Friday, July 21, 2006

Windows Genuine Advantage: An Overview and Screenshot Gallery:

Aside from basic trust issues--Apple, for example, does not burden users with Product Activation or any similar anti-piracy technologies in its Mac OS X operating system--Microsoft made two major mistakes with WGA. The first was to silently post a beta version of the tool to Windows Update as a Critical Update, thus ensuring that it was quietly and underhandedly installed on hundreds of millions of customers' PCs: I mean, seriously. Is Microsoft honestly making guinea pigs out of its entire user base?

The second mistake was that WGA Notifications was also "phoning home" information to Microsoft on a regular basis. That's right: Not only was the software secretly installed on your PC, but it then regularly contacted Microsoft servers and provided them with data about the instances of pirated and nonpirated software out there. Customers and security experts reacted with alarm, as well they should: Microsoft had literally shipped spyware to its customers. Microsoft, meanwhile, reacted as they often do when something like this happens: They made as if nothing serious had happened and acted shocked that anyone could think otherwise. So much for the Glasnost of the consent decree.

10:42 AM