Microsoft Cracking Down On Pirated Software in China, Probably Starting WWIII

Microsoft Cracking Down On Pirated Software in China, Probably Starting WWIII

Microsoft has expanded its latest WGA initiative — you know, the one that turns your computer off or screen black every hour — to China. An guess what! Since the majority of Chinese computer users run unauthorised copies of Windows, they’re kind of upset. Of course, there are plenty of good discussions to be had about how measures like this could affect Microsoft’s image and limit computer access in poorer parts of the world, but one awesome Chinese blogger/aspiring economist sees things differently:

If the price of genuine software was lower than the fake one, who would buy the fake one?

Someone should tell Microsoft!

Another Reuters interviewee and noted villainous software thief kind of agreed:

If, when I’m programing, the computer screen goes black, that will probably cause some important information to be lost,” he said. “Who will pay me for my loss then?

Microsoft, after considering the plan to pay software pirates for not knowing how long an hour is, (probably) decided to stick to their guns on this one. Not to mention the fact that the WGA scheme is just nagware — it won’t cause any data loss.

Dong Zhengwei, a lawyer from Beijing, doesn’t care about that minor detail. He offered a more sober opinion on the matter, but only after spending a short paragraph accusing Microsoft of being the “biggest hackers in China:”

I respect the right of Microsoft to protect its intellectual property, but it is taking on the wrong target with wrong measures. They should target producers and sellers of fake software, not users.

All this really means, though, is that we can probably expect a whole new breed of more effective WGA cracks in the next couple weeks.

NOTE: Reuters’ story implies that this software will disable PCs. This is not true, as the new WGA program just prompts users to get a legitimate copy of Windows every 60 minutes. Pretty annoying, but not catastrophic. [Reuters]