Microsoft Exec Rages Against Vista Upgrade 'Hack'

Sarcasm can be a powerful tool, and a Microsoft executive recently wielded it against industry sources who claim that a loophole exists in one of the software giant's licensing policies. In a scathing blog post last week, Eric Ligman, Microsoft's senior manager of community engagement for small business in the U.S., took aim at reports that Microsoft is giving users the option of buying the Vista SP1 upgrade edition and installing it on any PC, which allows them to avoid paying more than $100 for the more expensive 'full' edition of Vista.

In an article that appeared earlier this month in the Windows Secrets newsletter, Associate Editor Scott Dunn suggested that Microsoft's failure to close this loophole in Vista SP1 suggests that the vendor approved the back door in order to make Vista more appealing to sophisticated buyers.

But according to Ligman, "the fact that there are people writing articles advising people to illegally install software that they are not licensed for 'because they can get it to physically install' just shows how clueless some people are and how willing they are to share that with others.

News Source: CRN

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There shouldn't be upgrade editions; just Windows...most people will have a preious Windows license anyway...like when they buy their computer...computers have short lives anyway, and most don't see multiple Windows versions...

You really can't call this 'stealing'; in fact you did purchase something, the license. Now, if Microsoft by design makes it possible to use Vista itself as one of the eligible products for an upgrade, how can they turn around and say 'oh, no you can't do that'? If it's wrong, then why didn't they fix the problem with SP1? Could it really have been difficult to make it so the Vista Upgrade was not viewed by the Vista Upgrade as one of the eligible products? I don't think so. They knew about the issue, ignored it and are allowing it to continue. You can't come back and bash the customer for that.

(devHead said @ #1)
You really can't call this 'stealing'; if Microsoft by design makes it possible to use Vista itself as one of the eligible products for an upgrade, how can they turn around and say 'oh, no you can't do that'?

Its like saying: You can't call it "robbing" if by design it is possible to rob someone without noticing.

Many things are possible in this World, but that doesn't make all of them legal.
You don't have a license to kill just because you are holding gun in your hand.

(EJocys said @ #3.1)

Its like saying: You can't call it "robbing" if by design it is possible to rob someone without noticing.

Many things are possible in this World, but that doesn't make all of them legal.
You don't have a license to kill just because you are holding gun in your hand.

He's right though, dude. They've known about it since WELL BEFORE SP1.... they could have modded the code to not allow that. Anyway, fact is, in this world, u can't trust people to use the honor system when it comes to paying for things. They'll try to get the most for their money, even if it allows a little bending of the rules. I mean, regardless of what the EULA says, MS did not design their upgrade process correctly, and people exploited it. They should be blaming themselves, patching the flaw, and continuing on... What's done is done. You can't ask for all those who payed for an upgrade and did a full install to just be honest and wipe their computers and buy the proper version of windows. Fix the flaw, forget about the losses, and move on. There's no way they can track down everyone who used the vulnerability and demand proper payment, so they need to just focus on preventing it from happening TOMORROW.

(EJocys said @ #3.1)
Its like saying: You can't call it "robbing" if by design it is possible to rob someone without noticing.

Many things are possible in this World, but that doesn't make all of them legal.
You don't have a license to kill just because you are holding gun in your hand.

Well, actually, you can't call it 'robbing'. You can call it what it is, a license violation. Robbing requires loss of the original object.

It's like when you cross the street against the light, you get a ticket for jaywalking, not speeding.

Many things are possible in this World, but that doesn't make all of them legal.
You don't have a license to kill just because you are holding gun in your hand.

That's not a very good analogy. As a matter of fact, it's not an analogy at all. Especially since you actually did pay for something. And to compare it to the same as killing another human just because you have a gun- that's just plain disturbing. You need to take a reality check buddy. There are laws against stealing and murder. But if Microsoft allows you to do something with their software, how can they turn around and say, 'oh you shouldn't be able to do that' By the same principle, CPU chip manufacturers should be able to go after people who overclock their chips. But they don't.

(devHead said @ #3.4)
That's not a very good analogy.
...
By the same principle, CPU chip manufacturers should be able to go after people who overclock their chips. But they don't.
You complain about one analogy, and put forth a different one that is equally flawed? :P

It isn't against any "licensing terms" to overclock a CPU (though they may not honor warranty) but you are legally allowed to take that action on your own accord.

