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Microsoft Wins Windows XP WGA Lawsuit 307

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the patch-this dept.
Rish writes "A lawsuit that accused Microsoft of misleading consumers to download and install an update for Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) under the guise that it was critical security update has been tossed out. Last month, a federal judge refused to certify the lawsuit as a class action, which would have meant anyone who owned a Windows XP PC in mid-2006 could join the case without having to hire an attorney, and on Friday the same judge dismissed the case completely."
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Microsoft Wins Windows XP WGA Lawsuit

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  • No good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @09:32AM (#31085362)
    I work in computer repair, and the worst part of WGA is that after doing a repair, sometimes a customer will get that update and the customer will get confused and click cancel or that they decline. This automatically tells them that their software is not genuine.

    Microsoft knows how to carefully word their alert to make sure they understand that it could be caused by counterfeit software, but does not even suggest that this alert could be because they just haven't yet validated, or they need to activate.

    I used to get angry calls because customers thought I was providing them stolen software. So then I decided I'd make their copies of windows genuine for my customers before they leave. But that's when the pirates come out of the wood work! What do you do when a copy won't validate? Well now you've got a customer who thinks you've stolen their software right off the bat due to the non-genuine alerts you just caused.

    It's lose/lose for the pc repair industry- and it's win/win. How many frightened people have gone to staples and picked up a new copy to avoid getting in legal trouble? I know a few...
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by happy_place (632005)
      I've had my PC repaired and my windows copy invalidated because the motherboard was replaced. The solution: Call microsoft. They fixed it without any questions. No biggie. The "repair industry" really should know this trick, if they're worth their salt.
      • Re:No good (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @09:42AM (#31085480)
        OP here, it's invalid product keys that won't validate. Believe it or not, those VLKs do exist and are used by hobbyist pc people to build their moms, uncles, and other relatives computers. The moms, uncles and relatives blame us, despite the fact that it was their hobbyist relative that really committed the crime.

        And, yes, calling microsoft does give you an option there. Buy a genuine copy for a reduced price.

        Anybody in the repair industry worth their salt knows there's more than one way to be invalidated by WGA.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by jhoegl (638955)
          That is a corner I would not like to be put into.
          You can explain the situation all you want to the people, but there are people who always side with the family.
          Best I could do with that is "okay, give me the Windows CD and the key it comes with and Ill fix it", when they cant produce it, they shut up.
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by ae1294 (1547521)

            Windows CD and the key it comes with and Ill fix it", when they cant produce it, they shut up.

            No... they don't... And if they do then you aren't getting paid. If you're really an ass and they still want to do business with you then they will bring you a burned disk with the key written on it that has no service packs or fixes slip-streamed. The only way to win is not to play the game, and by that I mean go out of business and die in a ditch somewhere...

            Computer repair almost always equals you have just broken some law. OEM copy's of windows are tied to the motherboard so legally if you need to repla

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by initialE (758110)

              So 20% of your customers try to screw with you. Check around, you'll find that to be true in most industries. And guess what, it's very likely they'll try to screw you anyway, even when you deliver as promised.

        • by gparent (1242548)
          Then refuse to repair people's computers if they have invalid keys. Or request their Windows CD when they take it to the shop. There are about a hundred ways around this. Personally I just tell them that unless they bring me a valid Windows license, or find their own cracked WGA, I won't install it for them. And if they choose the latter, I'm not recracking the computer if validation suddenly starts failing because their crack stopped working.
          • Re:No good (Score:4, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @10:03AM (#31085782)
            It can be difficult to know when a computer will fail validation, even when using a VLK. Sometimes the key is valid and passes. I won't know until after the repair (which may be a reinstall of windows).

            Either way, I can't turn down everybody who lost their disc or can't find their product key (we can get it out of the registry if it's not on a sticker). I'd go out of business. It's a tricky line, and I'm pretty certain I've found an equilibrium, it's just annoying that MS gets away with this crap. I was just trying to demonstrate the effect it had on repair companies and MS customers.
          • Re:No good (Score:5, Insightful)

            by IndustrialComplex (975015) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @10:07AM (#31085820)

            Then refuse to repair people's computers if they have invalid keys. Or request their Windows CD when they take it to the shop. There are about a hundred ways around this.

