Bill and Steve,
I know you guys have a lot on your plate with Windows right now, but I thought I would try and make your life a little easier by solving the piracy problem for you. I've worked out a plan to completely put an end to piracy of Microsoft products and it's just a modification of your current licensing scheme!
Ever since you guys moved to using Windows registration combined with license keys, you've certainly put somewhat of a roadblock to piracy in place. But, people are still pirating Windows. You know that and I know that. I think part of the problem is that you guys were a little soft on the issue. If you really want to stop piracy of your products try this:
1. Keep track of every one of those codes in a database
2. Require that all Windows machines have an always on or "phone home" connection to the internet. No internet? No Windows.
3. Disable a Windows installation if any one of those codes was not generated by MS, thereby destroying all registration key generators
4. Disable multiple Windows installations if there are duplicate registration codes/software keys
5. Get rid of Volume License Key versions of Windows
6. Require users with disabled copies of Windows to buy a new registration key at the full price of a new copy of Windows. This can be extended to people who originally had pirated copies so that they don't lose the data they have on that machine.
These simple changes would most assuredly end Windows OS piracy because it would no longer be possible for people to install Windows on multiple systems without MS's knowledge. This is good because it would end piracy as we know it today. This could be extended to MS software such as Office as well. People would complain but that doesn't really matter as the end goal is to end piracy. Or is it???
UPDATE: I will note that no one seems to want to touch this topic with a ten foot pole. Is it because no one really wants to stop piracy? Including the big companies that purport to loathe it? Is because a lot of you are afraid of being caught with a pirated copy of Windows or other Microsoft products? Is it because a lot of you don't want piracy to stop since it is how you acquire some or all of your software?