2003.04.08

Windows key leak threatens mass piracy: Oh sure, on the surface this looks like a bad thing for Microsoft, but put on your conspiracy hats and get ready for a ride!

Microsoft wants to sell software. And they will sell software. As long as Windows is running on a lot of computers, they will sell a lot of software.

They want to sell this software to get money. That’s simple, right? Right. Now, to use the old ‘razor blade’ argument, can we see that Microsoft can make money even if someone gets a free copy of Windows? Sure they can, they can sell you Microsoft Office, or Visio, or Project, or Publisher, or some games, and in doing so, they are selling software. Give away the razors, sell the blades. You can get a cell phone for free nowadays – with activation and a service contract – they’ll find some way to get the money they need.

So, let’s say that you can purchase a copy of Windows, or you can get an illegal copy – if you buy it, Microsoft gets your money, and you get the product. If you get an illegal copy, Microsoft does not directly get your money, but you do get the product. When you buy a new PC doesn’t Microsoft get a cut of that money? (I think they still do.) And by insuring that some people will get ‘free’ copies of Windows, they are ensuring that people will use it, and it will continue to be a dominant operating system.

Personally I’d like to see Microsoft crack down on any illegal copies, and add even more protection (return of the dongle?) so that installing and using Windows becomes so much of a hassle, no one in their right mind would do it. (Some would argue that you’d have to be out of your mind to use Windows anyway…)

Ok, that’s it. I’m done.

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