Dear Windows-Help.NET Subscriber,
One of Microsoft's most popular products among both consumers and businesses is slowly moving into its last days. Since Windows 95 was released five years ago, it has seen the advent of five subsequent operating systems (Windows 98, Windows 98SE, Windows Me, Windows NT Workstation, and Windows 2000 Professional) aimed at the desktop.
As of January 1, 2001, Microsoft will make Windows 95 available through its authorized OEM distribution channel only and will no longer directly license Windows 95 through its direct OEM channel.
Now this all sounds the same, but OEM distribution channel includes the network of distributors, dealers and small manufacturers who want to ship Microsoft products with their hardware. The OEM channel must procure Microsoft software through authorized distributors such as Merisel, Ingram Micro, and others.
This will in practice mean that it will be hard to get a computer with Windows 95 pre-installed.
But that's not all... As of January 1, 2001, Quick Fix Engineering (QFE) support for Windows 95 is no longer available, and assisted technical support for Windows 95 has changed to a paid-only model. With Windows 98, a customer gets two free calls from Microsoft.
Reducing distribution and support of a product is a significant step in its eventual discontinuation. Microsoft is slowly preparing to give Windows 95 the axe, and is also using the upcoming Office 10 to accelerate the process (Office 10 is not compatible with Windows 95).
Microsoft Anti-Piracy Solutions Extended to Upcoming Versions of Office, Windows and Visio Products Worldwide
Microsoft announced plans to step up its worldwide anti-piracy efforts through the expansion of existing technological solutions. The company will apply its "Product Activation" technology together with an edge-to-edge anti-counterfeiting hologram to the next versions of many products in the coming year, including the Microsoft® Office suite, the Windows® operating system and Visio® drawing and diagramming software.
As an anti-piracy technology, Product Activation discourages casual copying by limiting the number of times a product can be installed and activated on individual computers.
"Consumers sometimes unwittingly violate their license agreement by sharing software with others," said Allen Nieman, technical product manager for Microsoft's licensing technology group. "Through education efforts and the use of technology solutions like Product Activation, we're working to make sure that customers who choose Microsoft software products acquire genuine software and are eligible for technical support and product upgrades."
Since the launch of the edge-to-edge hologram on retail versions of Windows 2000 CD-ROMs last February, Microsoft has expanded the hologram to retail versions of its Office 2000 and Windows Millennium Edition products. The edge-to-edge hologram has been a highly successful anti-counterfeiting feature, with no counterfeiters to date being able to replicate this technology.
The edge-to-edge hologram is etched into the surface of the CD-ROM, and when the CD-ROM is tilted in light, it displays the product name and product-specific holographic images from the hub to the outer edge of the disc. The various holographic images can be viewed at Microsoft's Piracy Web site.
Also read this related article: Anti-Piracy Measures to Hurt Microsoft?