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Doug's Mailbag: Product Activation, Bing or Google, More

Doug asked last week whether Microsoft should've been made to pay that $388 million Uniloc fine (now overturned) just for making product activation a pain. These readers think not:

"Activation pain and suffering"? I don't know about you but I haven't gotten a false negative on WGA since the first time I used it under XP. I ignored the error and within a week, Microsoft had fixed it. I haven't had a problem with WGA since then, and I have upgraded my system to Vista and now to Windows 7. Once, I did move a legal copy of Vista Ultimate from one machine to another and a very courteous Microsoft representative manually registered my hardware for me. No questions asked.

In the end, Microsoft has a right to do what it can to make sure that Windows is being used legally. Whether WGA is effective enough to be worth the bad PR Microsoft has gotten over it is a different question. Frankly, I don't think that WGA is an effective deterrent against the real pirates -- those selling copies of Windows on the streets of Beijing. The very idea of it upsets a lot of honest, upstanding customers. But again, if Microsoft doesn't mind being bad-mouthed over WGA, they have every right to employ it to protect their intellectual property. It's certainly no skin off my back.
-Marc

No, they should not have to pay the consumer. In the first place, what inconvenience did the consumer suffer? The inability to steal a software product from the manufacturer? The product activation process is painless.

If people were honest, Microsoft would not be forced into product activation-type tactics. I am amazed at how many people pirate software. Does anyone realize the number of coding hours these products require? From that standpoint, the price Microsoft asks is extremely reasonable. As the owner of a company that does software programming for a living, I understand the need to protect your product. Stealing is wrong, and copying software to multiple machines without a valid (paid-for) license is stealing. Microsoft and any other company has the right to protect their investment.
-Arlene

Are you a Binger or a Googler? Readers share their search engine of choice:

I won't leave Google until there's plenty of talk about something else being better. So far there's not.
-Jeff

Bing and Google are on par, though I like Bing better for most searches. Bing gets me where I want to go quicker than Google.
-Anonymous

Bing is cool but I haven't found a compelling reason to switch from Google. A side-by-side search on each with the term "deploy Windows 7" produced twice as many hits on Google with links to the TechNet deployment site at the top. Bing had one TechNet blog link more than halfway down the first page but no other direct links to MS info.

It may take a while for Bing to provide more relevant hits but I'm afraid I have work to do, so I'll stick with Google.
-J.C.

And finally, if wishes were horses...

My first thought for a dream IT job is tech support for point-of-sale terminals in tropical beachside bars -- money being no object.
-Anonymous

Stay tuned for more letters on Wednesday! Meanwhile, tell us your thoughts by commenting below or sending an e-mail to dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Posted by Doug Barney on 10/05/2009 at 1:17 PM


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