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Microsoft Marketing to OS Pirates, Just Agree to Audits! 197

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the isn't-that-wacky dept.
Stony Stevenson writes "In the latest sign that Microsoft expects to support its Windows XP operating system for the foreseeable future, the company has introduced a new licensing program designed to let users of fake or pirated copies of the business version of the OS upgrade to fully licensed copies. To qualify, users of illegitimate versions of Windows XP Pro must pledge to use only genuine Microsoft software going forward and agree to have their software infrastructure audited. Resellers who push the Get Genuine Windows Agreement to customers will get a cut of any new license fees they generate, Microsoft said."
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Microsoft Marketing to OS Pirates, Just Agree to Audits!

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  • Yeah, right (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sprag (38460) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @10:37AM (#20837037)
    If someone is pirating windows, why would they self identify and then agree to an eternal audit of their infrastructure?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by SnoopJeDi (859765)
      Well, a significant portion of these "pirates" are supposedly people/groups that have no idea that they are breaking any rules. So, I would imagine those people would be the target, not Captain CheapAss (Yarrrgggh).
      • Re:Yeah, right (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Iphtashu Fitz (263795) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @10:45AM (#20837163)
        Well, a significant portion of these "pirates" are supposedly people/groups that have no idea that they are breaking any rules.

        If they have no idea that they're running a pirated copy of Windows then how would they know they should consider this offer by MS?
        • 1) Some people who weren't certain, and might wonder (i.e. wow, this was rather cheap when I ordered from that seedy web site I got an email from...) might check and agree
          2) Some people who later found their copy wasn't legit, after the fact, but didn't have the money to do anything about it, might go for it.
        • by Abreu (173023)
          Lots of people (at least here in the semi-third world) commonly buy computers from small local stores...
          Many times these are generic beige boxes with the store logo (or worse, an Acer/HP/Gateway) logo pasted on them.

          These computers are almost always sold "with Windows XP preinstalled", which is obviously pirated. Some will even sell you a windows license separately if requested.

          I assure you lots of people don't know they are pirates... they will even show you the invoices for their store-bought computers.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by The Spoonman (634311)
            And, in those cases, where a company can clearly document that they've made a reasonable effort to ensure they didn't buy pirated software, but can show they were defrauded by a dealer, will always be given a pass by these companies. But, they'll always decide to press the issue if the offending company can't prove they DIDN'T buy pirated software. If they walk in and you've got one licensed copy of Windows on 400 machines and you've got no documentation anywhere that shows you own even one more...they're
            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by Anonymous Coward

              a tip, such as from a current or ex disgruntled employee (as I did to a former employer. :)
              Maybe this is a statement that you should have made as ac
    • Re:Yeah, right (Score:4, Insightful)

      by deniable (76198) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @10:44AM (#20837145)
      It's called getting caught.

      You get a choice of pay up or go to court, unless their looking to make an example of someone. They've been doing it for a fairly long time here.
    • Re:Yeah, right (Score:4, Insightful)

      by bogaboga (793279) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @10:46AM (#20837181)

      To qualify, users of illegitimate versions of Windows XP Pro must pledge to use only genuine Microsoft software going forward and agree to have their software infrastructure audited.


      Suppose I were a pirate; what would I get in this? After all, I can still get my copy of Windows software "free".

      Microsoft should know better: There is no difference between a pirated copy of its software and a genuine one. They work the same, have the same bugs, crash the same way etc etc. I do not see any incentive to agreeing to these audits at all.

      By the way, I do not see any indemnification from a law suite by Microsoft. Or did I miss something?

      • Re:Yeah, right (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Bert64 (520050) <bert@noSPAM.slashdot.firenzee.com> on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @11:10AM (#20837553) Homepage
        Actually there are differences, very important ones.

        The pirated copy is *BETTER*.

