To date, with its Genuine Advantage anti-piracy programs, Microsoft has targeted consumers. Windows and Office users have been required to validate their products as "genuine" before being able to obtain many downloads and add-ons.
Come this fall, however, the Redmond, Wash., software maker is planning to turn up the Genuine Advantage heat in two ways: by baking more Genuine Advantage checks directly into Windows Vista, and by taking aim at PC makers, system builders, Internet cafes and other sources of potentially pirated software.
Microsoft officials—whose Genuine Advantage Notification strategy came under fire earlier this summer—declined to share specifics about its new Genuine Advantage plans. But executives already have been setting the stage for the upcoming changes in recent keynote addresses.
"We expect to do more to make Windows more differentiated when it's genuine, and so genuine customers get a truly different experience than non-genuine customers, as well as to make piracy harder, so that our genuine partners can do a better job competing with those that don't play by the rules," Windows Client Marketing Chief Michael Sievert told attendees of Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference in July.
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