A recent article from Australia highlights the complications Microsoft faces as it tries to crack down on piracy of its Windows operation system, which is particularly rampant outside the U.S.
In an irked commentary/report on the "spyware" flack over XP's Windows Genuine Advantage applet, Australian IT notes that many users are just beginning to discover that their copies of Windows aren't properly licensed.
The blame may well lie with whitebox PC vendors who installed pirated software several years ago. Whitebox PCs are increasingly rare in the U.S., particularly in the enterprise, but are still common in many markets, particularly in emerging economies where licensing and intellectual property are considered quaint notions, at best.
Even an IT consultant from Brisbane, in the sophisticated Australian tech sector, says that nobody reads the end-user agreement for Windows and that ultimately, Microsoft will go beyond annoying pop-up warnings and actually force users to buy licensed software. Well, yeah. Resentment over what is perceived as a crackdown (Microsoft is being sued in the U.S. over WGA) is palpable.
Many experts have noted the relatively high cost of Windows as a huge advantage for Linux in China and other world markets. Redmond countered with its XP Starter Edition for Asian markets in 2004; similar cost incentives may be needed to convert unlicensed users who are sniffed out by programs like WGA.