This was a title that I never though I would write. But the truth is that Microsoft is happy with the way Windows Vista piracy is evolving. Is there a catch to this? No. The fact of the matter is that Windows Vista has delivered a heavy blow to software counterfeiters. The reason for this is the new Windows Genuine Advantage security mechanism integrated into the operating system.
You may not notice this on the surface. On the surface, the Internet is crawling with Windows Vista cracks, hacks and workarounds. On the surface, every Windows Vista edition has been cracked and is available for download via peer-to-peer networks. But this is not the true extent of Windows Vista piracy.
Because the 30 - 35 counterfeit software percentage that Microsoft puts forward also includes counterfeit copies of Windows Vista that are actually sold. Alex Kochis, a senior licensing manager with the WGA team revealed back in February that bootlegged copies of Windows Vista were dirt cheap, going as low as $5. This is a Windows Genuine Advantage success and the reflection of the impact delivered by Reduced Functionality Mode.
"This is one of the places I'm most excited about the technology and the opportunity we have," Microsoft Corporate Vice President of Windows Client Marketing Mike Sievert commented about Vista piracy. "With Windows XP, the pirated version of XP was the exact same as the genuine," he added as quoted by Mary Jo Foley. But WGA will lock Vista and make it useless. And the WGA mechanism has also been built in such a manner that it can be continuously updated.
Of course that, in this respect, Microsoft's response to Windows vista cracks has been less than prompt. The 'timer crack' or '2099 crack' is just such an example. Kochis promised on January 2, 2007 that the crack would be addressed soon. Almost three months later, the Windows Genuine Advantage Team has not yet tackled the issue. Is Microsoft that happy that it simply gave up?