Microsoft's anti-piracy tool has marked more than one in every five copies of Windows as bogus, the Redmond, Wash., developer said Tuesday, while more than half a million users may have been mistakenly pegged as pirates.
As it beats the drum about the danger of pirated software, particularly Windows, prior to the release of Vista, Microsoft released some figures from its Windows Genuine Advantage program. WGA uses software downloaded to the PC to authenticate Windows XP before allowing a user to retrieve automatic security updates and other software.
In the 30 months since WGA's 2005 launch, 512 million have tried to validate their copy of Windows, Microsoft said. The "non-genuine" rate, or the fraction pegged as counterfeit, stands at 22.3%. In other words, 114 million users who ran the audit software were labeled pirates by Microsoft.
"That's actually lower than the piracy rate overall," explains David Lazar, the director of Microsoft's Genuine Windows. Research done by the Business Software Alliance, an industry group dedicated to combating piracy, puts the global piracy rate at 35%.