Microsoft Places Its Vista Anti-Piracy Concerns Above User Security

There was a time when Microsoft was an honorable company. It's getting more and more difficult to resolve any such notion with the 2006 version of the software giant.

In its latest bad decision, detailed in the Computerworld story, Vista and Longhorn to get new antipiracy measures, reported by Eric Lai, Microsoft has decided to place a price tag on security.

If validation code, written by Microsoft, decides that your installation of Windows Vista has been pirated, it turns off the Aero interface and a minor performance technology called ReadyBoost. I'm okay with that. But I am absolutely not okay with the third punitive measure: The disabling of Windows Defender, Microsoft's new onboard anti-spyware utility. Other punitive measures according to published reports include the disabling of Internet Explorer 7 and Windows Media Player. After 30 days, unvalidated copies of Vista will move into "reduced functionality mode," which has been likened by insiders to be something like Safe Mode.

Most people using "pirated" software have absolutely no idea that's the case. Opening up their PCs to Trojans, spyware, and identify theft scams in the name of getting them to pay up on their copy of Windows Vista is not only a very bad business decision, it's an appalling example of just how far Microsoft is willing to go to stuff its corporate coffers.

The true irony is that earlier this decade, Bill Gates promised to make Microsoft software, and Windows in particular, much more secure. And now that Microsoft may have achieved that (and the jury is still out on that), the company is already looking to turn a buck on it?

There's something wrong with a company that totes up the worst-ever software security record, then decides to make security a top priority, and then decides to withhold that security from any user that it deems hasn't properly paid -- even when the lack of validation is most often caused by the sellers users bought their computers from or the repair shops they brought their PCs to. Even when Microsoft's validation process is correct, which it probably is most of the time, it's my assessment that the vast majority of the Windows Vista users were victimized by others. And now Microsoft will be making them pay, first by reducing their security, then by reducing the functionality of Vista.

Hello! Is anyone in Redmond actually paying attention to what it's doing? Do they have any self awareness at all? Because I'm beginning to think that a lot of people are going to take a pass on Vista.

Microsoft is drunk on its own Kool-Aid. It has become this era's Gi-normous ACME Corporation, like Standard Oil and AT&T before it. It has completely lost touch with its beginnings. Because there was a time that Microsoft was David to IBM's Goliath. And Microsoft has more than once gulled the giant. But in its giant suit, Microsoft looks pathetic. Other than attempting month in, month out to deliver profits for its Wall Street masters, Microsoft lacks mission, has gotten far away from its roots and lacks any sense of innovation.

If ever Microsoft needed a course correction -- make that a total change of scenery -- it's now.

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