        You don't have to deal with WGA
        You don't have the hassle of re-activating it if you upgrade/change your hardware
        You often don't have the hassle of entering and storing (without losing) the license key when you reinstall
        And the obvious - that it's cheaper
        • by ubrgeek (679399)
          > You don't have the hassle of re-activating it if > you upgrade/change your hardware

          Funny you mention this. I have a copy of XP that I've installed on different machines which I've then wiped. I had it on a PC and had to reinstall it (yeah, I know: Image it first) and then said to hell with the box and installed it via Parallels. When I had to reinstall Parallels and tried to activate XP, a screen popped up which informed me that, according to MS' records, I had exceeded the number of times the pr
          • Nobody claimed it's nullified (in XP, not Vista). Just that you have to go through the Spanish Inquisition as you've noticed.
            • by Macthorpe (960048)
              Wow, that's akin to the Spanish Inquisition? So I assume, historically, it went:

              Inquisitor: "ARE YOU, OR ARE YOU NOT, A CATHOLIC!?"
              Prisoner: "Yep."
              Inquisitor: "Oh, okay. You can go then."
        • Re:Yeah, right (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Lesrahpem (687242) <iadnah@@@uplinklounge...com> on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @06:26PM (#20844371) Homepage

          The pirated copy is *BETTER*.

          You don't have to deal with WGA
          You don't have the hassle of re-activating it if you upgrade/change your hardware
          You often don't have the hassle of entering and storing (without losing) the license key when you reinstall
          And the obvious - that it's cheaper
          Not only that, but there's kind of a big incentive, aside from the monetary one, for OEM's who install priated copies of windows. I've seen a pirated ISO of XP SP2 that:
          • has most general optimizations done already
          • comes with stupid stuff, like the alerter and messaging service, and remote assistance, turned off by default
          • It also has the option to automatically install a bunch of nice software. It just asks you about it when it's done with the install. It has open office, the sun JRE, a version of notepad with syntax highlighting and tabs, firefox (with the flash plugin, noscript, and adblock), thunderbird, avira antivir, and 7zip.
          • After it's done installing it asks if you want to make a backup. You pop in a DVD and it'll make a recovery disk you can boot from to restore the computer to exactly like it was at the time of installation
          This means that instead of it taking around an hour and a half to install windows, tweak it so it acts right, and install all that software, it takes about a half hour. Also, customers really like having a recovery disk like that sometimes (the created disk, by the way, also acts as a regular XP install disk if you want it to).

          It's better quality, in almost every way, than the "genuine" Windows XP OEM disks.
        • by rtb61 (674572)
          I would like to make a corrective addition to your gross misrepresentation, "You don't have the hassle of re-activating it if you upgrade/change your hardware" in point of fact I used all five of my activations, with and changing one bit of hardware.

          Somehow in the typical wonderful world of M$ windows, my PC decided all on its own that all the hardware had changed between reboots, it did this at random intervals, requiring me, first up one morning whilst in a rush to beg M$ for the super long code unlock

      • Suppose I were a pirate...

        They are not targeting YOU. Keep on running your unsupported pirate copy of XP with unknown security backdoors. Your choice.

        But there are actual real businesses, mostly outside the US but certainly some here as well, that are starting to understand that there are liabilities to running unpatched and unsupportable pirate copies of XP. They should and probably will jump at this.

        Obligatory Slashdot Disclaimer: Of course they should be running GNU/Linux, nectar of the Gods, panacea to

        • Re:Yeah, right (Score:4, Informative)

          by sqrt(2) (786011) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @12:08PM (#20838585) Journal
          What world do you live in? The "unpatched and unsupportable" pirate copies of XP are, in fact, bit-for-bit identical to the legit retail and corporate versions. They update just like the real thing, they work just like the real thing, they ARE the real thing. Everything except for the license/CD key is genuine. The difference between a "pirate" copy and a real one is your authorization to use it, the license, not the software itself.
        • They are not targeting YOU. Keep on running your unsupported pirate copy of XP with unknown security backdoors. Your choice.

          ...and this differs from the legit versions how? XP has lots of unknown security backdoors in it, legit or not. The recent stealth update kerfuffle taught us that.

          The support? Dude, a typical p2p Windows user just re-installs the thing when it breaks, like the legit users do.

