Windows Vista Service Pack 1 is currently in its final stages of development in Redmond Utero, and heading for the first release candidate stage. Microsoft has even managed to promise that the general public would be able to get a taste of the service pack ahead of the first quarter of 2008, pointing to mid of December 2007, as the date of availability for a public build of Vista SP1 RC. At the same time, the Redmond company began discussing the modifications that the service pack would introduce in the activation infrastructure of the operating system. In this sense, Microsoft mentioned that it was evolving its anti-piracy strategy, in order to meet the ongoing threat posed by the phenomenon.
Vista was made available in November 2006 and in January 2007, first to business customers and subsequently to the general public, bringing with it a new level of anti-piracy mitigations, such as Activation 2.0 and
the Reduced Functionality Mode. Now, after a year since the operating system has been released to manufacturing, and just two months short of the celebration of the first month on the shelves, Microsoft claims that the piracy rate for Vista is half that of Windows XP. And at the same time, the Redmond company is making the illogical move of disabling Reduced Functionality Mode
starting with the first service pack for the platform.
Pirated copies of Windows Vista Service Pack 1, detected as non-genuine after failing the Windows Genuine Advantage validation, will deliver the same behavior as pirated copies of Windows XP. Namely, the users will be served "clear and recurring notices", informing them of the fact that Vista SP1 is non-genuine, but without any loss of access to features or of the functionality of the operating system. Net Applications credits Vista with over 9% of the operating system market, while Microsoft is boasting about having shipped in excess of 88 million copies of the platform to its channel partner. But, how desperate can Microsoft be to grow Vista's market share, if it will let its antipiracy guard down? And while we are on the same note... How can the Redmond company call the moving back to the "relaxed" antipiracy model of Windows XP, from that more strict in Vista, an evolution?
"Finally, we are committed to providing great customer service and support. For those systems identified as non-genuine, we will provide resources to help individuals acquire genuine Windows Vista. These principles will continue to serve as the bar we measure ourselves against in evaluating our anti-piracy efforts and how these efforts evolve over time to meet the continued threat of piracy," Sievert added.