WGA - The "A" stands for Advertisments

WGA - The "A" stands for Advertisments

Summary: Just when you think that WGA can't possibly get any worse, it suddenly does.

TOPICS: Microsoft, Windows

Just when you think that WGA can't possibly get any worse, it suddenly does.

As you probably already know, I'm no fan of WGA, but when Microsoft turns this anti-piracy tool into a marketing stream, something's gone seriously wrong somewhere.

Stephen Wildstrom, a writer for BusinessWeek, documents his experience with WGA.

My windows Genuine Advantage experience, which doesn't provide any discernible advantage to anyone but Microsoft, hit a new low today. I fired up a Vista laptop that hadn't been turned on for awhile, and of course it immediately downloaded a batch of updates, including a new version of WGA. When the software ran, it opened a browser window (requires Internet Explorer). A bar across the top of the page congratulated me on successful validation, but the bulk of the Window was given to an ad for a $159 upgrade to Vista Home Premium. It's bad enough that Microsoft is using what is supposed to be a security update process to try to extract more of its customers money. But this particular pitch was completely pointless since the system was running Windows Business, from which an "upgrade" to the Home version makes no sense.

This is just lame.  Using WGA as a marketing stream is bad enough, I thought this was about making sure that the customer is running a genuine copy of Windows, but running untargeted ads is worse still because this is just going to confuse and irritate customers.

Are we on the brink of a new kind of advertising?  Something like "based on the tracks that we think you've pirated, here's some that you might like to buy ..."


Topics: Microsoft, Windows

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  • ROI

    It only seems fair. Microsoft has spent billions acquiring and securing an enormous user base. Now they're monetizing that investment. That's part of their fiduciary responsibility to their stockholders.

    I you don't like it, don't use their products.

    PS: have you ever noticed what the acronym for "return on investment" spells in French?
    Yagotta B. Kidding
    • They already got their return

      Their ROI comes from people buying the product to begin with. If they continue down that road with WGA than it becomes just another piece of spyware that needs to be removed by spybot.
      • Only part of their return

        That's why it's an [u]investment[/u].

        [i]Their ROI comes from people buying the product to begin with.[/i]

        Don't be silly. There are any number of examples where the vendor's business model depends on follow-up revenue. Auto dealerships, for instance, make almost all of their profits from the service department.

        Microsoft can't grow their market share any more, so in order to keep Wall Street happy they have to increase their per-seat revenue. Raising the upfront costs would interfere with sales, so they have to make it somewhere else.

        One of the more promising opportunities is advertising. Under legislation currently being considered in the US, MS and other software vendors would be exempted from "spyware" laws and other constraints on gathering and using personal information as long as they user affirmatively agrees to the terms (think, "EULA.") The bill would preempt State laws, BTW.

        Now, [b]that[/b] is a revenue stream that Google can't touch. Google may be able to serve up ads based on the search terms you enter, but only Microsoft can serve up ads based on the metadata from your collection of llama pr0n. (And, no, I'm not accusing them of doing so. Merely pointing out the untapped revenue potential.)

        I'm sure that someone will insist that they don't dare because of user revolts. ROTFLMAO. The American consumer meekly consents to grocery stores (among many others) keeping track of what junk food, drugs, laxatives, etc. they purchase in return for paying the same prices that used to be standard (the new "special" prices), even though there are alternatives. MS wouldn't ask any more for being able to continue to use your computer, and they wouldn't remind you of the fact by requiring you to fish through your collection of cards on a regular basis.

        Out of sight, out of mind.

        Again, I'm not saying that this is the plan. I am saying that if it were, people would accept it and the stock would go up.
        Yagotta B. Kidding
        • Correctomundo

          That's exactly why I am not moving past Windows XP and I will have only two of these in the stable. Everything else will run W2K or Linux Host/W2K Guest.

          Just say no.

          BTW I don't shop at any store that gives the "real" price, instead of penalizing me, for using a [b]"preferred customer" card!"[/b]
          • Six sigma

            [i]BTW I don't shop at any store that gives the "real" price, instead of penalizing me, for using a "preferred customer" card!"[/i]

            I notice that retailers don't seem to be afraid of you and me.
            Yagotta B. Kidding
    • I can't believe anyone

      would actually defend using an update as an excuse to try to sell the user something.

      P.S. I am a shareholder, and I think this is a bad idea.
  • Welcome to the new order

    Where ever time you sit at your PC you get bombarded by adds from every possilbe direction by every company with something to sell.
    • The money isn't in serving the ads

      It's in gathering the information necessary to target them.

