Microsoft fights software pirates with Vista
Avast, ye mateys: Windows Vista will eliminate a licensing loophole that has proven popular with Windows software pirates since the introduction of Windows 1995. Microsoft technically requires every copy of Windows to have a unique licensing key entered in at installation, to prove that the software was paid for. But for more than a decade, Microsoft has given large corporate customers so-called "volume licensing keys" that let them install Windows on all of their employees' PCs with a single key. Forcing corporations to track thousands of keys was too cumbersome, so Microsoft just performed occasional audits, mostly trusting its largest customers not to abuse the system. But naturally, pirates have latched onto these corporate keys as a way to churn out illegal copies of Windows.

With Windows Vista, Microsoft is putting the honor system to an end, writes tech trade CRN. Vista will include "key management" features to track Windows installations. For corporate customers, that has pluses and minuses. Key management may mean paying more for software in the short term. But for companies that are trying to stay honest, it will cut down on in-house expenditures to track copies of Windows. And for pirates? Maybe it's time to raise the white flag.
Will Vista's key-management features cut down on piracy? Tell us below.
Posted by Owen Thomas 11:36 AM 8 Comments comment | Add a Comment

Did the end of Napster stop music sharing? Heck NO!
Posted By BIll, Cheyenne Wyoming : 12:54 PM  

It may have some impact but like anything in the software world there will always be a way around it. I don't think you will ever elmintae the pirating of software as long as people are prepared to spend the time hacking the software in the first place.
Posted By Michael McGimpsey,Wellington,New Zealand : 12:08 AM  

This software is written from humans and it will be cracked from humans. It is just a matter of time. The only way to go without it is to lower the prices and give the consumers the to choose what should be in the system and what not. Remember the iPod and the 89 cent story - that's the way.
Posted By Gregory, Atlanta : 12:22 PM  

I would be nice is Microsoft could fix this problem correctly, but I have my doubts. Volume Pricing is good. Let's say a company buy 200 computers with Windows Vista installed. Can those 200 computers be licensed as Vista, and tracked via the Microsoft Website. Let's say I take half of those computers install Linux on them and blast away Microsoft. Now I should be able to go to Microsoft and declassify the licenses as available licenses to use. I have my doubts that Microsoft will use this scheme with Vista. BTW Red Hat uses this scheme. I also think installing Vista for free is worth while for Microsoft, but after 30-days the operating System will force the user to register or pay for the installation, if the code is already used. This will get around of a lot problems for temporary installs of Vista.
Posted By Barry Spotts, Austin, TX : 1:05 PM  

It will slow down piracy at first, but pirates always find a way around these things.
Posted By Ben Levy, Chicago, IL : 1:25 PM  

they will find a way to cheat microsoft, they always do
Posted By Joe C, Brooklyn NY : 3:41 PM  

Piracy protection is like wrapping a christmas present. It can always be unwrapped, and usually in less time than it took to wrap it.

Microsoft's protection in the past has mainly succeeded in making it more cumbersome for big businesses to be legit. Their licensing transfer schema has flat out been annoying, and nothing but. This pushes users to adjust their software strategy. Office users to switch to GNU software such as OpenOffice, corporate environments to start looking at alternatives in the *nix environment.

It is, as always, evolution. Apple begat Mac, Mac begat Windows, and judging the trend of MS re-centralizing around advertising and internet concepts, someone is going to step in to the void it leaves in the desktop environment.

Over the last 10 years GNU and open source software have been steadily rising. The masterminds in the tech world, the geeks and nerds with spare time, have branched all over the place for the love of making things do what they never have. The corporate world has latched on, creating distros (distributions) for the corporate world to handle licensing and essentially tailoring the OS to the needs of the entity.

MS tried to serve up to their different user markets with XP Home, Pro, and Corporate. They just can't compete with the package schema of OS environments of the *nix flavor. GNU and opensource release updates and new products faster than any centralized corporation can. *nix packages make building your OS as easy as maintaining what software you want and don't want on your system. Everyone already does that. Strip away the long-held fear the masses have imbibed for years that *nix is confusing and hard to use, and there's no question who will be on top.
Posted By Noah Snare, Albuquerque, NM : 4:49 PM  

This is why I buy only macs...you learn never to use microsoft-based products after you windows machine crashes (and it inevitably will), and you can't re-install the software you paid for because of all the piracy protection. No wonder Microsoft is dying. Good riddance!
Posted By Nate, Hamilton OH : 12:41 AM  

To send a letter to the editor about The Browser, click hereTop of page

Got a news tip? Send it to The Browser


Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.