Microsoft is planning to expand its Windows Genuine Advantage program in order to ensure that its biggest competitors to Windows – unlicensed and pirated Windows – is kept at bay.
If you were an extremist, you would be afraid right now. And you should be. The program means that the only people who will be able to download Microsoft software, updates to Microsoft software and security releases, not to mention installing Service Packs, will be those who have taken part in the soon-to-be-mandatory Genuine Advantage program.
However, if you are open, honest, and didn’t mind the Product Activation part of Windows’ installation, you’ll unlikely to be disturbed by the Genuine Advantage portion of Windows, as it often takes less than a minute and is completely unintrusive.
While pirates are sure to circumvent the system, distributing patches to keep themselves protected anyways, it should make it inconvenient enough that those who weren’t aware their systems were unlicensed or pirated – hopefully through no fault of their own – will be able to take advantage of the current amnesty programs to upgrade to a “real and genuine” version of Windows.
The main purpose of this program is to stop those companies who make money off innocent consumers by selling them computer systems with pirated copies of Windows. According to a Microsoft spokesman: “Twenty-three per cent of PCs in the US use a copy of Windows that is not genuine. Often the users are unaware that they have been sold counterfeit software.”
This may just be the best way for Microsoft to educate users on what real and valid software is, ways to avoid illegal software as well as protecting the existing user base from unwanted piracy.
Like any company, Microsoft just wants to be paid for its work. Considering the pervasiveness of piracy, it´s taking a pretty fair stance here. If you don´t believe me, imagine what choices the RIAA would make if they were in charge of this decision.