Windows Genuinely Annoying
Microsoft’s renewed antipiracy push isn’t currying much favor among PC users running pirated software. In China, a nation where 82 percent of all software is unlicensed, many are lambasting the company over its Windows Genuine Advantage program, which blackens the desktop backgrounds of PCs running unlicensed copies of Windows and pesters their owners with constant warning messages.
“[Microsoft is] the biggest hacker in China with its intrusion into users’ computer systems without their agreement or any judicial authority,” said attorney Dong Zhengwei, who filed a complaint against the company with the Ministry of Public Security. “Microsoft’s measure will cause serious functional damage to users’ computers and, according to China’s Criminal Law, the company can stand accused of breaching and hacking into computer systems of Chinese. I respect the right of Microsoft to protect its intellectual property, but it is taking on the wrong target with wrong measures.”
So what are the “right” measures, then? Offering Microsoft (MSFT) software for free in China? Sounds like it. According to a survey of 574,923 PC users on Chinese portal QQ.com, 73.33 percent of respondents said they were using pirated versions of Windows XP, and 51.58 percent said they intend to continue using pirated versions. Just 15.55 percent said they plan to buy a licensed copy of the software.