Pirates may be able to use SP2

Users who have pirated copies of Windows XP may be able to use the forthcoming service pack, Microsoft executives said today.

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By  Peter Branton Published  May 19, 2004

Users who have pirated copies of Windows XP may be able to use the forthcoming service pack, Microsoft executives said today. Windows XP Service Pack 2, scheduled for release later this summer, is being touted by the company as a major security upgrade for the OS, one which it is anxious for as many users as possible to adopt. However, it still hasn’t decided what steps to take to stop those users including people who have illegal copies of Windows XP. Haider Salloum, marketing manager, Microsoft South Gulf said the company has decided to block the five most popular pirated product IDs from working with SP2. While this seems a tiny number, Microsoft believes these five account for at least 20% of all pirate copies of Windows, Salloum said. However, he said the company had not decided on whether it should take other steps to prevent pirates using SP2. “”Its going to be very tough to stop it altogether anyway,” he said. “By blocking these five product IDs, as discussed, we can make it a little bit more difficult for our friends in China to business.” Mazen Shehadeh, product marketing manager for Microsoft South Gulf, said the company was looking at ways that they could prevent piracy more effectively, but that a policy decision to implement them had not been taken yet. “There’s not a yes or no answer right now,” he said. “Piracy is not our key objective with SP2, security is,” he said. Industry watchers have suggested that Microsoft may be advised to not block pirate users from using SP2, as unsecured users amounts to bigger problems for all users of Windows, legitimate or not. Reports have suggested that this dilemma is what is causing the debate within Microsoft, with the comments of Barry Goffe, Microsoft group product manager being widely reported on the web. “It is a tough choice but we finally decided that even if someone has a pirated copy of Windows, it is more important to keep him safe than it is to be concerned about the revenue issue,” he was widely quoted as saying. “Having these unsecured users means bigger worm and virus outbreaks, which also impacts the internet and consequently, our legitimate users as well.” “The risk to users is the same risk as using illegal software,” said Salloum. “However, other users can still download the individual patches to protect their computers from attack.”

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