I've been reading an article/blog over at CNN talking about the Chinese lawyer that has filed suit on Microsoft for putting black desktop backgrounds every hour on pirated copies of XP Pro. I like the fact that he's going for broke, he's asking for a billion dollars (1x10^9 US dollars) in damages. His claim is that typical Chinese people can't afford the local retail prices for legitimate Windows XP Pro. I agree with him. Maybe the typical Chinese shopkeeper or lawyer shouldn't be running Windows XP Pro. (Wait till they see the pricing model for Vista!) If the Department of Justice needed evidence of the effects of Microsoft's monopolistic effects on the world economy, there it is!
However, Microsoft should grow a couple of brass ones and actually defend their product's copyrights. An argument can be made that Microsoft by allowing their software to run basically unhindered even when the user is stupid enough to leave Windows Update turned on is pandering or implicitly encouraging software piracy. Its time for Microsoft to “put up or shut up”.
Microsoft needs to disable or kill every copy of Windows XP that connects to Windows Update that does not comply with their copyright. If they can turn the desktop color to black and stick a warning message on the screen, they can kill the software by dropping a logic bomb on the system. At the very least they will force the pirate to have to re-install the software at least once. More times if he's really stupid.
They have had over 3 years now to perfect the WGA crap and it should be “weaponized” and targeted on the software pirates world-wide. In fact a viral attack should be launched so that all those desktops that have Windows Update turned off can still be targeted by a spam email virus. If enough people get pissed off reading a message on their screen that they bought a pirated copy of Windows XP, they will shutdown the vendors that are selling pirated software, even in China. Microsoft has the perfect weapon to do it, ActiveX. Why won't they use it?
While they're at it, they need to kill every copy of Windows 9X, NT 4.0 and Win2K they can get their weapon package on. That way there will be no possibility of any wide-open and easy Windows zombies alive left anywhere in the world, at least on the Internet. The reality is that Microsoft doesn't have the guts to be seen actively pursuing software pirates except business users that are for the most part compliant. They don't want to be seen hassling little old ladies and children for the price of admission to their “club”.
The reason I think that Microsoft doesn't have the cajones to get really tough on the pirates is because they think pirated OS software is good for the rest of their product line. Especially if they manage to put it all under an Internet cloud-licensed business and delivery model. They probably think that nobody will buy their software if they get defensive.
Another possible reason is that the programming staff Microsoft has might not be up to the task of really launching a world-wide offensive against the software pirates out there. They don't have the chops to be really good hackers. We've already seen the kind of code that comes out of Microsoft and we're suffering system intrusions because of it. The OS software needs to have a built-in defensive shield setup to prevent un-authorized copying and it doesn't.
If I was a stockholder in Microsoft (and I'm not) I would hammer on Steve Ballmer to institute a world-wide campaign to extract every dollar possible from Windows XP before Windows 7 of 9 (or 7 of 10, whenever) comes out. Considering how well Vista is doing, Windows 7 might be the last opportunity Microsoft has to make a profit off an operating system.