          Not that I support pirating the thing (after all, if they couldn't pirate it, they'd be learning to use Linux, BSD, or anything better than Windows), but honestly, you;re not really providing much incentive here.

          /P

      • Suppose I were a pirate; what would I get in this? After all, I can still get my copy of Windows software "free".

        But suppose you are a CIO of a company with a thousand WinXP workstations, and you don't sleep well at night because your predecessor had some lax policies and you've no idea how much of your ass is exposed to any employee who has an ax to grind. You might welcome the opportunity to get clean, before a BSA audit comes your way.

        Much as I hate MS business practices in general, I can see where this scheme is beneficial. It could give a lot of small and mid-size businesses the breathing room they need while

        • by Artifakt (700173)
          I've wondered if business execs and such could afford to deal with such problems piecemeal or not. Take a slight variation on your example. Suppose a CIO thinks a subordinate, such as the former head of the advertising department, may have allowed some pirated graphics software onto that department's machines. If the CIO directs an internal audit of just the graphics programs and for just that department, what happens if the BSA later audits the whole business for general software non-compliance? It seems l
      • by Petrushka (815171)

        To qualify, users of illegitimate versions of Windows XP Pro must pledge to use only genuine Microsoft software going forward

        What does the meaning of "going forward" mean? Has this submitted story been submitted as a story by the Department of Redundancy Department?

    • Re:Yeah, right (Score:5, Interesting)

      by apdyck (1010443) <aaron...p...dyck@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @11:02AM (#20837441) Homepage Journal
      I feel that it needs to be pointed out that this program targets business customers. Microsoft isn't going to waste their resources on the average home user who is running a pirated copy of XP Pro (probably after a system wipe to get rid of Vista or XP Home!). This does make some amount of sense in that context. The majority of Microsoft's revenue comes from OEM installations (which we usually don't get much of a choice in anyhow), and from business customers who order thousands of licenses. As a former Microsoft OEM vendor, I have seen the evolution of their policies from the early days of Windows 95 and upwards, and let me tell you - this makes more sense than their requirement for Office 97 SBE OEM to only be installed on an OEM installation of Windows 95 or 98!

      With regards to the audits, there are many software solutions for audits of software, and Microsoft keeps a database of all registered licenses (I've seen this database, a friend of mine was a manager at a call center handling Microsoft activations calls), so it would be easy for Microsoft to run an audit of installed software and compare it with their database of registered software. If they notice any discrepancies, they could then conduct further investigation into the cause. Granted, it would be a lot of work on their part to conduct a more in-depth audit, but it would, invariably, result in revenue for Microsoft, so it would be worth-while for them.
      • I was also going to point out the target being business customers but thanks for beating me to it with a better posting.

        The other point to make here addresses the comments regarding who would want to change from illegal to legal software. I have ran into several small businesses which have pirated software installed in the office machines. In some cases everyone was well aware of the situation and in others it started out innocently enough and simply grew from there until no one really knew how bad the

      • by Technician (215283) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @01:16PM (#20839693)
        but it would, invariably, result in revenue for Microsoft, so it would be worth-while for them.

        Not always. Sometimes the move isn't as dramatic or as public as the story in the link below.

        http://www.news.com/2008-1082_3-5065859.html [news.com]

        Often it is much more quiet as the gears start rolling. For me personally, this stuff is a major factor in why I avoid Microsoft EULA licenses and discovered the wonderful world of open standards and open source.

        It started with WGA and product activation. I have way too many computers to keep up to date at retail prices. Due to the MS way of doing things, my family has 3 versions of MS Office. My old PIII has a copy of Office 97. It still has the OEM Windows 98 on it. (Don't fret, it's dual boot and only boots Windows for the GPS software which is Windows only) The Wife's XP machine has my copy of Office 2000 which was free from work. Her new laptop for her masters degree came with Vista. Through my employer's homeware agreement with Microsoft we picked up a copy of Office 2007 for a nominal fee of about $20. It is valid only while I am employed with the company. The compatibility issues between versions is a pain in the backside, but providing the same version on all machines is way too expensive.