(markjensen said @ #3.5)
You complain about one analogy, and put forth a different one that is equally flawed? :P

It isn't against any "licensing terms" to overclock a CPU (though they may not honor warranty) but you are legally allowed to take that action on your own accord.

Explain to me how saying finding a loophole to install an OS is the same as using the excuse 'I have a gun, so I can kill people' is as bad an analogy as overclocking a CPU? C'mon. At least I'm still using an analogy in the computer world.

(devHead said @ #3.6)
Explain to me how saying finding a loophole to install an OS is the same as using the excuse 'I have a gun, so I can kill people' is as bad an analogy as overclocking a CPU? C'mon. At least I'm still using an analogy in the computer world.
Well... True. :P I find it hard to come up with an analogy as bad as the original

I guess Microsoft is right to be pushing their product activation and Windows Genuine Advantage schemes if people like you speak for the majority view...

If they don't bolt it up and lock you out then it is fair game?

So I should be able to hand out free copies of the latest PC games on the street simply because my CD burner can burn them? Or buy images from GettyImages and make them freely available on the web? After all they didn't put in some insane DRM scheme to prevent me from doing what they knew I could do!

Pirating software is simply using that software without a valid license. So, yes these people are stealing! As Piracy is theft.

Thing I wonder is why people pay to be pirates? Either you pay for the proper license or you don't... Why pay to be lumped into the same category as the guy who doesn't? Beyond me, but that is another issue.

(markjensen said @ #3.5)
You complain about one analogy, and put forth a different one that is equally flawed? :P

It isn't against any "licensing terms" to overclock a CPU (though they may not honor warranty) but you are legally allowed to take that action on your own accord.

It's exactly the same thing. You are "stealing" from Intel when you overclock a Core 2 Duo that you paid $200 for to run the same as a Core 2 Duo that costs $400. Except Intel knows that stupid to go after people who buy your product, because odds are they will pay $0 to Intel and $200 to AMD if you force them pay for something that is not worth $400. Microsoft doesn't understand that because, well... they are a hostile, anti-consumer, convicted monopolist in at least two continents.

Then get a full version of Vista instead of an upgrade disc (or OEM). Microsoft are simply enforcing the licence agreement a lot more this time, which was open to abuse when they allowed people to simply stick a disc in to "verify". Of course, the fact that a Vista install itself (unactivated) seems to be a qualifying product does make it seem very silly.

But this was news over a year ago when Vista came out so why the rehash?

So people still want to use Windows over Macs and Linux, but only want it at a cheaper price.

I'm sure sane people won't use software that they think is crappy.

It's not stealing. It's not cruel, manipulative, nor evil. It's their fault for leaving that last little paragraph out of their EULA. All they would have to do is re-ship Vista + SP1 with an updated installation routine that prohibts this behavior (if they're so sore about it). I realize that doesn't solve the situation with previous owners, but I'm sure some changes could have been made to WGA to prevent activation or something. I don't see how it's the cosumers' fault when Microsoft made it BLATANTLY OBVIOUS. If they don't want us to have freedom of choice, then maybe they should have tightened their stranglehold a little bit more.

I think the reason the loophole exists is not because it makes it more "appealing to sophisticated buyers", but if the upgrade fails (which lets face it is quite likely) and you are left with no way of booting back to windows XP, at least you can install the operating system you just paid for.

This scenario happened to me. I did expect it, but it struck me that if it happened to a non technical person they would be left out of pocket and with an dead PC.

I am amazed that MS still try to sell "upgrades" , there are just too many things that will go wrong.

Backup and clean install is always the best option.

And don't forget. OSX Leopard does not even ask a serial number. However, upgrading to Leopard without having paid for it is still illegal. Or should you blame Apple for not enforcing a serial number?

Microsoft should have been progressive and released only one version of Windows, period. It would have saved the average user a headache and would have saved them a lot of jokes at their expense.

I installed it the honest way first, but when I formatted to install SP1, I used the bypass. Maybe if they would have kept it simple and asked for my XP key or disc I wouldn't have to, but simple is something Microsoft doesn't do.

One of the big reasons Vista has been such a mess is because of the upper level management of it so shouldn't this exec be holding his breath?

(ambiance said @ #9)
Microsoft should have been progressive and released only one version of Windows, period. It would have saved the average user a headache and would have saved them a lot of jokes at their expense.

