If you’re an XP user, you may have been as cynical as me when you got the ‘Windows Genuine Advantage’ update notification recently. MS are ‘selling’ it with their own personal brand of laughably infeasible rhetoric, as a way for customers to ‘be satisfied that they are running genuine software’, and ‘be happy they got what they paid for’.
Now, I’ll give you a second to compose yourself because I’m sure you’re crying with laughter right now. That was certainly my first reaction. My second reaction was feeling rather insulted that MS thinks its customers are dumb enough to swallow that line of argument.
Of course anyone living on this planet knows, customers don’t give a flying toss whether their software has got a rubber stamp from MS on it or not, any more than they care whether technically they’re allowed to MP3 their CDs or not. Customers are not stupid and know what ‘fair use’ is when they see it, even if suppliers do not, and if they’ve paid their money and the software works, they’re happy, period. They don’t give a damn whether MS gives their seal of approval or not, it’s supremely irrelevant to them. I certainly don’t feel all warm inside because MS has confirmed my copy of XP as legit. I don’t wear my license sticker proudly in public, nor do I put ‘User of a genuine copy of XP’ on my CV. It’s just not important to me, or anyone else I’d imagine.
WGA is a way to scare people who are using pirated copies of Windows into paying for the real thing, it’s pure and simple, and so crushingly obvious it makes the official justification all the more patronising. The message is clearly ‘We’re watching you, sonny’. What’s somewhat controversial is that MS are pushing it out as a high priority update, much like a non-critical security flaw, when it’s not even fully tested yet - it’s a beta. Given that this software has absolutely no benefit to anyone except Microsoft, I call this stepping over the line. And I’m not the only one.
Yes, I know I’m bashing MS again, but I wouldn’t do it if they didn’t damn well deserve it so much 😀Before you label me as a rabid MS hater, bear in mind I do buy and use their software, XP and Visual Studio for example. But I have a broad software taste, have been around long enough to see through most of their marketing gloss, like other people’s software better for many other things, and dislike much of the company’s attitude to customers and the market in general.[/edit]