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Microsoft Tries To Rope In Unlicensed XP

Microsoft yesterday announced the Get Genuine Windows Agreement.

Filling a gap in its strategy to make sure its business customers are paying for each installed copy of Windows XP, Microsoft yesterday announced the Get Genuine Windows Agreement (GGWA).

GGWA is aimed at increasing Windows XP licensing compliance among businesses. Microsoft apparently believes that some customers misunderstood their agreements, and were installing full copies of XP on corporate computers, which is illegal, rather than upgrading the OS, which the license allows.

Mis-licensing appears to be a common occurrence, according to a Q&A on Microsoft's Website with Cori Hartje, director of Microsoft's Genuine Software Initiative.

So does "leaking" of license keys, as Hartje explained. "Microsoft issues a unique key to customers who enter into volume licensing contracts. When a company's license key leaks, it can be used to facilitate counterfeiting by "unlocking" the software repeatedly by unauthorized users who did not pay for it."

Microsoft is offering two flavors of GGWA for different-sized companies: GGWA for Small and Medium Organizations, and GGWA for Large Organizations. The Small and Medium Organization contract requires at least five licenses, and is available through Microsoft channel partners. The Large Organization agreement is available directly from Microsoft or through Large Account Resellers (LARs).

Redmond sees GGWA as an amnesty program, and companies who don't take license compliance seriously should note that it won't be tolerated indefinitely. "These purchases are intended to be a onetime catch-up for the unlicensed situation," Hartje said in the Q&A.

Software piracy should be less of an issue with Windows Vista and the forthcoming Windows Server 2008, Hartje said. Both products come with the baked-in Software Protection Platform (SPP). SPP includes anti-piracy technologies and tamper-resistant features that should protect not only Microsoft, but its customers from loading illegal copies of Windows on its computers.

GGWA is the latest addition to Microsoft's Genuine Software Initiative, which began a year and a half ago to reign in illegal software. The first effort from the initiative was the Get Genuine Kit (GGK), which sparked controversy and an accusation that the company used the Windows Genuine Advantage feature to spy on customers. GGK is meant chiefly for home users and some small businesses.

The announcement of the GGWA is Microsoft's second this month that relates to software piracy. On Monday, Microsoft detailed its Software Licensing and Protections Services (SLP Services) 2008 program. SLP Services protects Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) by making code developed on the .NET Framework much harder to crack and reverse-engineer, and enabling ISVs to granularly create and control SKUs.

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Reader Comments:

Fri, Oct 12, 2007 Bill Gates Redmond, WA

I all businesses will comply with the GGWA. My bank account is getting to the 2 billion mark and is looking kind of low. Please comply and increase my bottom line. Otherwise I may have to take the reigns back from Steve Ballmer!

Thu, Oct 11, 2007 Anonymous Anonymous

In the end, what's the difference whether you physically upgraded the PC or wiped it and started fresh? To my knowledge, other than a clean, better running system absolutely nothing! I feel that as long as you have the qualifying pre-requisite licensing, it shouldn't make any difference. You have purchased the original product, now you have purchased an upgrade to the product but instead you wipe the PC and install a fresh copy of the final version...so what! In the past, and even right now, many software vendors have allowed you to install the "new" version fresh and it simply asked for you to insert the qualifying product media or enter your previous license key information. From a money perspective, Microsoft isn't losing anything as a result of this??!!

Fri, Oct 5, 2007 Anonymous Anonymous

LINUX!!!

Fri, Oct 5, 2007 Drake Anonymous

install xp instead of upgrade? well if the upgrades didnt crap out a pc after the 'upgrade' maybe people would upgrade. Maybe MS should not put the full install on the cd? why is that there then? maybe because they know an upgrade is a crappy method also. ME anyone?

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