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Ballmer blames piracy, threatens WGA crackdown

updated 01:40 pm EST, Mon February 19, 2007

Ballmer Blames Piracy

Illegal copying is a key reason for Vista's poorer sales, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has told analysts. In addition to warning financial experts that sales of the new OS would fall short of some expectations, the company chief has openly attributed the underwhelming launch to wide-scale piracy in developing countries known to bootleg the majority of their software. Upgrade sales were known to have tumbled versus the five-years-old launch of Windows XP.

Controlling their access was described as a key to turning around Vista's fortunes. "Piracy reduction can be a source of Windows revenue growth," Ballmer said.

Controversially, however, the Microsoft leader also suggested that the company's main solution would be to tighten its Windows Genuine Advantage protection scheme. Known as WGA, the technology lets Microsoft remotely validate systems before they can run specific features or updates, in some cases disabling OneCare anti-malware protection and other tools on suspected bootlegs. WGA drew criticism from many last year as the mild form of the protection implemented in Windows XP generated false positives, locking out legitimate users.

"We [want to] really ferret through how far we can dial [WGA] up, and what that means for customer experience and customer satisfaction," Ballmer said.

by MacNN Staff




  1. Tim_s

    Joined: Dec 1969


    It's a shame

    Does anybody actually listen to this shaved ape? Yeah sure, millions of people are actually running Vista, they just pirated it instead of buying it. If that's true, they paid too much for it.

  1. loudpedal

    Joined: Dec 1969



    First of all, I think a lot of people bought new PCs instead of upgrading their OS and then upgrading all the hardware that would be needed.

    However, I also think that Vista (upgrade sales + new PC sales only done to upgrade to Vista) is still falling dramatically short of Fester's expectations. I'd just like to think that if I had spend millions and ran over numerous deadlines to get out a product that fell flat, I'd have the balls to fess up to it. Not blame pirates. Besides, Microsoft knew pirating would happen. It seems to me that they made the anti-piracy features strong enough to piss off normal users but not strong enough to keep pirates at bay for more than a few weeks.

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