Microsoft wiggles WGA bait

Microsoft reckons that the official launch of its Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) scheme in the South Gulf region could help turn users away from the dark side of software piracy and towards the light of genuine licensed copies.

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By  Stuart Wilson Published  July 26, 2005

Microsoft reckons that the official launch of its Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) scheme in the South Gulf region could help turn users away from the dark side of software piracy and towards the light of legal licensed copies. The WGA initiative, which had been piloted in several countries prior to a global rollout, gives users of genuine software easy access to product updates and value-added offerings. Microsoft reckons that this service will help resellers and PC assemblers show end-users the value of investing in genuine software. Using the WGA model, ongoing system improvements will only be available to genuine users. Windows users visiting the Microsoft download centre, Windows update or Microsoft update websites are asked to participate in WGA. Customers download an ActiveX control that checks the authenticity of their Windows software. Those that are successfully validated can continue with their downloads. Visitors using counterfeit software will be notified and will not be able to access downloads apart from security updates, which remain available to all Windows users — with or without WGA validation — via the download centre or through automatic updates. “Microsoft South Gulf strongly values our relationships with partners and customers,” said Abdullatif Al Mulla, general manager at Microsoft South Gulf. “While Microsoft is requiring customers to validate their software, we are offering them a range of benefits and incentives to do so.” “We are also helping our reseller and system builder partners, who often have difficulty competing with the low prices offered by software counterfeiters — WGA helps them to show the value of genuine software. We are giving our customers the benefits of genuine software and supporting our partners’ business activities, thereby ensuring maximum advantages for both,” he added. “During the ten-month pilot of WGA, we have been very encouraged by the large number of customers — more than 40 million globally — who chose to participate in WGA because they were concerned about piracy and wanted a way to determine whether their Windows software is genuine,” said Mazen Shehadeh, desktop product manager at Microsoft South Gulf. “It also became clear that customers enjoy the benefits reserved for genuine users, with the peace-of-mind that their software will deliver the features, options and performance they need.” Given the fact that essential security updates remain available to all users of Windows, Microsoft will have to ensure that the added value of its ‘ongoing system improvements’ is enough to justify the expense that end users will incur should they decide to make the move from illegal to legal software. The WGA scheme has now gone live in the South Gulf region.

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