            Yeah, 100 ways to fold your business.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by gparent (1242548)
              It seems that the above poster is losing business since he gets blamed for shit he isn't responsible for.
        • You should throw that right down in front when the computer is brought in and explain the consequences (No windows update or whatever the hell it may be, i can't keep track) and if possible validate the key right then so they can see it for themselves.

          Regarding your OP, maybe print a flyer with instructions on how to proceed through the validate/activate warnings when WGA eventually shows up, and what it all acutally means? I suspect most of your customers don't really give a shit about stolen software (af

        • Re:Pirates (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Joce640k (829181) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @09:53AM (#31085686) Homepage

          Any decent PC tech knows which file to delete to remove the nag screen. Get rid of the nag and let them reinstall WGA next month.

          You're there to fix the PC, not to enter into a legal battle.

        • by hey! (33014)

          Well, that ain't necessarily what the GP is talking about.

          If you buy an OEM copy of Windows and your PC dies, can you pop the hard disk out and put it into a new PC? No. The OEM license only allows you to install that copy onto one machine *ever*.

          The problem with hobbyists is that they upgrade their machines. Windows looks at the configuration of the machine, and if it has been upgraded too much, it makes you call Microsoft and explain what you are doing. Change enough things (memory, hard disk, CPU) a

          • Re:No good (Score:4, Informative)

            by Random BedHead Ed (602081) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @10:33AM (#31086164) Homepage Journal
            Totally agreed, OEM users have chosen this pain, even if they haven't realized what they were choosing. That said, the core issue here is that WGA is not a critical security update by any stretch of the imagination. From my limited reading about this suit, its class action status (and the suit itself) sound completely valid to me. Nothing against Microsoft generally, but this was misleading. WGA is a lame excuse for copy protection, not a means for the end user to secure their data, and not a critical patch for anyone - even Microsoft.
          • by Dr. Evil (3501)

            Microsoft allows replacement of a motherboard for repair. I replaced my board a couple years back and got the validation problem. I called Microsoft about it and they fixed it without selling me a new license.

            The big problem they had was not with hobbyists upgrading motherboards, but with counterfeit operations selling thousands of copies of Windows to shops around the world. Occasionally, I'm sure somebody at Microsoft loses sight of this, but for the most part, if you have the guts to pick up the pho

            • Re:No good (Score:5, Insightful)

              by bzipitidoo (647217) <bzipitidoo@yahoo.com> on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @12:39PM (#31087918) Journal

              if you have the guts to pick up the phone

              But why should anyone have to do that? The software failed not because of an honest mistake or bug but because they deliberately broke it. Defective by design. Software is quite buggy and unreliable enough as is without anyone purposely making it worse! Stop apologizing for MS.

              Even fairly sophisticated users might not know the finer points of the difference between an OEM license and a retail license. And why should anyone have to know or care about that? Wholly artificial distinctions created by MS that does absolutely nothing for their customers and tramples upon the First Sale doctrine.

              Even if you believe that they're allowed to add DRM to their new products, should they have the right to change old products retroactively? But never mind rights. Is it smart? No!

              And why did they try to sneak it past everyone, lying about what it really was? It seems they anticipated that their customers would take a dim view. So instead of being sensible and not doing it, they compounded the problem by trying a stupid deception. Anyone in MS who didn't understand they'd be found out wasn't using their brains-- if indeed they have any. And also the very name-- "Genuine Advantage"-- was, as everyone quickly learned, an offensively steaming load of marketspeak that insulted our intelligence. It is sad how often corporations try this sort of idiocy. And most people are far too forgiving of it. I at least don't want to use products that were screwed up by people who have demonstrated their incompetence in such a wanton fashion. I don't trust Windows. Bad enough wondering if this incompetence means their honest bugs will be worse than usual. But to also have to wonder what more the managers of this software might arrogate is beyond the pale. What will they try next, have the Malicious Software Removal Tool go rather beyond its stated purpose and also check for piracy of other MS products such as Office? Maybe even disable the software? Check your music collection on behalf of the RIAA? Does Windows also purposely sabotage competitors' offerings, making it slower and buggier? Who do they think their customers are?!

