Microsoft to Get Tough on Piracy With Vista

IJ Reilly

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These new measures sound even more intrusive than the copy protection schemes built into in XP.

Microsoft Corp.'s forthcoming Windows Vista will take much harsher steps to curtail piracy than previous versions of its operating system, including crippling the usefulness of computers found to be running unlicensed copies of the new software.

The software maker said Wednesday that people running a version of Windows Vista that it believed was pirated would initially be denied access to some of the most anticipated Vista features, including Windows Aero, an improved graphics technology.

If a legitimate copy is not bought within 30 days, the system will curtail functionality much further by restricting Web browsing to an hour at a time, said Thomas Lindeman, Microsoft senior product manager.

Under that scenario, a person could use the browser to surf the Web, access documents on the hard drive or log onto Web-based e-mail. But the user would not be able to directly open documents from the computer desktop or run other programs such as Outlook e-mail software, Lindeman said.

Microsoft said it would not stop a computer running pirated Vista software from working completely, and it would continue to deliver crucial security updates.

The Redmond, Wash.-based company also said it had added more sophisticated technology for monitoring whether a system is pirated. For example, the system will be able to perform some piracy checks internally, without contacting Microsoft, Lindeman said.

Microsoft also is adding ways to more closely monitor for piracy among big corporate users, who tend to buy licenses in bulk.

Microsoft plans to take similar tough measures with the forthcoming version of its Windows server software, dubbed Longhorn, and to incorporate it into other products down the road.

The crackdown shows how much more seriously Microsoft has started taking Windows piracy, which for years has been extremely widespread in areas such as Russia and China.

The Business Software Alliance, a software industry group, estimates that 35% of software installed on PCs worldwide is pirated.
http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-vista5oct05,1,7418245.story
 

Jovian9

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Feb 19, 2003
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How many people that buy a copy of Vista are going to have problems "legitimateizing" theirs once they install it? Probably lots :)

And hopefully lots of those lots then start looking more seriously at Apple computers.
 

Frogurt

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Sep 8, 2006
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How much you want to bet this is one of those Microsoft "features?" I can see the meeting: "Well we can't get the anti-piracy software to fully disable a computer...ah h@#$, just call it a feature! We'll say we're being nice and aren't completely f%*&ing with those poor schmucks." It's amazing Microsoft puts their time into these things rather than say getting software out less than three years after the announced release date.
 

IJ Reilly

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Most purchasers of new PCs with OEM Windows installs won't face this of course, but anyone who upgrades to Vista, or builds their own PC, will be greeted by the register-or-die injunction. Actually this is already true with XP, so I'm really not sure how much worse it will be with Vista, but it does seem that Microsoft is prepared to dial up the pain.
 

840quadra

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I could be wrong, but I don't see Apple doing this with their Operating system,. However I do see it for programs like iLife with regards to getting more strict with licences. More so with their versions of Final Cut and other premium programs. I see WAY to many copies of Final cut Studio, and Final cut Pro available on Craigslist that I know for a fact are illegal.

I hate software pirates, it makes the prices go up for the rest of us, and makes companies make it harder for customers to use legitimate copies. I like that Microsoft wants to protect their investment, but I believe in true Micro-fashion, that they will muck this up.
 

IJ Reilly

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Apple has far less incentive to try this with OSX because it runs only on Apple hardware (for now, at least). The real problem with anti-piracy schemes is that they're really an honesty tax. Only the people who don't know how to thwart copy protections are being kept honest. The dedicated pirates will always find a way around them. These are the people Microsoft really needs to go after, but they don't with much enthusiasm because they are the hardest to catch. So instead, they make life a little more miserable for everyone else.
 

MisterMe

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Jul 17, 2002
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IJ Reilly said:
Most purchasers of new PCs with OEM Windows installs won't face this of course, ...
I am not at all sure that this is true. This new scheme is an extension of Microsoft's current authorization scheme. Currently, all the anti-piracy stuff takes place behind the scenes when a user registers a new computer or Windows installation online. Offline registration requires that the authorization code be typed in. The bottomline is that no one escapes. If your brand new Computer Shopper home-built gaming special has trouble getting properly authorized, there is no reason to believe that your new Dell will fair any better.
 

