Microsoft Plans 'Office Genuine Advantage'

Despite the criticism leveled at Microsoft Corp. after its recent rollout -- and partial rollback -- of Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA), that tool was just the first phase in the company's latest antipiracy effort.

The broader Genuine Software Initiative will include a similar campaign, built around a tool called Office Genuine Advantage, to fight piracy of Microsoft's dominant desktop applications suite. Microsoft began testing OGA in April and said last week that the company is "absolutely committed" to going forward with the software, although it wouldn't elaborate on when the tool will be officially released.

WGA, which began an escalated rollout in April, has been criticized as spyware for stealthily installing itself on PCs, sending information back to Microsoft and nagging users who refused to install the tool. The software vendor turned off most of those features in late June. Microsoft responded to the criticisms last week by releasing statistics about WGA's purported effectiveness via blog postings by Alex Kochis, a licensing manager on the WGA team. Kochis claimed that only "a fraction of a percent" of the 60 million or so PCs that have been reported by WGA thus far were running legitimately licensed copies of Windows XP.

View: ComputerWorld

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