        On the other side, all my machines have Open Office. The license is such that I am permitted to install it on every machine in my home (and give away copies to friends). Do you see a trend here? Incompatibile versions and single install licenses or a a site wide license so all machines can have the same version for the home.

        As the Open Document Format becomes standardized it should be obvious to anyone why Open Office and other ODF compatible office software is going to erode Microsoft's market. Tightening the screws is only going to accelerate the adoption of alternatives.

        If you have more then 2 computers (laptop and desktop) because you have a family, keeping them all in sync with per seat software is expensive. You either have to decide to spend a lot, or figure out which machine gets the office software. With the competition, everyone can have a legal copy on their desktop and laptop.

        After introduction to Sum Microsystems Star Office (home site license for all machines) and then Linux and Open Office, The Microsoft License doesn't look very good for a family SOHO. I can deal with slightly less mature software instead of the big dent in the bottom line.

        When I truly need the Microsoft product due to some requirement, I can borrow the wife's laptop. For everything else, Open Office is what I am using. It is on both my laptops, my kids machine, my daughters laptop, my main machine, and my old PIII Dual boot machine. This is the migration that MS can't stop.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by cp.tar (871488)

      I guess this is only moderately useful to businesses, as they may get hurt if they're caught.

      I, however, don't see a single reason to "upgrade" to a legal copy: I, unlike own^H^H^Hlicencees of legal copies, am not annoyed by WGA, I will never have to deal with their tech support, my Windows installation will never enter Reduced Functionality Mode (RFM? Isn't that kind of like RTFM?)... I only use Windows to play games only available on Windows.

      And I see no reason to ever allow Microsoft to audit anything

    • by ElleyKitten (715519) <kittensunrise@nOSpam.gmail.com> on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @11:36AM (#20838053) Journal

      If someone is pirating windows, why would they self identify and then agree to an eternal audit of their infrastructure?
      Prior employees at my company pirated software instead of get it legitly like management wants. I'm sure they'd benefit from a program like this, and might even thank me for telling them about it instead of yelling at me for telling them there's pirated software on their computers, but I hate my job and do not care. Which is why I'm browsing Slashdot and Monster and calling it "working".
    • >>If someone is pirating windows, why would they self identify and then agree to an eternal audit of their infrastructure?

      Not everyone who pirates Windows did so intentionally. What about those of us who spent $80,000 on Microsoft licenses from a VAR in which case the VAR pirated the software? See, some of us are stuck with pirated software that we paid for but Microsoft will not allow us to use.
      • by SkyDude (919251)

        Not everyone who pirates Windows did so intentionally. What about those of us who spent $80,000 on Microsoft licenses from a VAR in which case the VAR pirated the software? See, some of us are stuck with pirated software that we paid for but Microsoft will not allow us to use.

        Call me crazy, but if my former employer budgeted 80 large for anything from one source, you can believe that vendor would get the mother of all anal exams.

        Didn't anyone ever hear of references or indemnification clauses?

  • Actually (Score:3, Insightful)

    by El Lobo (994537) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @10:40AM (#20837071)
    Actually many here will, of course, disagree with me, but this is a very smart and good move, not only for Microsoft, but for the users. There are a lot of users thta have their Windows locked from further updates, because they installed the GA software and they WERE actually running a pirated Windows. Some of them have, after that , adquired a legal license, but others, just sit there with their pirated copy.

    This is actually a good solution for those people and a civilizated solution for the whole problem.

    Sure, bring on now the "oh, MS wants just to mantain the monopoly", "oh, they will kill people privacities", etc... No matter waht you say, this IS a good move.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ConceptJunkie (24823) *
      Given that copies of Windows that are locked out of updates are very likely to be parts of botnets, it is a good thing. Microsoft has a responsibility to mitigate some of the mess they've made over the years.

      • Re:Actually (Score:4, Informative)

        by El Lobo (994537) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @10:59AM (#20837385)
        Critical updates are not locked out even for pirated copies, so don't worry, it's not about that, they take responsability even for pirated copies.
        • it's a lot more work, but you can download all the updates manually, too...

        • Good for them. I totally understand about not wanting to reward pirates, but MS has a responsibility to disarm the millions of ticking time-bombs they've loosed on the 'net and it sounds like they are.