I installed it the honest way first, but when I formatted to install SP1, I used the bypass. Maybe if they would have kept it simple and asked for my XP key or disc I wouldn't have to, but simple is something Microsoft doesn't do.

One of the big reasons Vista has been such a mess is because of the upper level management of it so shouldn't this exec be holding his breath?

It's hard to screw over your customers if all you have is one version of the product. The whole point of multiple versions is to justify screwing over those that buy the barely functional "cheap" version AND the person that buys the "Ultimate" version

(z0phi3l said @ #9.1)
It's hard to screw over your customers if all you have is one version of the product. The whole point of multiple versions is to justify screwing over those that buy the barely functional "cheap" version AND the person that buys the "Ultimate" version

Or the point of releasing multiple versions is to offer versions that meet the needs of a diverse group of customers better. I'm also sure that's the reasoning behind MS offering multiple SKUs of Vista.

But alas no one can please everyone. If MS released Windows in a "one size fits all" variant (which would just be Windows Ultimate) you'd have people complianing more that now it is all too expensive. You can't have your cake and eat it too...

(Frazell Thomas said @ #9.2)

Or the point of releasing multiple versions is to offer versions that meet the needs of a diverse group of customers better. I'm also sure that's the reasoning behind MS offering multiple SKUs of Vista.

But alas no one can please everyone. If MS released Windows in a "one size fits all" variant (which would just be Windows Ultimate) you'd have people complianing more that now it is all too expensive. You can't have your cake and eat it too...

Windows Ultimate is worth $100 at best. If the Linux guys can give it server operating systems and desktop operating systems for free - and Apple can give away FULLY FUNCTIONAL desktop operating systems for a reasonable $120, then where does MS get off on selling UPGRADES for $200?

The icing on the cake is that their frothing mad execs made public asses of themselves in basically calling their customers crooks and liars.

(stgeorge said @ #9.3)

Windows Ultimate is worth $100 at best. If the Linux guys can give it server operating systems and desktop operating systems for free - and Apple can give away FULLY FUNCTIONAL desktop operating systems for a reasonable $120, then where does MS get off on selling UPGRADES for $200?

The icing on the cake is that their frothing mad execs made public asses of themselves in basically calling their customers crooks and liars.

Apple releases an OS every year or so, each costing 120usd. Between XP and Vista there have been like 6 OS Xs. So thats 720usd. Compared to 360usd for Vista Ultimate...or you can get it for like 150usd if you get the OEM version.

Linux is free because a lot of it is community developed.

(stgeorge said @ #9.3)

Windows Ultimate is worth $100 at best. If the Linux guys can give it server operating systems and desktop operating systems for free - and Apple can give away FULLY FUNCTIONAL desktop operating systems for a reasonable $120, then where does MS get off on selling UPGRADES for $200?

The icing on the cake is that their frothing mad execs made public asses of themselves in basically calling their customers crooks and liars.

Who are you to say what price represents "value"? Since MS has no problems selling their software I think it is safe to say it is priced right...

Just like you can ask where does Apple get off selling Intel based Laptops for almost double that of other OEMs? Or their iPODs for so much more than other players? The price is what people are willing to pay...

The question isn't if installing the Vista hack is stealing or not. This is like buying a baseball ticket for the cheap seats and accidentially getting a luxury box instead. It's an error on the supplier's side, and it is their responsiblity for closing that exploit, since it can be assumed that the buyer will not trade in his higher quality of goods for an inferior kind. Retracting the sale would result in a blacklash in the buyer's trust of -- "Hey, I get whatever I bought, no matter what you intended.", losing business.

However, if the the buyer knows of this loophole, and purposefully cheats the system to get a luxury box, that's morally unacceptable.

It's how the tech news are publicizing the hack as appropriate that's making Microsoft pull out its hair. The press has a large influence on what the people believe, and it is because of this that they seem most appropriate for most of this blame. Still, Microsoft has responsibilty for clearing up it's intent, and closing the loophole.

---
Here's what I mean
In the beginning:

1.Buyer finds exploit & doesn't arbitrate (not guilty). Microsoft (guilty*).
2.Buyer spreads word to friends, and everyone follows (guilty). Microsoft (guilty for not noticing the rumors).
3.Press picks up on the rumors and says it's morally acceptable by fallacy (guilty). Negligent buyer (not guilty). Buyer knowingly exploits and then spreads word (guilty). Microsoft (guilty, until it makes its case clear)

*Bearer of blame to it's shareholders

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