announced what it hopes will be a new attack on piracy. The company has
decided to give away software to those who bought machines with fake
Microsoft will be offering anyone who's "unsure" about
whether they've got dodgy software the chance to have it checked out by
Microsoft, with the promise that if it does turn out to be counterfeit,
they'll replace it.
The deal only covers Windows XP, and only five copies per person can be
swapped. It's all free, besides the initial postage and packing. The
offer only applies to pre-installed home or professional Windows XP
bought before Nov. 1.
Alex Hilton, Microsoft's license compliance manager, said the bulk of
piracy seen by Microsoft was in the OEM (original equipment
"Some examples we're seeing from the Far East and Eastern Europe...are
very high quality," Hilton said, and are aimed at the high-end user.
"That's the sector we're trying to address."
Hilton also said anyone found with the pirate program won't suffer
legal repercussions--but that their suppliers might. "Our goal is not
to prosecute the individual; our goal is to get to the source," he
said, adding that a decision on prosecution would be made on a
While Microsoft is hoping to get some idea of the extent of piracy in
the U.K. with the program, it seems that consumers' might be even more
When the Redmond, Wash.-based company launched its Windows Genuine
Advantage program to let its customers check whether they'd bought
genuine software, it thought only 20,000 people would take it up on its
offer. After a month, more than 800,000 had.
To get a replacement copy
of Windows XP, PC users will need to send off their receipt and
complete a witness statement, revealing where they bought their
About 29 percent of software applications in use in the United
Kingdom are thought to be pirated, according to analyst group IDC.
Jo Best of Silicon.com reported from London.