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The "Genuine Advantage"

Thursday, June 08, 2006
So I found this article today while I was cruising over on Slashdot. It talks about the Windows Genuine Advantage program and a little-known "call-home" feature that Microsoft sneaked in there.

According to the director for that particular program, David Lazar, this quick, unauthorized call back to Microsoft reporting on your computer is a "safety measure" because "the company was worried that it might have an unforeseen emergency that would require the program to terminate quickly". If that's not the weakest excuse ever, I don't know what is.

Another gem from the article is this one"
Lazar said that so far, about 60 percent of users who were offered the piracy check decided to install it.
I don't know what spin-control planet he's living on, but to download certain updates or tools I've NEEDED I've had to download the check. It wasn't offered as an option; it was offered as a mandatory add-on to certain tools I've NEEDED to work with Microsoft operating systems.

I really think Microsoft has the wronog idea here. Now, you may say argue that everything I say is coming from a "Mac" guy, but remember I do this professionally, kids. Check out another interview with David Lazar that was published in BetaNews. Here's my favorite paragraph:
What we have seen in terms of participation has amazed us, and that is that our opt-in rate has been above 56% - at times as high 60%. And for certain downloads, specifically the Windows AntiSpyware, we have seen opt-in rates as high as 70%, which tells us that customers are really interested in knowing if they have genuine software and to see if they will get special benefits from having this genuine software relationship with Microsoft.
Now let's ignore the bullshit "opt-in" for a moment and examine this statement. Remember that Windows has a 90% install base around the world (or something like that) and it's the choice of most businesses and many individuals. I question the fact that 70% of consumers opt-in specifically to the Windows Genuine Advantage. And I further question the assertation that these 70% are really looking for a "special genuine software relationship with Microsoft."

In conclusion, I feel that this whole program is crap and now I'm not only being watched on my phone but my computer is checking in on me, too. My solution? I guess... buy a Mac.


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