Well, I’ve been away for a while on a combination of time off and doubling up to cover for others taking time off. Even though I’ve been away on vacation, many of my colleagues have been busy at work and it’s shaping up to be busy fall.  I’m excited to be back and will be blogging fairly frequently going forward. I will share as much as I can as quickly as I can.

First off, nothing major to report on the WGA front over the last few weeks but the team is working on some improvements and additions which I’ll be talking about soon, more later on this. Overall we have a pretty large number of installations of the WGA Notifications package out there and we’ve not received reports of any new issues for quite a while. Another reason there hasn’t been as much news coming out of the team is while we’ve been focused on delivering some key pieces of technology we’ve also been working on a few different priorities simultaneously.

One of the chief ongoing challenges we face is communicating to those people who are unaware that their software was either counterfeit, unlicensed or improperly installed. People who own systems that fail validation often are resistant to the fact that there might be an issue with their software that should be dealt with. I think it is quite understandable that many customers, particularly those who are victims of an unscrupulous reseller, are reluctant to believe that their software is either not genuine or not licensed. My belief is that, at least for the victims, this is chiefly because those resellers know what to say to try to head off questions before they are asked. For the reseller who might expect questions because they know what they’re selling isn’t genuine it would make sense for them to want to prepare that customer for any doubt they might face with a convenient story. They might talk about a discount or surplus software or some other reason why there isn’t a manual or a Certificate of Authenticity or something else that might otherwise raise more questions. In some cases they themselves might have been duped with the same story. We hear of resellers who receive regular fax blasts or other solicitations to buy surplus or discounted software. And those that report this kind of thing to us know it isn’t genuine but how many resellers don’t know? To help with this issue we’re in the process of working on improvements to our web experience that can help provide access to additional information to help users confirm the facts about their software and in some cases fix a problem immediately. More to share on this tomorrow.

Another thing that has been keeping me pretty busy is the time I’ve spent supporting some analysis done internally on actual samples of counterfeit Microsoft software that have been obtained from around the world. We’ve been looking at how the software might be different from what was actually released, whether code has been altered or additional code included etc. We’ve seen some pretty interesting results and I should to be able to share more info on this research soon.