Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Latest and greatest out of Redmond

Because of the new motherboard, of course, Windows XP activation was triggered. "During the requisite call to Microsoft for an activation number, we were told that Microsoft could NOT give us the activation for this particular copy of XP since it was sold through a 'special licensing agreement' with E-Machines. Even though we had the 25-digit license number, Microsoft insisted we would have to contact the manufacturer for the activation number. Two separate calls to E-Machines elicited the same response. NO activation number would be given since we did not install an 'official' and expensive E-Machines motherboard. So the customer is forced into purchasing another copy of Windows XP even though they already paid for the original license when they first bought the computer and have all the required proof."

In other words, the reader's customer -- who has done nothing wrong other than have a motherboard fail on him -- has the choice of paying ransom to E-Machines or to Microsoft to have a functioning OS again. Which led the reader to wonder just what would constitute piracy in such a situation. "We all know there are plenty of copies of XP that work fine without the product activation scheme," the reader wrote. "Usually these are copies of corporate or academic versions of XP originally sold by Microsoft with broad licenses covering many computers. Is this customer justified in installing such a 'pirated' copy of XP on this system? Or should the customer have to buy yet another copy of XP, and presumably throw his old copy in the trash, just because his motherboard failed?"

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