With the upcoming release of Windows 7, it must have seemed, to some, like a propitious occasion to unleash another attack on the much debated ‘feature’ called Windows Genuine Advantage.
Though at least two other high profile suits were launched concerning the Microsoft anti-piracy measure, this one might have legs, due to the time taken, and information gathered.
“Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA), Microsoft’s euphemistically named digital restrictions scheme, is the target of another spyware and false advertising lawsuit. ‘Microsoft this week was sued in a Washington district court for allegedly violating privacy laws through Windows XP’s Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) copy protection scheme. Similar to cases filed in 2006, the new class action case accuses Microsoft of falsely representing what information WGA would send to verify the authenticity of Windows and that it would send back information [daily IP address and other details that could be used to trace information back to a home or user]. The complaint further argued that Microsoft portrayed WGA as a necessary security update rather than acknowledge its copy protection nature in the update. WGA’s implementation also prevented users from purging the protection from their PCs without completely reformatting a computer’s system drive.’ There were at least two other lawsuits launched in 2006 over WGA. According to the Wikipedia article, none of them have been resolved. The system is built into Vista and Windows 7.”
Though Microsoft has every right to protect its intellectual properties, it is absolutely unfair for it to characterize WGA as a protection for the customer. It is, in every way, an advantage only for Microsoft. For the customer it is an annoyance, and simply more overhead on their computer, similar to the Easter Eggs found in many Microsoft applications.
Of all the hair-brained protection schemes that have been used by companies, WGA seems to have lasted the longest, as the likes of others have been rendered moot or unworkable in today’s computer landscape (i.e. the Lotus 2.01 hard disk unmovable block schema).
To my way of thinking, Microsoft makes things worse for itself, by doing such things as openly allowing Windows XP to be openly pirated in the Orient, only for the purpose of stifling Linux adoption, or, along the same vein, licensing copies of Windows XP for $3, and copies of Windows Vista for $10, in the same countries. It makes the casual observer believe that if Microsoft has enough money to effectively give away XP or Vista, merely to thwart competitors, it must be making way too much on copies sold to paying customers elsewhere.