Microsoft to Offer Some Windows XP Pro Users With Pirated Versions a Break
by Arie Slob
Hello Windows users,
Last year September Microsoft launched a pilot program called the "Windows Genuine Advantage" Program (read my article about it).
According to Microsoft, every year, millions of consumers and businesses worldwide are hurt by counterfeit software that they have purchased unwittingly, and many companies that sell legitimate software have difficulty competing with the artificially low prices offered by software counterfeiters. Counterfeit software puts users at risk of receiving an inferior product that may present security risks, be missing code or contain malicious code.
Research indicates that the cost of software piracy exceeds $29 billion per year world-wide. 36% of users worldwide run pirated software and around 22% of PCs in the US use a copy of Windows that is not genuine. Often the users are unaware that they have been sold pirated software.
Starting last Wednesday, customers in the United States whose copies of Windows XP Professional do not pass validation will be presented with the option of getting a complimentary copy of Windows XP Professional. To take advantage of this offer, it will be required to submit a proof of purchase, the counterfeit CD, and to complete a counterfeit report with details of the purchase (of the counterfeit Windows).
Microsoft will also offer an alternative for other customers that are not running genuine Windows, in case they do not qualify for, or choose not to take the complimentary offer. Microsoft will offer those customers a kit to scan their Windows system files, and if their files match the originals, convert their copy of Windows XP Professional to genuine. Microsoft will make a genuine version
available for $149 (versus $299 estimated retail price) for those users.
Customers who qualify for the complimentary offer will receive a copy of Windows XP in the mail within 10 working days, including a new 25-character Product Key.
Customers who request the electronic license offer will receive their new 25-character Product Key and instructions on how to download the Windows Product Key Update Tool via email within 24 hours. A backup CD will also be shipped via postal mail within 4-6 weeks.
The current offer runs through July 30, and Microsoft will use the experiences gained, and possibly extend the offer to other markets. A decision will be made in the 2nd half of 2005.
If you want to try to validate, you can go to the Microsoft How to Tell Web site, and initiate a validation.
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What About Longhorn?
You might have seen some information posted about Microsoft's next operating system, currently code-named Longhorn. During last months WinHEC (Windows Hardware Engineering Conference), Microsoft handed out copies of a "Developer Preview" version.
Most visitors to the conference where not impressed. The version Microsoft handed out had hardly anything new to show for. Paul Thurrott commented "This has the makings of a train wreck" in his WinHEC Blog. Most people however forget the focus of WinHEC: It's solely catering for the hardware community. They just need a build of Longhorn to get building their drivers on.
Microsoft provided me with a copy of the WinHEC build (5048), but I can't tell you much about it. The End User License Agreement (EULA) includes: ".... you may not disclose confidential information to third parties, including reproducing, disseminating or posting screenshots of the software and related information." Several sites who had posted screenshots were asked by Microsoft to remove them.
Beta 1 of Longhorn should be available this coming July. Let's hope Microsoft manages to impress us after all.
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