WGA - The "A" stands for Advertisments

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

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 ..."