Microsoft is getting ready to crack down on illicit copies of Windows by denying users the ability to download additional software, and eventually security updates.
A lot of pundits are complaining about Microsoft's new policy. Not me. I'm thrilled that Microsoft is going to go out of its way to highlight its ridiculous licensing and pricing, which can only make open source OSes look better by comparison. To paraphrase a line from one of the good Star Wars movies, "The more you tighten your grip, Billy, the more users will slip through your fingers."
Microsoft has made noise before about enforcing its licensing and requiring registration, but the company has always left a lot of wiggle room for users to install Windows without actually having to pay for a license. When faced with the choice between paying for Windows or using something else, some users will reach for their wallets -- but others will start considering other options.
By the way, I don't condone using Windows without a valid license. Microsoft has every right to charge for their software, just as open source developers have the right to use the GPL, BSD, Artistic License or whatever other license they fancy. If you're going to use Windows, you should be paying the piper. If it seems silly that you should have to pay for a separate license for Windows for every computer in your home, maybe Linux is something you should consider.