I pretty regularly see people in forums and blogs comment that DRM or anti-piracy technology doesn't work and does nothing but hurt the good paying customer. After years of developing and managing anti-piracy technology that protects Microsoft products from being counterfeited and pirated I can say that programs such as this can be effective at protecting products and customers. One of the reasons Windows Genuine Advantage has been as sucessful as it has been is the focus we put on educating and alerting customers when their Windows software wasn't genuine. By alerting the customer we make it more difficult for counterfeiters and others to make victims out of people. I have seen many times customers who have been directly helped by the program. Microsoft recently released a whitepaper that provides some good examples of businesses who were victims of counterfeit software and were largely unaware of it.
In March Microsoft released a whitepaper titled The Surprising Risk of Counterfeit Software in Business (PDF), this whitepaper follows up on a previous paper (published by IDC in 2006), which explored the risks customers are exposed to when seeking out and acquiring counterfeit or pirated software online. The paper focuses on the risks of counterfeit in midsize business computing environments, based on a study conducted in the UK where randomly selected midsize businesses environments were examined for the presence of counterfeit software. 37% of software found in the businesses examined turned out to be counterfeit. Furthermore, all of the counterfeit found was of high quality, which means that the businesses likely purchased it in good faith but spent money on software that was neither licensed nor genuine. Check out the paper at the link above and let me know what you think.
- Alex Kochis
Director, Genuine Windows