When it comes to software piracy, Microsoft may just be aiding the enemy.
Microsoft has been counting on gains against unlicensed software to boost revenue from the Windows unit, which accounts for a huge chunk of overall profits and sales. However, one of the company's own decisions could make its antipiracy battle more difficult.
With Windows Vista, Microsoft took an extremely tough stand on piracy. Computers that were not properly activated within a short period of time went into a virtually unusable state known as "reduced functionality mode."
In the newly released Service Pack 1, however, Microsoft is softening its stance somewhat. The reduced functionality mode is gone, and in its place, a series of warnings and visual indications that a computer is not running a genuine copy of Windows.
I would argue, though, that having an unusable copy of Windows is a far greater deterrent than having one that simply labels its user a pirate. Microsoft has maintained that the new approach will be just as effective and is more palatable to customers and partners. Color me skeptical.
But, will the changes automatically lead to an uptick in overall piracy rates? That's a more complicated question.
On its face, it would seem the answer would be a clear "yes."
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