          I know, maybe they could rig up some way for pirated copies of Windows to remain secure (such as it is) but be huge, bloated and slow, without offering improved functionality over legitimately-licensed copies of XP. Oh, wait, I just described Vista.

          I'm no big fan of Microsoft*, but I do like XP by the way, s
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Txiasaeia (581598)

      "Some of them have, after that , adquired a legal license, but others, just sit there with their pirated copy."

      And some of them just reinstall Windows, turn on Automatic Updates (don't download, let me choose) and deselect "WGA" in the updates. After this, Windows can be updated through Automatic Updates without a hitch.
      • by El Lobo (994537)
        nope, some newer downloads can only be downloaded (without hacking the system) if you have WGA. Those are not critical updates, though.
        • by toddestan (632714)
          So far, everything that comes down through Automatic Updates hasn't required WGA. Things like .NET and the latest Windows Media Player that you have to get by going through Microsoft's site do require WGA.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Please note: the adjective form of "civilization" is not "civilizated".
    • Re:Actually (Score:4, Interesting)

      by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob@NOspAm.hotmail.com> on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @11:10AM (#20837555) Journal
      No matter waht you say, this IS a good move.

      It's nonsensical.

      I'm pirating Windows.

      I own and have paid for a copy of XP for every computer I'm running it on, but I run pirate (volume license) copies because product activation and WGA are such a pain in the arse that it's better to firewall unpatched machines than license them.

      Microsoft has made pirated copies of Windows better products than legitimate versions. That's why this "initiative" is bullshit and will fail.

    • by rucs_hack (784150)
      You must not have installed WGA on an illegal XP install. I've seen it, it pops up messages all the time, and becomes so annoying as to render the machine unuseable. However the simplest fix as it turns out was supplied by Microsoft. Just do a system restore to before WGA was installed and forbid it to download again.

      Then again of course if you re-install you're boned, because microsoft require WGA to be installed before any other updates.

  • Audit? Idiot. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Aladrin (926209) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @10:40AM (#20837081)
    The audit is idiotic. They have the choice of grabbing lots of cash from a company that wants to get legal, or scaring companies that want to get legal and not getting the money.

    I suppose the third choice is the company that pays the money, despite being scared, and ... WTF. Why would they do that? The only possible outcome is giving a monopolistic corporation unlimited access to your tech infrastructure. That just can't be a good idea.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Bert64 (520050)
      Well, if you run modern versions of windows you already give a monopolistic corporation unlimited access to (and control over) your infrastructure... You even explicitly agreed to it in the EULA.
      • And now for those of us who are not bound by the EULA, since it violates part of local consumer rights laws and thus becomes void?
  • msoft: (Score:5, Funny)

    by kevin.fowler (915964) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @10:41AM (#20837087) Homepage
    Hey mister pirate... will you help us find our lost OS? I last saw him with candy and a puppy running into that unmarked van other there.
  • by scribblej (195445) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @10:41AM (#20837101)
    In what sense do they mean "use only genuine Microsoft software?" Do they mean if you are using MS software you must agree to pay for it which is so obvious it hardly bears saying, I mean, they will be auditing you... of course you will not get away with using more MS pirated software.

    Or do they mean you must avoid software from any vendor but MS?

    I read the article but it doesn't clarify.

    • by davidsyes (765062)
      By telling them and making them agree to using ONLY GENUINE windows XP software, they probably also mean NO OPEN SOURCE.

      Using Samba, Webmin, Cups, Apache, K-Mail and open source mail servers? Look OUT. Here comes OUTLOOK! Using any Python/Pearl/PHP/Eclipse? Here comes active x, and various incarnations of windows framework stuff.

