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Microsoft Adds Verification To Subtract Piracy Losses

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The Windows Genuine Advantage program leaves the pilot testing phase and becomes a mandatory check against pirated software.

The Redmond-based software company has moved its WGA program to being fully in service now. A user on a Windows platform who wishes to perform a software update will have their computer probed for pirated operating system software.

While the pilot program required users to manually enter the 25-character product code for their version of Windows, WGA now performs that scan automatically. Once verified, the user can go forward with the update.

Should the scan detect the Windows product key as being counterfeit, the user has a couple of options. First, if the software was purchased from a business, the user can complete a piracy report, send Microsoft the product CDs and the proof of purchase, and receive a licensed copy of Windows in return.

Without a proof of purchase, Microsoft offers the user the chance to purchase Windows XP Home for $99 or Professional for $149, a discount of about 50 percent off retail pricing.

Security updates for Windows will not be hindered by the WGA check; it is thought Microsoft would prefer to have one less unsecured operating system in the wild even if it can’t extract a license fee from the user.

Microsoft and the Business Software Alliance consider piracy a growing problem that needs to be stifled quickly. The BSA contends piracy costs businesses (and the governments that tax them) billions of dollars each year.

The problem has become so bad that President Bush recently created a high-level post in the White House administration to focus on anti-piracy initiatives. That job opening came in the wake of Commerce Secretary Guiterrez’s recent visit to China, where he claims a street vendor offered him a pirated copy of Star Wars Episode 3 for one dollar.

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.

Microsoft Adds Verification To Subtract Piracy Losses
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