              It's too bad MS was let off the hook. The court didn't do them any favors. They'd be a better company if they got roasted for this. Instead, MS is still pushing the DRM, and still trying stupid cheap marketing to try to smooth things over with wholly cosmetic changes. They've renamed it to WAT in an attempt to move on from the bad name WGA deservedly earned. WAT is the same old thing, and it shows that they still don't get it.

      • Re:No good (Score:5, Informative)

        by ksemlerK (610016) <kurtsemlerNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @09:48AM (#31085582) Homepage
        Or crack it.

        Import this key at every system restart. (saved as c:\windows\system32\reg.key, it would be regedit /a reg.key located in HKLM\Software\Microsoft\WindowsNT\CurrentVersion\Run)

        Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

        [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\WPAEvents]
        "OOBETimer"=hex:ff,d5,71,d6,8b,6a,8d,6f,d5,33,93,fd
        "LastWPAEventLogged"=hex:d5,07,05,00,06,00,07,00,0f,00,38,00,24,00,fd,02

        [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion]
        "CurrentBuild"="1.511.1 () (Obsolete data - do not use)"
        "InstallDate"=dword:427cdd95 "ProductId"="69831-640-1780577-45389" "DigitalProductId"=hex:a4,00,00,00,03,00,00,00,36,39,38,33,31,2d,36,34,30,2d,\

        31,37,38,30,35,37,37,2d,34,35,33,38,39,00,5a,00,00,00,41,32,32,2d,30,30,30,\

        30,31,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,0d,04,89,b2,15,1b,c4,ee,62,4f,e6,64,6f,01,00,\

        00,00,00,00,27,ed,85,43,a2,20,01,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,\

        00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,31,34,35,30,34,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,ce,0e,\

        00,00,12,42,15,a0,00,08,00,00,87,01,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,\

        00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,94,a2,b3,ac
        "LicenseInfo"=hex:9e,bf,09,d0,3a,76,a5,27,bb,f2,da,88,58,ce,58,e9,05,6b,0b,82,\

        c3,74,ab,42,0d,fb,ee,c3,ea,57,d0,9d,67,a5,3d,6e,42,0d,60,c0,1a,70,24,46,16,\ 0a,0a,ce,0d,b8,27,4a,46,53,f3,17


        + Anti WPA 3.46

        = Away you go
        • Is there a way to auto-import the key?

          I've had a copy of windows that I bought earlier in the decade, and transferred it from machine, to machine, to machine as I either upgraded hardware or replaced dead components. The old machines were gifted to friends/family with a linux installation.

          This last time, I messed up something and got the WGA notification. (Maybe it didn't like that I had it on 10 machines, even though only one at a time) I can't really use linux on this machine, I just don't have the ti

        • Re:No good (Score:4, Funny)

          by treuf (99331) <treufNO@SPAMusers.sourceforge.net> on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @10:18AM (#31085974) Homepage

          /me waits for a DCMA takedown notice to fly from Redmond to Slashdot's headquarter :D

          • Re:No good (Score:4, Funny)

            by ArsenneLupin (766289) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @10:52AM (#31086438)

            /me waits for a DCMA takedown notice to fly from Redmond to Slashdot's headquarter :D

            Too late. Already copy-pasted to a local file on my hard disk, and ready to appear on my website once it goes down from Slashdot. Website hosted outside of the US of course.

            And probably hundreds of other Slashdotters living in the free world have done exactly the same.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Typical Slashdotter. Copyrights and licenses should not be respected, unless it's the almighty GPL.

        • Maybe you know, I accidentally got caught clicking through the approval for update and the WGA started installing on an old XP machine. I cancel the update (when it asks to continue each frigging time I reboot). I would like to kill the update so That does not happen and I don't want to install WGA. Any thoughts on how or where to kill the in process installation?

