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Microsoft blacks out pirated desktops; Chinese bloggers fume

The latest update to Windows XP detects unauthorized copies and turns the desktop black. It also sends intermittent messages to the user to go legal. While the update is world-wide, it seems to be part of a plan to address Chinese piracy, The Wall Street Journal reports. As part of the Chinese initiative, Microsoft has radically dropped the price of XP to less than $30 for the home version.

Microsoft is turning pirated copies of Windows XP black, and the Chinese are seeing red.

The latest update to Windows XP detects unauthorized copies and turns the desktop black. It also sends intermittent messages to the user to go legal. While the update is world-wide, it seems to be part of a plan to address Chinese piracy, The Wall Street Journal reports. As part of the Chinese initiative, Microsoft has radically dropped the price of XP to less than $30 for the home version.

Apparently, the Chinese really value their custom desktops, even when they're running pirated software.

"We do not stand up for piracy, but against your company for not thinking how the users feel," wrote one blogger, called Ling Ge, in an open letter to Microsoft.
And Reuters quoted another blogger:
Why is Microsoft automatically connected with my computer? The computer is mine! Microsoft has no right to control my hardware without my agreement.

Some users say they are innocent victims of vendors who install pirated versions of Windows so they can compete on price.

"When I bought [my computer] back from the shop, it already had everything installed by the staff there," Chen Xuemei said. When her screen turned black, she "had no idea what was happening and had to call the technician in my company to help."