Judge dismisses Windows XP WGA lawsuit

According to ComputerWorld, Microsoft has, for all intent and purposes, won the Windows XP WGA, anti-piracy, lawsuit. The lawsuit was brought to court over three years ago because people felt Microsoft was misleading its customers by releasing WGA as a critical security update. The beta version of WGA would send information back to Microsoft on a daily basis without informing the user. Even the final version of WGA reported back to the mother ship once every 90 days. Users said that this made it a form of spyware and should not have been a forced update.

In January, the judge refused to give the lawsuit class action status. Microsoft was also told that they could file an expense report by February 12, 2010 to be compensated for their legal fees and other losses from the lawsuit. However, in the end, both parties agreed to pay their own attorney's costs and court fees. The judge dismissed the lawsuit last week.

Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) was pushed to Windows XP machines by Microsoft in 2006 in order to detect pirated copies of Windows. If detected, WGA would annoy users and sometimes cripple functionality in order to push them to get a genuine license. In Vista and Windows 7, WGA has been replaced with Windows Activation Technologies (WAT). According to Microsoft, WAT works in a completely different way than WGA, though it serves the same overall purpose.

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38 Comments

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its frustrating to see people complain about their privacy being trampled on and what not when the information that is sent back to Microsoft in no ways contains any personal information... all the data being collected is about how Windows is ran... not about your surfing habits, your contact info, whatever...

some_guy said,
its frustrating to see people complain about their privacy being trampled on and what not when the information that is sent back to Microsoft in no ways contains any personal information... all the data being collected is about how Windows is ran... not about your surfing habits, your contact info, whatever...

Exactly. All it was was a money grab...

i'm not surprised. im kinda worried everyone files some sort of "class-action" suit agains MS. i hope this will stop someday though.

I have no problem with WGA. Online activation makes sense for commercial software, and it was a logical development as internet usage spread. I've never heard anyone come up with a suggestion for another way to validate ownership. All I ever hear is that Microsoft should just lower prices, which would reduce piracy, and eliminate the need for validation in the first place. But that's an incredibly naive mindset, and frankly the cost of ownership is not that high when weighed against everything else people spend their money on. In terms of cost to frequency of use and length of ownership, a basic home license for Windows is phenomenally affordable, especially considering all patches and service packs for the lifetime of the product are completely free.

Lord, the amount of money people spend on WoW, cigarettes, gas, pleasure food, movies, and all that other crap that they use for a short while and never pick up again, but something they turn on every single day and depend on for a huge part of their lifestyle? Jeez...

Joshie said,
I have no problem with WGA. Online activation makes sense for commercial software

WGA (Windows Genuine Avantage) and Online Activation are 2 differents things. Online activation is a one step action. The complaints about WGA is that it acts like a spyware.

My XP, have been falsely flagged as a pirated copy after I reinstalled 3 or 4 times now, and registered with the same key each time. Microsoft will not help me, it was annoying to speak to someone in India and of course MS referred me to Dell, who will refer me back to Microsoft.

Alley Cat said,
My XP, have been falsely flagged as a pirated copy after I reinstalled 3 or 4 times now, and registered with the same key each time. Microsoft will not help me, it was annoying to speak to someone in India and of course MS referred me to Dell, who will refer me back to Microsoft.

Because you reinstalled it 3 or 4 times. Obviously it'll flag each time you activate :|. Sheesh. Think.

Alley Cat said,
it was annoying to speak to someone in India

And why is that? Obviously they were competent in English if you had a conversation with them. Would your situation be better if you phoned someone in America? Yeah, didn't think so.

Alley Cat said,
My XP, have been falsely flagged as a pirated copy after I reinstalled 3 or 4 times now, and registered with the same key each time. Microsoft will not help me, it was annoying to speak to someone in India and of course MS referred me to Dell, who will refer me back to Microsoft.

I think they factor in the length of time between each activation too; I've reinstalled my copy many times for various reasons, new builds etc, and only twice has it asked me to phone and activate - but it's activated every time and I've activated at minimum a dozen times using the same key between 2001 and now.

C_Guy said,

And why is that? Obviously they were competent in English if you had a conversation with them. Would your situation be better if you phoned someone in America? Yeah, didn't think so.

Why the hostility? Maybe Alley Cat got a bit frustrated in having to ask the rep to repeat themselves for clarity purposes (it's possible).

nquinnathome1 said,

I think they factor in the length of time between each activation too;

Just think about it. With all the copy of Windows in the world, activivation request have to be in the millions every hour around the clock. There is no way MS would be able to keep on file all activation request since 2001. The infrastrcture to keep all of these would be too big to even phantom. So after a while they have to drop some data. My (educated) guess is they probably keep about a year back.

Edited by Captain555, Feb 10 2010, 8:30pm :

Alley Cat said,
My XP, have been falsely flagged as a pirated copy after I reinstalled 3 or 4 times now, and registered with the same key each time. Microsoft will not help me, it was annoying to speak to someone in India and of course MS referred me to Dell, who will refer me back to Microsoft.

I did a run where I installed Vista 20 times in the same 2 week period (don't ask) and every time I called in they had no issue reactivating it for me. Admit that you have installed it previously but mention that it is the only computer that it is installed on.

Alley Cat said,
My XP, have been falsely flagged as a pirated copy after I reinstalled 3 or 4 times now, and registered with the same key each time. Microsoft will not help me, it was annoying to speak to someone in India and of course MS referred me to Dell, who will refer me back to Microsoft.

You were referred to Dell? So it was an OEM copy? No wonder it got flagged... Second, Microsoft does not provide direct support for their OEM versions, as you got it discounted and from Dell, Dell is supposed to provide that support. Third, dealing with someone from India is a failure on the part of Dell, not Microsoft... Dell's support is horrendous, I'll admit that, but my dealings with Microsoft in the past have been very good...

rm20010 said,

Why the hostility? Maybe Alley Cat got a bit frustrated in having to ask the rep to repeat themselves for clarity purposes (it's possible).

I can completely understand the frustration with that. I've had some very aggravating run ins with Dell's support. The biggest issue though is how uneducated they are...

James Riske said,
Microsoft is well know for breaking the law, I wonder how much they had to pay this judge.

Probably more than what you were paid by <Microsoft Competitor> to go around making such allegations.

Hurr hurr hurr.

Edited by Athernar, Feb 10 2010, 5:33pm :

James Riske said,
Microsoft is well know for breaking the law, I wonder how much they had to pay this judge.

That's just a ridiculous statement...

LOL