              Thanks,

        • Re:No good (Score:4, Insightful)

          by dkleinsc (563838) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @02:29PM (#31089584) Homepage

          You totally got this wrong. The correct way to post this sort of thing is the same sort of technique as the way to avoid upgrading your chips back in the days of the SX/DX split:

          "To avoid having your Windows show up as genuine when it isn't, do not add the following registry keys on bootup ..."

      • Re:No good (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Hatta (162192) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @10:10AM (#31085840) Journal

        That does not always work. I replaced the motherboard on my GF's PC and reinstalled Windows. WGA would not activate. She spent about an hour on the phone trying to get a human at Microsoft. When she finally did, she was told that there was nothing they could do.

        This was a retail copy of XP that she paid over $100 for. Microsoft has her $100, she has no OS. Those of you who like to compare piracy to theft, this is what real theft looks like.

        I did put her on Ubuntu for quite a while, until she decided that she couldn't live without Freehand MX (which has some problems under wine). So we pirated XP. Seems fair to me.

        • by Yaa 101 (664725)

          You could have installed Virtualbox for these one off applications that really need windows...

          • by Hatta (162192)

            That would still require a copy of Windows.

            • by Yaa 101 (664725)

              Yes, but it also makes your GF less dependent on Windows overall.

              I think most people are on Windows because they do not know better and are reluctant to move because strange things are scary.

              By getting your GF used to Linux you make her less scary to use it.

              Unless of course you changed it back to windows because she really does not like it, in that case you did the right thing.

        • Not to minimize the suckage of this (and having dealt with MS activation way more than I like, i do sympathize), but could it have been that the copy she purchased wasnt legit?
        • by whoever57 (658626)

          This was a retail copy of XP that she paid over $100 for. Microsoft has her $100, she has no OS

          She might have bought it from a retail store, but at $100, I'm guessing she bought an OEM version.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Oh, upgrade deactivation anecdotes! Last time I installed XP on my home system, I scrapped my old computer and built a brand new one. I installed XP, crossed my fingers and toes, and activated. It worked! I'd been worried that activating my old key on a totally new configuration would fail. So I shut down, installed the rest of my hard drives, and rebooted. Deactivated for making significant changes to my hardware configuration. Honestly, all I'd done between activating on the new configuration and g

      • by fermion (181285)
        I agree. MS has always revalidated my version of windows after I have to do a reinstall. No biggie. Just like it was no biggie for me to ask my parents if I could borrow the car each and every time I needed it. Just like it is no biggie for to ask the line supervisor everytime I need to go the bathroom.

        WGA may serve the purpose of keeping unlicensed copies of MS Windows off the average machine. I question what use that is, since such unlicensed copies only increase perceived market share of MS, and

      • We do, it's a pain in the ass doing it over and over in a shop but you're right, the process is normally painless as a one time deal. We DID have times when swapping a mobo and doing a reinstall screwed us because the bios sig on the new mobo did not work with the OEM reinstall disk. At that point MS would tell us that the license was valid for one piece of hardware and could not be installed on another "system"...
    • I have to agree a million times with you here, they way that windows validates their genuine advantage, is a farse.
      Someone can brute force the key, and guess what, that key gets blacklisted if used enough times to validate, well, low and behold if it was your key that was guessed, your sh*t out of luck. I have many times in the past used the sticker to call in and say hey, I got this sticker on the side of my machine saying its valid, and now you have blocked that key, what gives, they then give you a new k

    • by quadrox (1174915)

      Couldn't you just tell them that they may need to validate/activate their copy? You should probably stick a note to the case telling them exactly what to do, and what will happen if it is an illegal copy - then it's completely up to them.

      I can't really believe you haven't thought of that yourself, so what is the problem with that approach?

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      That's easy. do what Microsoft suggests. if after updaing a customers PC will not validate and says it's "pirated" you tell the customer that Microsoft knows they have an illegal copy of windows and they need to buy a legit copy right away.

      If they disagree, you say, I am bound by microsoft to report this, but I will look the other way for you just this one time.

