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Doug's Mailbag: Microsoft Anti-Piracy, More

Last week, Doug asked readers how they feel about Microsoft anti-piracy tools. Here are some of your thoughts:

So who's afraid of the big, bad wolf? Let Microsoft check my PC; I'm not hiding anything. With a world full of honest people, costs would reflect a lower pricing in products, and the Internet would remain an invaluable tool for business, knowledge and assistance.

I really don't object to WGA and its related anti-piracy tools, but this is because I have never had a problem with them that wasn't easily (if not entirely conveniently) solved. The problem, as I see it, is that these tools do, from time to time, generate false positives for honest, law-abiding users. What's worse is that these tools don't really thwart the "pirates for profit." The people caught in the middle of even properly functioning anti-piracy tools are not the pirates themselves but rather those that have been duped into buying forgeries or previously activated licenses.

It just is not clear to me that it serves Microsoft well to alienate generally honest users who buy one license and use it on multiple systems (at home or at work) when these tools do little to thwart the losses Microsoft experiences in the Third World by the REAL PIRATES! If Microsoft loosened their EULAs to permit the same license to be on a notebook and a desktop simultaneously, or if they offered aggressive pricing for multiple license packaging (up to three upgrade licenses, say, for the price of one full license), I would think Microsoft could sell the idea of strict enforcement of licensing a lot easier.

Whether you are in favor of anti-piracy measures or against them seems to depend upon whether you sell software or are trying to install one license on three machines! But I do agree that some anti-piracy procedures are a very large pain, even for licensed users.

Mark wonders why Google Apps is getting so much attention while the also-free OpenOffice seems to be mostly under the radar:

I'm curious concerning your thoughts on the 'excitement' over Google Apps, particularly in light of your comment in the recent newsletter: "Many customers are apparently going with Google, not because of the cloud and access from anywhere, but because it's so cheap."

OpenOffice is free and certainly enterprise-level-ready with word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics and databases. It's backed by a major name in the business, Oracle, and has no advertising linked to it. Yet, it certainly hasn't generated the interest that the new kid on the block, Google Apps, has. When one considers the cloud computing aspect, yes, Google has the upper hand; however, Microsoft has the desktop neatly tied up and isn't the desktop where most of us still do 90 percent or more of our work? If people are, as your comment says, looking for cheap software, why hasn't OpenOffice come to the forefront? Maybe Oracle needs to put some advertising dollars behind it?

Jeff has a tip for one reader who had problems with Outlook in the Office 2010 beta always sorting his e-mails by conversation instead of by date:

You can easily take the view out of the conversation view and sort strictly by date. When you click the option to sort by Date, From, To, Categories, etc., you should see the next-to-last option is Conversations, and the first option on the pop-out list is "Show Messages in Conversations." Uncheck this option, and the list is sorted strictly by date.

I happen to really like the conversation view, as it keeps related e-mails together.

And Paul has a word for those who expressed their dislike for the Office ribbon:

I am so tired of these people who claim to be experts, like those who can't figure out to highlight a row in Excel (shift+space bar) and others whining about how much space the ribbon takes up (double-click the tab to hide repeat to show or just click once to use once then have it hide itself again). Yes, new things are not always fun but if people spent as much time learning as they do whining, they would be knowledge experts in short order.

Share your thoughts with the editors of this newsletter! Write to [email protected] Letters printed in this newsletter may be edited for length and clarity, and will be credited by first name only (we do NOT print last names or e-mail addresses).

Posted by Doug Barney on 03/01/2010 at 1:17 PM


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