IJ Reilly

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MisterMe said:
I am not at all sure that this is true. This new scheme is an extension of Microsoft's current authorization scheme. Currently, all the anti-piracy stuff takes place behind the scenes when a user registers a new computer or Windows installation online. Offline registration requires that the authorization code be typed in. The bottomline is that no one escapes. If your brand new Computer Shopper home-built gaming special has trouble getting properly authorized, there is no reason to believe that your new Dell will fair any better.
Right, but I expect for owners of OEM hardware with pre-installed Vista, the exercise will be fairly perfunctory. Or maybe not... who knows at this point? It sounds like the basic scheme now used for XP registration will be amped up but it isn't entirely clear in what way.
 

ghall

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Jun 27, 2006
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My only question whould be how whould they know that a particular copy of Windows is pirated? If Apple ever does anything like this, I'm switching to Linux.

Great job Microsoft! Pissing your customers off is a great business strategy.
 

Edot

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Jan 29, 2002
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How childish. Why don't they just have the OS/software shut down. What is the point of frustrating the user with silly restrictions. It is like telling a kid he can't play outside if he doesn't eat his veggies. Just lock the damn doors. MS pretty much is saying, "We will allow pirated software, but just make if frustrating to the users." Instead of just saying, "If you don't buy the software, you can't use it."
 

notjustjay

macrumors 603
Sep 19, 2003
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Canada, eh?
WOW.

George Orwell was a prophet! :eek:

Great job Microsoft! Pissing your customers off is a great business strategy
Yeah, right along the lines of releasing products that don't fully work, waiting 5 years between flagship product releases, being slow to pick up on customer complaints about security vulnerabilities in your products, charging prices beyond the average person's reach "just because you can", ...
 

apfhex

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IJ Reilly said:
Only the people who don't know how to thwart copy protections are being kept honest. The dedicated pirates will always find a way around them.
Well, they're trying to go after the casual pirates, they know they can't stop the dedicated ones.

Read about this on Ars earlier. What I don't like the sound of is how it will KEEP checking that you have a "Genuine" copy of Windows after you've already activated it. So if they suddenly decided your code is illegitimate, maybe a year later, you're still hit with WGA crap.
 

MacBoobsPro

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Jan 10, 2006
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ghall said:
Great job Microsoft! Pissing your customers off is a great business strategy.
They are not customers if thet havent bought it ;) If someone had stolen something off me I would be more than happy to piss them off.
 

IJ Reilly

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apfhex said:
Well, they're trying to go after the casual pirates, they know they can't stop the dedicated ones.

Read about this on Ars earlier. What I don't like the sound of is how it will KEEP checking that you have a "Genuine" copy of Windows after you've already activated it. So if they suddenly decided your code is illegitimate, maybe a year later, you're still hit with WGA crap.
This is how XP works, in effect. It keeps track of your hardware profile. If too many things change, it assumes that the copy of XP is now installed on a different PC and you will be facing the 30-day countdown again, and pleading your case to Microsoft. One of the reasons I don't bother upgrading the motherboard on my XP box is that I don't care to play the mother-may-I game with Redmond.
 

drake

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Jul 5, 2005
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This is why I decided to give OS X a try, definitely not the "superior quality" of the Mac hardware. :p Yet another stupid move by MS.
 

Marble

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I don't understand the crippling thing. It's one thing to be draconian about copy protection, but it makes no sense to go half-way with it.
 

EricNau

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Edot said:
How childish. Why don't they just have the OS/software shut down. What is the point of frustrating the user with silly restrictions. ...
That's exactly what I think. If you have the capability to detect pirated software, why not have it totally shut down; I would actually think this method would be easier (and cheaper).
 

MacsRgr8

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What else do they know about ypur computer?