      You come out looking like a good guy, and it shuts them down and points them at little cousin johnny that gave them the copy of XP.

      • Then they say, why didn't you explain this before performing the repair?? I'm not paying for this!

        Then you say, well there was no way of telling until after the repair.

        Then they say that the bill is creeping and that they'll have a talk with their lawyer

        and I'll say, even if I can win in court, it wasn't worth the hassle. Thanks Microsoft!
  • by Rogerborg (306625) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @09:39AM (#31085432) Homepage

    If you don't like the "we can do anything we want to you at any time" EULA, then the solution is to switch to and support a different OS, not to bitch and moan about the EULA that you chose to accept.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by jedidiah (1196)

      Yes. Because we all know that corporations should be able to put whatever egregious language they want in their contracts and mere citizens should just bend over and take it.

      Fortunately, real contract law doesn't work that way.

      Although I am sure that corporate boot-lickers such as yourself will do their best to erode what consumer rights and protections do exist.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by DomNF15 (1529309)
        "citizens should just bend over and take it."

        No one is shoving the operating system down your throat, if you don't like the EULA, as mentioned above, switch to an alternative OS. The corporations can only put in "whatever egregious language they want" if you (and a bunch of others) fork over money to them. Stop giving them money, and you'll see how quickly their EULA changes...
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          I haven't given MS money in ages. Their EULA hasn't changed yet. Perhaps it's because millions of people are too apathetic to care since the EULA is rarely enforced in a fashion most people would notice or would care about.
          • by DomNF15 (1529309)
            "the EULA is rarely enforced in a fashion most people would notice or would care about."

            If this is the case, is there really an issue? If they tried to enforce it, a bunch of people would probably realize they are doing silly things and stop giving them money...
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by LordLimecat (1103839)
            If millions of people dont seem to care, and you arent being affected by said EULA (since you arent accepting it), then why have you made it your job to care for them?

            We all get it, MS's EULAs suck, I dont know about everyone else, but I got over the outrage a long time ago. When I use windows, I comply with the EULA, and if my customers have an issue, i just put the activation phone call on speaker so they can hear for themselves what I have to go through. Its not my problem, if activation doesnt work
    • by natehoy (1608657) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @10:50AM (#31086392) Journal

      I agree, to a point. However, I don't believe all of the "we can change everything we want to" was in the original Windows XP EULA. It got added in with the various service packs, etc, that were included in the purchase price of the original software. So the only EULA I feel I "chose to accept" original one on my XP CD. I was coerced into agreeing to the others in order to get updates that I was told I already had the right to. I'd agree with you fully if I had had the opportunity to accept or deny the new EULA in return for something new.

      Oblig. car analogy: "Now that you've had your car for 5 years and it's paid for, we've decided to reduce your 10-year warranty to a 5-year warranty, which has now just expired. If you want your 10-year warranty back, you have to allow us to install this box that monitors to make sure the car hasn't been loaned to anyone else without our consent, and if we think it has we can deny you warranty service, and the "Check Engine" light will light up every time you start the car and warn you that your car is no longer genuine."

      But, you're right - Microsoft does business the way they do business, and it's pretty clear that they are unapologetic about these sorts of one-sided contract changes. They've got you by the short-and-curlies, and that's just the sort of behavior they are known for now.

      I also agree with your solution. I switched to Linux Mint, largely in response to the underhanded tactics that crammed WGA on my computer without my knowledge or consent. It took a while to migrate everything I do over to Linux, but it's done now, and I can happily say that my household is now 100% Microsoft-free.

      "RIP one Microsoft Customer, starting with MS-DOS 3.0, ending with Windows XP+WGA".

      I'm also only one customer, and I fully realize that Microsoft doesn't give a flying shit about my stance. It's OK, the feeling is now happily mutual.

      • I was coerced into agreeing to the others in order to get updates that I was told I already had the right to

        Do you actually know what coercion is? Or are you just a big fan of hyperbole? This isnt how contracts work, you dont get to agree to 5 different contracts and then choose which one you want to comply with, but feel free to continue justifying it to yourself.

