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Microsoft: Vista Being Pirated Less

December 5th, 2007

Here’s the money quote:

In the last year alone, we have pursued legal action against more than 1,000 dealers of counterfeit Microsoft products, taken down more than 50,000 illegal and improper online software auctions and reached out with our “How to Tell” and anti-piracy focused educational Web sites to millions of customers. While piracy rates are hard to measure precisely, we’re seeing indications from internal metrics, like WGA validation failures, that the Windows Vista piracy rate is less than half that of Windows XP today.

The intended message? Vista’s anti-piracy measures are much more successful than XP’s. Of course, it’s bull, like most statements that come out of Redmond. First, all you need is one successful Vista counterfeiting exploit, and then any number of people can use that. So unless MS is peering into every computer in the world, there’s no way they can truly judge how much any piece of software is being pirated.

As for validation attempts, successful pirating attempts circumvent the validation process entirely, they don’t try to connect to Microsoft and fake them out. People with pirated systems usually know that they have to wait for pirated updates; only stupid people agree to validation on pirated systems. On the other hand, only stupid people would pirate Vista in the first place, so maybe they do have something there.

But a cut in the amount of Vista piracy has a rather obvious cause other than better copy-protection. The best anti-piracy measure you could possibly enact is to create a piece of software so crappy that a lot fewer people would want to pirate the thing.

Which is most likely what we’re looking at here.

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