They can detect too many hardware changes..... WHAT? You buy a home-made gaming PC, insert a larger HD, up the RAM, upgrade the grfx card, swap the CPU, and presto!!! Your legit copy of XP is not legit anymore???
Tell me, I've got that wrong... :confused:

Micro$$$$$oft is really getting paranoia. I understand what they are trying to do, but it is like having a black box in your car which registers your every move.
I thought that "the free world" is also about protecting your privacy?

"Get your copy of Vista today... with free Stasi client!"

This surely will help Apple's cause, though... ;)
 

Coheebuzz

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Oct 10, 2005
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I wanna play devils advocate here and ask why should Windows or even OS X be completely free of some copy-protection? What i mean is that if you download a trial version of a software, then you are using it with some features turned off until you buy it. If you pirate it then you are doing something illegal. This stands with all kinds of software, from design apps to games. Why should an OS be any different? - especially with MS being a strictly software company and Windows being their best selling product.

Also, i don't have any experience with Windows, but if you really have to serialize Windows every time you upgrade your PC as some users mentioned, then i simply see it as a dumb copy-protection implementation from Microsoft's side rather than a viscous capitalistic move.
 

Lixivial

macrumors 6502a
What's strange is that this new measure is a bit of Microsoft recanting. They're still planning on broadcasting patches to suspected pirated copies of Vista; something they did NOT do with XP SP2.

I guess they figure users don't care about security, but they do care about being restricted in features, such as web browsing. Pretty clever. And I don't understand why this is a bad thing, if it's implemented well; it's pirated software, it ought not be allowed to run at all. But given the way WGA has misappropriated approximately 20% of legitimate XP machines as pirated, I don't know if I like this idea. Mine was initially one of these, so I'm a bit skeptical about all this.
 

Marble

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May 13, 2003
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If Microsoft wanted to release a "trial" of the OS, they should do it officially.

By disabling only some features, they're basically acknowledging that it's very possible you may be misdiagnosed as a pirate, and giving those users a chance to correct the issue with their support services. But when a feature (the specific copy protection) has to be designed around a flaw (the likelihood of misdiagnosis), there's something wrong with the world.
 

nplima

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Apr 26, 2006
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EricNau said:
That's exactly what I think. If you have the capability to detect pirated software, why not have it totally shut down; I would actually think this method would be easier (and cheaper).
If a computer got to shutdown or to freeze, a dumb user could be lead to wonder if there was some technical problem with the hardware or software. By allowing people to visit the MS website and to read warnings and instructions about what's (presumably) wrong, there is a better chance that the user will be lead exactly to the customer support that deals with licensing.

This has 2 effects on helpdesk management: 1) tech support for regularly licensed users does not get flooded by calls from users requiring licenses for the OS; 2) repreesntatives behind the licensing hotline get to be specifically trained with the legal aspects of licensing and on how to deal with clients that were identified as pirates by mistake.
 

Scarlet Fever

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Jul 22, 2005
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i can't wait... a few months after Vista's release (around 2761 at this rate), forums all over the world will be filled with complaints that they can't get Aero to work, and a month later, that their internet stops working after an hour...
 

Nym

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Oct 4, 2006
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(I know my opinion will sound extreme but don't bash me!)

I like to pay for GOOD software... Windows is not even close to being a good OS, maybe it will change in Vista but c'mon, piracy makes the world go round, it gives the poor people a chance to level things up with the rich ones who can buy the Adobe Creative Suite (just an example) without thinking twice about their money funds. Software companies still make billions with all the piracy around, so does the music and film industry, or do you actually think that everyone can afford to spend 20€ (my currency) for a freakin' music album? Have you seen the price on culture these days? Do you actually think that you're "hurting" these multinational companies by using their products illegally? Do you feel sorry for them?
Do you think that Microsoft doesn't steal from others? (errrm, APPLE?...).

I think that all day we're being ripped off by these major companies in every way so buy the software if it is really good and if you feel the company behind deserves your hard earned money. Other than that, try before you buy is my all time computer motto, and if by any chance you use pirated software, I wont judge you, some people are born "less-fortunate" and we too have to make a living... sorry if I'm being a little extreme but it's just my point of view. Anyway, don't get me wrong :)