      If you comply with this audit, AND dump Open Source, then you don't value nor deserve "freedom". Give rise to inertia, momentum, impetus to FREEDOM of CHOICE of software AND operati
  • What's the Point? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by darthflo (1095225) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @10:44AM (#20837141)
    What exactly is the goal of this new program? They offer businesses the chance to license their (currently mislicensed) installed versions of WinXP, don't seem to offer a huge discount on that and want an assurance of no more mislicensing and an audit?
    Why would any business do that instead of just buying a normal volume license? What's the advantage in this?
    • I might guess that M$ is anxious to convert copies of XP they can never control (pirated and / or not using Windows Update) into copies they CAN control (fully updated, SP3, less cloneable, user bent over far and wide for the new WGA crap / DRM / rootkits M$ would like you to have).

      Simply, they may wish to decimate the number of XP installations that can be easily cloned and installed on other machines so as to be off the Microsoft control grid.

      • by ednopantz (467288)
        WGA crap / DRM / rootkits M$ would like you to have).

        What, did you use a slashdot post generator or something here?

        "Make sure you mention DRM and rootkits, and call Microsoft M$. Then finish cleaning your room."
  • And? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mpapet (761907) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @10:45AM (#20837159) Homepage
    In my limited experience in the U.S., there are two kinds of shops, ones that are good about not stealing software and the other that steals as they see fit. In the case of the shop that steals, they generally swing into compliance if the business takes off. In my limited dealings with my counterparts in Taiwan and China, they operate similarly.

    As much as I really, really don't like Microsoft's business practices, this kind of program is just fine by me. It is the brain child of some manager at Microsoft who figured out a novel way to further monetize their customers. Will this manager get a gold star on her review? Probably. Will it fail? (e.g. cost Microsoft a bunch of money) No. Will there be limited/no market penetration? Probably.
  • So now the cheapest way to get a brand new legal copy of 2k/XP/Vista is to d/l it from a bittorrent source and get it authenticated by M$?

    Disclaimer: haven't read TFA.

    • by toddestan (632714)
      After they send the BSA goons after you to do the required audit, you'd probably be wishing you had just bought a valid XP license in the first place.
  • Tinfoil Hat (Score:3, Interesting)

    by suv4x4 (956391) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @10:54AM (#20837305)
    To qualify, users of illegitimate versions of Windows XP Pro must pledge to use only genuine Microsoft software going forward and agree to have their software infrastructure audited.

    That's very subtle, they're signing to use only genuine Microsoft software, not signing to never use non-genuine Microsoft software. Could they come after me if I signed this and decided to go for BSD, or Linux or whatever?

    You think I'm paranoid? Check the universities, schools, and OEM's and if it's easy for them to ship/use non-Windows machines after their "exclusive" MS agreement.

    Then throw the audits in. Why would someone come out and say "ok I had 100 hacked XP machines. Audit me and lock me into agreement to buy your software", versus just silently buy the licenses they need?

    There's something bigger here, could possibly start going after illegal users based on data phoned home (during Error Reports, Autoupdates, etc.). If they do, I can see audits + mandatory Windows could be suddenly heaven compared to having unleashed the entire legal team of MS on your ass.
    • by Bert64 (520050)
      I would actually welcome a software audit, it would be fairly amusing...
      The only commercial software i have, is a copy of OSX that came with my macbook, and a significant number of machines running mostly linux, one or two running solaris.
  • by LinuxGeek (6139) * <djand.nc@NOsPaM.gmail.com> on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @10:54AM (#20837307)
    Everyone knows, once you go Pirate you never go back. Free lovin' of something ( even as bad as windows vista) makes it hard to go back to payin' for it... Thats why I love Linux, versions range from expensive business server to cheap and loose floozy, your choice! :)

    Seriously though, how is this position not monopoly abuse by MS? Can other software companies adopt this position and still survive? Letting people steal your software, knowing about it, and then getting them to agree to a contract to keep using the stolen version. This must make people that have been busted [osv.org.au] by MS and the BSA feel pretty mad. When can they expect refunds of the fines they had to pay? And a public apology too?
  • Cripes! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Tau Neutrino (76206) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @10:58AM (#20837379)
    It's bad enough I have to use XP. No way am I going to pay for it. Get real!
  • Improving security (Score:3, Interesting)

    by athloi (1075845) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @11:02AM (#20837445) Homepage Journal
    The botnets out there are composed of Windows computers that are unpatched. Some are unpatched through user cluelessness, but more commonly, through pirated copies of Windows XP. If it costs $200 to get Geek Squad to (fail to) clean viruses and trojans from your PC, and you can upgrade to a self-updating copy of Windows XP for the same price, wouldn't you?
    • Cuz most people don't know they have problems to start with. They just assume that a 130 second boot-time or hard-drive churning opening of Word is "normal."