        • by natehoy (1608657) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @01:02PM (#31088240) Journal

          The first contract was a voluntary agreement. One which I did not have the opportunity to review before I broke the shrinkwrap and rendered the product unreturnable, but still one that I feel I entered into reasonably freely.

          The remainder were conditional to receiving a benefit I had already bought and paid for, and the consequences of not agreeing to the new contracts were that my product would not receive updates and therefore become increasingly insecure.

          I can understand the "fine, then don't update it", and I can understand the argument that updates are "added value". But I see them as part of what I purchased in the first place. Maybe I'm wrong in that point of view, but I slowly grew more and more uncomfortable with the additional conditions foisted upon me in return for those updates. With WGA, it reached the point where I had had enough.

          And, by the way, I have complied with every one of Microsoft's agreements I have "agreed" to. It's just reached the point where I'm tired of "agreeing" to changes to the EULA.

          I'm not going to pirate their product, and I'm not espousing that others do so. I don't even want a refund of my purchase price for XP. I feel I've gotten fair value out of it.

          I just don't want to spend any more money on software sold by a company that has changed the conditions under which I can use previous purchases with them. If I go out and buy Windows 7, what's the guarantee that Microsoft won't change the EULA again to their favor?

          Maybe you don't care, and that's certainly your right.

    • I admit that I came to this thread just because it amazes me to see how much crap people are willing to put up with just to be part of the herd and/or avoid learning something new. The cesspool is full of flailing, complaining people, but you'll never get more than one or two to leave it no matter how pure and sparkling your little pond is.

  • ....but they have lost this customer. WGA was the final straw for me and what ultimately forced my hand. I have migrated to Mac and will never look back. Thanks for the helping hand Microsoft, I'm much happier now.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Rockoon (1252108)
      You were so upset by WGA that you decided to do business with Super-Lockdown-Incorporated? Really?
      • by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @10:35AM (#31086178)
        Their lockdown comes with a prettier UI and a bigger price tag, so you know it's a quality shafting you're getting!
      • by Rogerborg (306625)

        Swings and roundabouts. They put a lot of effort into tying the hardware and OS, but then largely trust their customers to do the right thing after that.

        I guess they reckon that it pays to not treat their paying customers like thieves and liars. Case in point, a workmate just bought a new MiniMax external drive for his Mac from the Apple Store. When it was delivered, he opened it up and found a few small smudges marks on the case that indicated it was a refurb. He called up the local store, and within

      • by Anonymous Coward

        You were so upset by WGA that you decided to do business with Super-Lockdown-Incorporated? Really?

        Posts like these are what's great about Slashdot. You read the opinions here, and you get a really good understanding of how real people feel about things.

        Reading the mainstream tech sites, you'd think that customers loved Apple's products. That people were lining up to buy Apple's crap, that its customers were loyal and highly satisfied, that Apple was making tons of money, and that its products Just Worked the way people wanted them to.

        Here on Slashdot, we learn the ugly truth. Apple's products don't let

      • by trudyscousin (258684) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @10:44AM (#31086306)

        If you were talking about iPhone OS, you might have a rational argument, and would have earned your moderation.

        But I thought we were talking about an operating system for a general-purpose computer. Contrasting Mac OS X with any post- W2K Microsoft OS:

        - I've never had to enter an 'activation' key to install it.
        - I've never had to worry if it's going to turn on me and accuse me of using a 'counterfeit' version of it.
        - I've never had to call Apple and ask, "Pretty please, is it okay to have my computer back?"

        I think you're a little bit confused as to "Super-Lockdown-Incorporated" really is.

        • by Rockoon (1252108)

          But I thought we were talking about an operating system for a general-purpose computer. Contrasting Mac OS X with any post- W2K Microsoft OS:

          - I've never had to enter an 'activation' key to install it.
          - I've never had to worry if it's going to turn on me and accuse me of using a 'counterfeit' version of it.
          - I've never had to call Apple and ask, "Pretty please, is it okay to have my computer back?"

