Come September your Windows install might be given 30 days to live if Microsoft determines that it’s ‘non-genuine’.
“in the fall, having the latest WGA will become mandatory and if its not installed, Windows will give a 30 day warning and when the 30 days is up and WGA isn’t installed, Windows will stop working, so you might as well install WGA now.” — Microsoft Technical Support
Is this just rumour and conjecture fueled by a rampant Microsoft diss-machine and Microsoft’s lack of openness on WGA. Sort of. WGA has a bad track record, as does Microsoft, WGA isn’t exactly accurate when it comes to determining what is genuine and what isn’t as a lot of people have been burned by it.
What are the odds of Microsoft throwing every non-genuine Windows a 30 day kill-switch? Not high I’d say, as the majority of Windows installs in the world are non-genuine. What I think will happen is the Windows experience for non-genuine users is going to get worse. Nag screens, time-outs and Microsoft propaganda will be be mandatory – making it a pain to sit through but it’ll still work.
So why won’t the kill switch be thrown on? Massive lawsuits, huge backlash and a boost for all of Microsoft’s competitors is why. You think companies and countries would take the kill-switch without biting back? No chance. The effect on Microsoft’s customer base would be just as bad, it’s not as if the Microsoft image is good anyway, it’s a tarnished brand and pulling this could make the brand tailspin.
The boost to Apple and Linux would be slight given that WGA cracks already exist and the kill switch would be cracked well before the 30 day timer ever activated. That said, a percentage would move from Microsoft and the bad taste would linger. Any boost to Apple and Linux (or whatever) can only be good, lets have more competition in the marketplace.
How would Vista be seen after Microsoft’s kill-switch? Who would trust a Microsoft OS again? Companies that were not burned by the notoriously inaccurate WGA would and Microsoft’s cash cow would roll on, those that were burned will look at the options and large contracts could swing away from Microsoft. In general home users will accept whatever is installed on the PC they buy, but they go on the advice of connectors, communicators and mavens. If the key information collectors turn from Microsoft to another solution then the masses will follow.
Microsoft is on thin ice already as far as its public perception is concerned the last thing it needs is the backlash from a kill-switch.
Disclosure: I’m an Apple user but use XP professionally every day as an MCSE certified IT security analyst.
Microsoft has stopped WGA phoning home daily and provided instructions on removing WGA. http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=921914. How about a one click removal, Microsoft?