October 22, 2008

Microsoft Launches Program To Eliminate Piracy In China

Microsoft has launched a new tool aimed at eliminating piracy of its software among Chinese computer users.

The "Windows Genuine Advantage" program has been met with angry reaction from Chinese bloggers. The program is set to turn the user's screen black if the installed software fails a validation test.

The majority of its 200 million computer users are assumed to be using counterfeit software.

"Why is Microsoft automatically connected with my computer? The computer is mine!" one angry blogger wrote on popular Chinese web portal Sina.com. "Microsoft has no right to control my hardware without my agreement."

"If the price of genuine software was lower than the fake one, who would buy the fake one?" another blogger wrote.

Another Chinese computer user asked who would return his losses if and when the computer screen went black.

"If, when I'm programming, the computer screen goes black, that will probably cause some important information to be lost," he said from a Beijing Internet caf©. "Who will pay me for my loss then?"

The Business Software Alliance and market research firm IDC reported in The Global Software Piracy Study that software piracy contributed to nearly $40 billion in global losses.

Dong Zhengwei, 35, a Beijing lawyer, described Microsoft as the "biggest hacker in China with its intrusion into users' computer systems without their agreement or any judicial authority," the China Daily said.

"Microsoft's measure will cause serious functional damage to users' computers and, according to China's criminal law, the company can stand accused of breaching and hacking into computer systems," he said.

"I respect the right of Microsoft to protect its intellectual property, but it is taking on the wrong target with wrong measures. They should target producers and sellers of fake software, not users."

Microsoft stands by its new program, saying it is part of its "commitment to help protect its intellectual property and to help you avoid problems before they happen."

Microsoft also noted that market research firm IDC reported in a recent study that obtaining and using pirated software can pose a serious security threat to organizations and individuals.


Image 2: Low res low detail screenshot of Chinese language version of Windows Vista, pirated, when affected by the new Chinese version of WGA implemented on October 20, 2008. Depicts the effects on the desktop background.


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