Software giant Microsoft, in an effort to curb piracy across the globe had launched the Windows Genuine Advantage program. Aimed at detecting whether the software loaded on your system is genuine or pirated, it nags users of pirated Windows to buy a license. Although this move is not exactly welcomed by even genuine users, it’s not surprising that the Chinese are against it, considering the rampant piracy there.
Over the years, Microsoft has not taken a tough stand on its Windows operating system being widely pirated globally. However, with the financial crunch hitting companies globally, Microsoft values your dollars even more.
A couple of years ago, prior to the launch of Office 2007, Microsoft had launched an anti-piracy drive in the UK. Microsoft had then made a statement that it believed upto 63 per cent of Microsoft Office installs in the UK could be pirated. Michala Alexander, head of anti-piracy for Microsoft UK says that the company’s investigations have revealed only the tip of a counterfeiting iceberg in the UK. Alexander said, “Piracy costs Microsoft at least $250 million a year in lost sales. The problem is phenomenal. We had set up a Web site, Office Genuine Advantage, to allow users to go online to validate their Office software, and in three months, 4,000 people have attempted to validate their software with 63 per cent discovering they were running an illegal copy.”
Microsoft is hoping to cash in on those who may not have intentionally pirated their products — such as people who buy systems with pre-installed pirated software, or those who don’t know that you cannot install from a friend’s CD.
Taking the fight global should significantly increase revenues, considering the higher rate of piracy across the globe.
A furious blogger on a Chinese site said, “Why is Microsoft automatically connected with my computer? The computer is mine! Microsoft has no right to control my computer without my agreement.”
While Microsoft is justified in taking a stand at protecting its intellectual property, whether users in China, the world’s fastest growing market, decide to switch to genuine Windows or change their operating system will decide whether this move by Microsoft was wise at all.