      My parents download every single app they can find, and they're generally not stupid. It wouldn't surprise me that their box has at least a dozen viruses competing.

    • by sqrt(2) (786011)
      XP updates automatically even if it's not validated. Only certain things like DirectX, IE7, WMP11 require validation (interesting that none of my illegal* installs ever failed to validate anyway). Security patches are automatic for everyone, pirate or not. I believe the default setting is to download them automatically and inform the user when they're ready to be installed. This would be the same no matter where they got their copy, unless the user changes that setting.

      *computer came with a copy of XP, comp
  • I know it's trendy to clap our hands with glee that Vista is apparently not being taking up with the gusto Microsoft hoped, but what the hell does this story have to do with that?

    In the latest sign that Microsoft expects to support its Windows XP operating system for the foreseeable future...

    You know how Microsoft made their case for OOXML weaker by stacking the deck at every opportunity? It works that way for other things too. If something's wrong, don't keep tossing in arguments that are stupid, that undermines your case. Making comments like that make you seem peevish, and your opinion or argument suffers by ass

    • by mattgreen (701203)
      Hate to break it to you but a great majority of people here don't really believe in logical arguments. Most posts are emotional appeals that try to appeal to the consensus in the hope that they too can receive positive moderation and hence be viewed as important.
  • Desperado, why don't you come to your senses...

    It works on a couple of different levels. :P
  • An open letter to Microsoft:

    Dear Microsoft, The reason I am stealing a copy of Windows XP in the first place is because I like [PhotoShop, Quicken, (insert your own app)] and I was too lazy to switch to something that doesn't require your over-encumbered OS. But now that you're forcing me to, I'll be more than glad to.

    So kindly sod off and die.

    Sincerely,

    Joe Sixpack

    That's what I would do. If I were actually running an illegal copy of Windows and got that offer from Microsoft; not that I am, mind you

  • by mmell (832646) <mmell@hotmail.com> on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @11:44AM (#20838193)
    under Xen?

    Vista (as preinstalled on my Acer) horked within forty-five minutes of initial boot. The "PC Angel" software (which was supposed to do a reinstall from a hidden partition on the HDD) likewise barfed. After three weeks, I got the "Restore DVD's" from Acer, which likewise vomited. Long story short, Vista only stayed up long enough to get me registered, now it won't run at all.

    Funny thing . . . I got ahold of a student version of XP Pro - ran it up in a Xen domain to prove that I could, then it failed to install directly onto the hardware. That's right - my dual-core AMD X64 machine with a SATA drive can't seem to handle Windows XP, but Xen (under OpenSuSE 10.2) can. WGA works, the virtual XP system is fully updated and ready to rock, but I still have a three year old copy of Doom III which I've never run because I don't have a platform to run it on! So far, I'm only out thirty bucks for Doom III (plus an OEM Vista license, whatever that's worth), but I find it mildly irritating that I have to run a pirate version of WinXP just to get back some of what Best Buy/Acer/Microsoft owe me. Oh, and don't think about calling any of the above for help - M$ doesn't want to hear about it (after all, they didn't sell me a Windows OS), Acer's tech support people in New Delhi don't speak English well enough to understand what I'm trying to tell them, and Best Buy's response was (quite correctly) to offer to give me my money back on the hardware as a warranty issue.

    So . . . if I buy into this, will M$ continue to tell me that I have an OEM license and don't desserve support, or will they help me to actually get their software to install and run correctly (well, as correctly as M$ software runs, anyhow)?

    I think I'll keep my eyepatch and cutlass, thank you - at least, I know that they work. Arrgh!

