In excess of 22% of all the operating systems processed via the Windows genuine Advantage program resulted in validation failures in 2006, Microsoft revealed. Windows Genuine Advantage is an integer part of Microsoft's anti-piracy efforts aimed at reducing the use of illegal Windows XP and Windows Vista operating systems. Introduced back in July 2005, the WGA analyzed over 600 million unique products up until the end of March 2007, explained Cori Hartje, Microsoft's anti-piracy director on the one year anniversary of the Genuine Software Initiative.
As the Redmond company has been one of the major contributors in an action meant to bring down a Chinese based software counterfeiting syndicate, allegedly having pushed over $2 billion worth of pirated Microsoft products, statistics related to the WGA's activity were also made public.
"As part of the Genuine Software Initiative, Microsoft is continuing to invest in anti-counterfeiting technologies and product features that protect the company’s intellectual property and alert consumers to the presence of counterfeit software. Windows Genuine Advantage enables customers to validate their software remotely with Microsoft, giving customers the power to check whether they are using genuine software. Since July 2005, 512 million users worldwide have validated their copy of Windows through Windows Genuine Advantage. In 2006, there were nearly 400 million validations, with a failure rate of 22.3 percent," the Redmond company stated.
This means that in 2006 alone, Microsoft was faced with the hard reality of identifying approximately 90 million copies of pirated Windows. In addition to the counterfeit Windows copies detected by the WGA, the Redmond company also disclosed the fact that 914,177 items of its pirated software were seized by worldwide law enforcement authorities. Still, the WGA played a crucial role in the Chinese software piracy syndicate smackdown.
"The evidence provided by Microsoft customers through the Microsoft piracy reporting tool proved to be essential in tracking down this criminal syndicate," said David Finn, associate general counsel for Worldwide Anti-Piracy and Anti-Counterfeiting at Microsoft. "It is no exaggeration to say that the ability of our customers to identify counterfeit software through Windows Genuine Advantage, and the subsequent help of our customers and partners, was absolutely critical in ultimately identifying this massive counterfeit manufacturing and distribution network. We take seriously our responsibility to protect customers from the productivity and security risks associated with counterfeit software, and we are committed to educating customers on what to look for and what to avoid, deploying engineering innovations to better protect the software, and pursuing criminal prosecutions to protect customers and partners when appropriate."Microsoft, Software, Piracy, WGA, Windows Genuine Advantage, Counterfit, Windows