be charged/fined accordingly. It might hurt business for Microsoft and cause some changeover to other systems, but for the most part, businesses are going to have to do business with software that meets their needs. And as long as Microsoft is the dominant player in the corporate world for desktop computing, businesses will have to make the effort to meet their licensing demands.

IronChefMorimoto

peace of mind (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10670882)

someone has been listening to too much iron maiden

My SuSE and Solaris 10 are both legit, but OK. (1)

infonography (566403) | more than 9 years ago | (#10670893)

If they are offering free copies that are *nix compatible I am all for it.

Sign me up...NOT! (1)

demon_2k (586844) | more than 9 years ago | (#10670898)

Yes, as if. If it's anonymous then how can you receive your "free"/"dicounted" software?

And even if it was legit...My business is my business. I don't like people looking over my shoulder.

The cost of product activation (5, Insightful)

Mike deVice (769602) | more than 9 years ago | (#10670901)

You know, this really makes me wonder.

The whole point of making users "activate" a new installation of Windows is to discourage the use or distribution of pirated copies. It didn't really work. The honest people stayed honest, but were inconvenienced. And the pirates kept pirating.

I might guess that activation is probably something of an inconvenience to MS as well. It didn't work as well as they had hoped, and in fact they had to keep track of illegitimate or "leaked" product keys in addition to the good ones. And it still hasn't stopped piracy.

So now MS is throwing "carrots" out to people in an effort to weed out illegal copies of Windows. They haven't said just what they're going to do with the data they've collected, or how they'll expect users to deal with it. More work for them, and potential pain for those that thought they had purchased legal copies of Windows, but didn't.

I don't know if I have a point... but this all just looks bad to me, and does seem to make product activation more and more of a hassle for everybody all around. It just seems to escalate, and I wonder if this is a case of diminishing returns. Maybe it gives MS some benefit (perhaps the marketing people get good data out of it somehow), but discouraging piracy doesn't seem to be one of them, from what I can see.

sigh

Scary.. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10670919)

I guess this is somewhat of a prime example as to how security fails when it comes to the end user..

To have M$ estimate, hope rather, that 20,000 unforunate, uneducated users would sign up for this bogus crap.. then actually find out that 800,000 people have decided to give this a try, is a sad sad thing to see..

The problem is, people are unaware/uneducated about potential security threats. Thanks to M$ devious and sly marketing tactics though, the word FREE captures almost any saps attention..

So yes, we can blame the users for being idiots and having M$ spy on them. It's kind of hypocritical though how M$, Symantec, Dell and so forth always urge users to protect their computers from any sort of security threats or any harmful 3rd party software, spyware, malicious sites, etc.. yet they themselves are spying on their own customers.

Sure Dell, thanks for putting matcli/MotiveAssistant on my computer. I appreciate your concern for having some program constantly run in the background to which you claim is solely there for the purpose for when the user has any sort of technical issues and a rep (probably from India, but that's another story :-P) could log in and assist the user, but why not give any sort of warning yourselves. There's always the possibility that one asshole may go berzerk and abuse the software they have been provided to basically hijack ones system.

In short, if we're going to try to make this crazy thing we call the Internet "secure", let's not abuse that power and assume that YOU are justified to install a program that gives a remote user access to ones system. Here's a simple solution. When you're helping them out, have them run the program and terminate it at the completion of the session.

Sheesh.. sorry for the rant :-P

Greater reliability? (2, Interesting)

Nermal6693 (622898) | more than 9 years ago | (#10670922)

Genuine Microsoft software offers you greater reliability

Does it? A pirated copy of Windows still has exactly the same code as a genuine one. How can MS say that genuine software is more reliable?

Can you get Bob? (1, Insightful)

carcosa30 (235579) | more than 9 years ago | (#10670925)

Are they giving away Microsoft Bob along with those "Hot new holiday visualizations for Media Player?"

I have a better idea.

How about I don't run Windows at all. Ever.

what are their "gifts" worth? (1)

flechette_indigo (738323) | more than 9 years ago | (#10670929)

...given that software is free?

Just used it (2, Interesting)

Nailer (69468) | more than 9 years ago | (#10670941)

I'm running a pirate copy of Windows XP SP2 on my scratch partition. I'm a Fedora guy that's interested in distros and operating systems, and have XP installed on my scratch partition right now. I used a pirate copy for the install as the one I was forced to purchase from Dell will destroy my main OS partition on my hard disk.

Interesting facts:
1. It works in Firefox. If the ActiveX control doesn't download, they give you a .hta you run instead (pity there's no XUL version, but hey...).
2. They don't show the results.

Contrary to what another poster said, Windows Update seems to work fine with a pirate copy of XP, at least this one.

Hell no... (1)

Vash_066 (816757) | more than 9 years ago | (#10670951)

The only thing they can give me is a complete refund of the time I've wasted downloading patches and what not to fix their crappy code.

In their interests (2)

mr_snarf (807002) | more than 9 years ago | (#10670975)

Is it in M$'s own interests to allow people to pirate windows? afaik, they make most of their money selling windows to companies.

If heaps of home-users pirate microsoft products, and become accustomed to them, this will encourage companies to use microsoft products.

Can someone more knowledgable on this matter explain why this is/isn't the case? (And yes, I can see the parallels with the music industry, but this is about microsoft, not them)

Brraainnnssss.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10670984)

Why is Microsoft selling pieces of mind? Don't they know you can't sell brain tissue to the general public? I mean...I know Windows sells to a lot of corporate zombies, but I'm pretty sure that's just a figure of speech. Windows wouldn't be selling brains just to placate the unholy brain-lust of it's undead market...would it?

I'm scared now. Somebody hold me.
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