Gnomie Nick Andison from South Australia writes:

Dear Chris,

This is a response to the video you uploaded, Apple Trusts Users More Than Microsoft? Having watched the video, and read the caption in which you believe and sing rather loudly the fact that “Apple does seem to trust its users more than Microsoft, because it allows them to do so.”

My interpretation as to why Microsoft has imposed mandatory activation and therefore, by your logic, doesn’t trust its customers is this:

Let’s look back to Windows 9x (95, 98, and ME) — no mandatory activation there. Now let’s look at Windows NT (NT, 2000) — again, no mandatory activation there. In fact, there isn’t even mandatory activation in the NT and 2000 Advanced Server edition of Windows. But the funny thing is, if I search any torrent site, or ask someone I know, guaranteed I can get a copy of Windows for free. Moreover, up until XP, Microsoft would have appeared to trust customers to use one instance of Windows per computer. Yet clearly customers did not.

There are quite a number of customers who did, much like there is a large number of Apple users who, rather than honour the Apple license agreement, will use a single install disc on multiple computers. The point I am trying to make is that once upon a time Microsoft, by your logic, by not having mandatory activation, trusted its customers to do the right thing. And given the fact that I can download any Windows Operating system from 3.1 to 2000 from just about any torrent site, shows to me that a majority of Microsoft customers certainly didn’t honour the ‘trust’ Microsoft invested in them.

So do we blame Microsoft for introducing mandatory activation into newer versions of Windows? I personally don’t. I think, given the amount of pirated copies of Microsoft software not limited to Windows, it’s disgusting. Microsoft software is not that expensive; yes, I’ll admit that some things are priced a bit steep, but they’re not millions of dollars. Look at it this way: If you want to buy a new computer but it’s expensive, do you steal it?

I think that Microsoft’s mandatory activation was almost unavoidable and, while some of us may disagree with it, hate it, or even plain don’t care, it’s here to stay. And I think Apple would be wise, in the new version of Mac OS X, to incorporate some form of antipiracy measures.