  • This makes sense. They don't want to think about license compliance. They'd rather just let Microsoft do the audit for them and send them a bill, than risk someone installing a few extra, unlicensed copies of XP, and getting a nastygram from the BSA. From the standpoint of executives, any time spent on non-core-business activities (i.e. license compliance) is wasted time and lost money.

    Most businesses would rather hand MS a blank check and be done with the issue than spend time auditing their own sys

  • It seems to me that people/companies who unknowingly pirate Windows are few and far between. Also, voluntary self-identification as a pirate, and exposure to future audits, doesn't seem like that good a deal. There has got to be an advantage of some sort to sway people to go through this program instead of just going out and buying a new and valid license.

    In short, how much cheaper is it to self-id as a pirate and give MS a door into your infrastructure?

    In super-short, what's in it for me?
  • by HangingChad (677530) on Wednesday October 03, 2007 @12:46PM (#20839219) Homepage

    Sounds like a way for VAR's to approach small to medium size companies with an offer to "get legal" on their software installs. Which arises from the assumption that all small to medium size companies are running some unlicensed copies of something. The VAR's get a piece of the action and Microsoft has plausible deniability. Oh, those darn VAR's! They're such scamps (wink-wink, nudge-nudge).

    Reminds me of some of the things RIAA did. I could see VAR's dressing up like they're some type of investigator and showing up at some company unannounced, claiming the company might be running illegal software and this is their one chance to come clean or face legal action. Or maybe Microsoft tips them off because someone there is using a volume license key that doesn't belong to them. And it won't stop at OS software, I'm sure they'll audit everything. Workstations, servers, the whole enchilada. A VAR might be pimping for a number of different software companies.

    To me this is more of a sign of how desperate Microsoft is to keep up their quarterly numbers. When they need numbers they go back to the well of their existing user base and squeeze. After all, that's free money. Collecting on what's already out there.

    It seems so strange to me that companies take the most incredible crap from Microsoft. Switch already. If you can't handle the Linux tech stuff get a Mac.


  • Exactly how am I going to know when I have "Agreed" to these audits?
    • by Genda (560240)

      ...Exactly how am I going to know when I have "Agreed" to these audits?

      When you find yourself bent at the waist, suddenly staring at your ankles, while a trained professional from M$ demostrates for you in excrutiating detail, one or more of the more intimate aspects of the M$ EULA!

      - Microsoft and Buggery... like Like George and Dick... they were just made for each other!

  • So how I read this is...

    If I am using pirated software and want to stop, I can either

    1) Buy a legitimate copy of windows, replace my pirated software, and have no one ever know I was being illegal.

    2) Buy a legitimate copy of windows, replace my pirated software, and be forced to submit microsoft audits any time they want.

    So how big is the discount to make the second option sound better, ever?
  • 1. Install XP Home on 1 PC, Linux on any others
    2. Replace the bootsplash on the one XP PC with the one from XP Pro
    3. Waste auditors' time with your 100% fake XP Professional
    4. Sell unused discounted XP Pro for full price
    5. Profit!!!
    (optional 6. Piss them off even more when they return by removing that last windows install)
  • So perhaps someone who has can enlighten me:

    1. How do they do the audit? Do they install some sort of software or what? What if my systems are locked down tight, do they expect me to give them a user account with admin rights? Or visit every system in turn?
    2. Who pays the auditors? Because as far as I can tell, if I'm going to have to buy licenses for everything anyway, and they expect me to pay the auditors, I may as well just buy the licensing and have done with it.
    3. No business on Earth is 100% c
  • To qualify, users of illegitimate versions of Windows XP Pro must pledge to use only genuine Microsoft software
    So... no Firefox or OOo, then?

    - RG>
  • I'm not positive this is a new program, possibly a modification of an existing program as I seem to recall getting a 50% discount on an XP Pro disk maybe two to three years ago by letting microsoft/windows update detect that my version of windows was not legit, and then turning myself in. In doing so I had to promise not to do it again and fill out a check-box questionaire about where I obtained the software. I paid them the $150 or whatever it was (which I think is a fair price) and I got a legit copy of X

"I'm not a god, I was misquoted." -- Lister, Red Dwarf

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