          Your activation key is the hardware itself. People complain that they have to reactivate windows when they swap out the motherboard in their desktop. Try that with a Mac. Go on. Replace the motherboard. You are an Apple certified repairman with access to Apple certified hardware, right? Fail on both counts? Yeah.

          If Microsoft required you to have a Dongle instead of an activation key, you would be crying like a fucking baby about it. But there it is.. Apple requires you to do exactly what you would cry a

        • by bdenton42 (1313735) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @12:20PM (#31087640)

          Apple primarily makes money on the hardware sales, any money coming in from software is mostly gravy. Microsoft primarily makes money on software sales, so piracy means they get nothing.

          If Apple did not have a monopoly on computers which can run OS-X then it's very likely you would be seeing license keys, activation and anti-counterfeiting measures in place.

      • by MisterSquid (231834) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @10:50AM (#31086394)

        You're missing the forest for the trees. Mac OS never asks for validation at any stage of installation. Just put your disc in, install, reboot. That's it. Change your hardware, no need to validate. Ever. Starting with Mac OS v.10.5, upgrade discs no longer checked to see if you had an older version already installed.

        Lockdown!=Lockout

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ZorinLynx (31751)

          >Starting with Mac OS v.10.5, upgrade discs no longer checked to see if you had an older version already installed.

          There was never any point to doing this. Since all Macs come with Mac OS X, *ALL* copies of OS X are "upgrades".

          There's no such thing as a non-upgrade install of OS X, technically.

      • by liquidsin (398151)

        i've had more than one paid-for copy of windows make me do the activation dance. this has not happened to me on osx yet. my anecdotal evidence indicates to me that there is no apple genuine advantage software running on my computer.

      • Im guessing that the point hes making is that at least you dont have to deal with licensing bullshit with Mac. Nothing is quite so nice as purchasing $10k worth of licensing only to have to spend an hour and a half on the phone with MS trying to get the damn server OS to activate properly.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by aflag (941367)

      Except that apple is probably much worse than MS when it comes to DRM. You can't even save certain files on iphone, or so I've heard.

    • by nedlohs (1335013) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @10:19AM (#31085978)

      I has a similar situation.

      The patriot act was the final straw for me and what ultimately forced my hand. I have migrated to North Korea and will never look back.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by xtracto (837672)

        WGA was the final straw for me and what ultimately forced my hand. I have migrated to Mac and will never look back.

        I has a similar situation.

        The patriot act was the final straw for me and what ultimately forced my hand. I have migrated to North Korea and will never look back.

        Best. Analogy. Ever.
        Comparing Apple's control over their platform to North Korea.

      • I have migrated to North Korea and will never look back.

        Because of the potential eye-gouging if you do?

    • by Xest (935314)

      "Thanks for the helping hand Microsoft, I'm much happier now."

      Yes, you sound it too!

  • I hate WGA as much as the next guy, but trying to file a class-action suit against Microsoft because they decided to push out an update for their OS that they deemed "critical" but some users didn't? It seems to me that Microsoft is the one who gets to choose which category they place their updates in, and a "Critical Update" like WGA authentication might seem a lot more critical to MS than to their customers....

    As many people already posted here -- if you dislike the way their OS handles things, maybe it'

  • The minor problems upgrading, or incorrectly triggering WGA are nothing compared to the harm done by Microsoft in denying security patches. Years of propagated malware and vast monetary damage to other Windows owners simply to force a few people to buy new copies of their products. For that reason alone I feel a class action suit is justified.

  • ...make the rules. Do as I say, not as I do. It's the same in every authoritarian government, whether it be a superpower, a multinational corporation, or just the family next door.

  • by xymog (59935) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @10:42AM (#31086282)
    Ars Technica left out a whole bunch of information. The plaintiffs didn't agree to dismissal because the suit was bogus. Plaintiff's' attorneys had a poorly-drafted complaint to start with, spent four years adding and dropping plaintiffs trying to find ones that had actually been "injured", and four years amending the complaint with ever-more-vague claims against Microsoft. This is all part of the public record and anyone can take a look at it. Moral: If you're going to be all mad about something, do your homework first before charging off and filing a lawsuit.

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