      The best part of that end of the business is that people focus their resentment on the ones they see. Much less consumer resistance.
      Yagotta B. Kidding
      • How long before the WGA ads become

        a request to subscribe to some Microsoft service to store your personal info and MS OS and application settings online. A .MS analog to the .Mac service from Apple (which is going the way of the dodo bird anyway)?

        Just think, every update could become another opportunity to buy or subscribe to more stuff from MS until thet [i]get to the market nirvana of a purely subscripted software model[/i]...
        • "Hi - for your security you MUST update...

          .. from XP to Vista.

          - Click here to commence downloading your Vista upgrade

          - Click here to order your Vista upgrade DVD

          In order to remove a security threat this version of XP will delete itself in 30 days. Thank you for using Microsoft's WGA upgrade service".
    • I Don't Get It With Ubuntu Updates

      I sit back and enjoy the silence.
      • Now if only that box

        could do something useful like run MS Office, AutoCad, Photoshop, on and on and on...
        • You sound like a man who WANTS to change (nt)

        • But I do run those apps on Linux

          nuff said...
          • Not AutoCAD.

            That South African translater will not let you do 3D. If it breaks any functionality it is a lesser product. When it runs as good or better, then you can make that claim.


            Notice how they dismiss the client as a moron for not doing it in paper and pencil, instead of blaiming the translator for not coming thru. "Ah you don't need it anyway". Arrogant B*stards.

            Besides if you can afford AutoCAD, you can definitely afford Windows. Also AutoCAD requires product activation. The one is a turnoff for folks trying to save money and the other you have to do in Windows anyway. Since Win2K and XP are very stable, why bother porting and supporting another system that has different libraries? The logistics would be overwhelming.

            FreeBSD would be a better port which is rarer but more uniform in structure.
          • But what if he's like 99.999% of PC users...

            who have no use for AutoCad. And you can probably take that out to a few more 9's if you are targeting people who have no use for the South African translator. What you're saying is that people should choose their OS based on the needs of a couple of dozen people over in Africa instead of their own needs. Brilliant...
          • He said that he is running the programs that he mentioned.

            I am talking about people that need AutoCAD. The people that don't need it already voted. Even linux trade journals say AutoCAD will not run on linux. Either he is not donating back under the terms of the GPL (his is running fine) or he has no need for 3D modeling. AutoCAD 3D doesn't run on linux.

            What I always said is "It is the apps stupid". You should always choose the OS that will run your applications. And you don't have to be brilliant to figure that one out. By the way, that translator is the best one out there.
          • Yes AutoCAD

            THE [b]AutoCAD[/b] from AutoDesk. I do 3-D stuff all of the time too. It's the last version I upgraded to in 2000. This ones does substantially everything that AutoCAD2007 does (which I have evaluated and found to be a big waste of time and money). This version runs just fine in an emulator or guest VM and requires no activation. It's most efficient in a W2K VM on Linux. I run SolidWorks 2007 on my XP laptop. IT does nothing really more than SolidWorks 2006, take three time as long to load and required itself because a colleague updated and forced me to as well.

            Yes I can afford AutoCAD but not Windows Vista. This is not due to the price, but the overhead and its lack of future promise. I can afford a lot of software and spend several thousand for it annually. But not MS software, at least not anymore...
          • Sounds like the hard way to avoid something you dislike.

            Oh, You are running a virtual machine. Talk about overhead. Just load Win2K on the machine directly and really speed it up. Actually it is more efficient the way I just described it. You could do what I did and use 2 hard drives with a tray or dual boot. VMs hog resources. Win2k on one and Ubuntu on the second.

            Actually AutoCAD will not run on Vista without a shim. Everything is being rewritten for Vista. VMs have more overhead than Vista. Also if you can afford all of that software, you can afford to upgrade to Vista Business Edition. Vista BE will run on older machines since Aero isn't necessary but you have the video card and ram already for CAD. I will upgrade to Vista eventually from Win2k but only when everyone is on the same page. SP1 will be better. Also AutoCAD will eventually run on Vista for they are not porting it to linux.

            Lack of future promise??? Windows will always be here as long as software houses port to it. "It's the apps stupid".
          • I am quite fine, thanx for asking

            Fedora Core 6 Host/Win2K guest runs AutoCAD better than Windows XP wit all of its Service Packs and Antivirus/Antispyware/Anti-everything that Windows needs to run "securely." BTW that W2K VM gets more resources than my first Win2K PC in terms of memory, CPU speed and hard drive, so it's actually an improvement in performance compared to when I bought it.

            The VM plays in its sandbox with no internet connectivity while I can switch to the host and surf and get email etc. without worries. That's the future that I will embrace - the one without Windows Vista.

            But thanx for the suggestions!