The Inquirer is reporting that Microsoft have begun cracking down on pirate copies of Windows. The action comes as part of Microsoft's Genuine Advantage program, launched recently. The program asked users to validate their computer before users were able to download new programs. The program was a great success with many users agreeing to validation.
Microsoft have now begun to role this out across the board. For example, if you download WMP 10 on a pirated copy of Windows XP, you'll loose function of your PC. Microsoft claim that this will be the case for all but the most critical of downloads. Pirates will be asked to either revalidate their PC with a genuine key, or to download and pay for a copy of Windows XP.
The program is part of Microsoft trying to get more people to go legit. The problem is very low in Western countries, but in Eastern Europe and Asia piracy is rife. In these places, competition for Windows isn't Linux- but a pirated copy. Alongside other initiatives (e.g. the cut down version of Windows launched in these markets recently) Microsoft is attempting to reduce piracy of its products.
Update 'T would appear the inq got it wrong; see Betanews for more info. Arr, ye Pirates can continue.