December 23, 2010

Operating Systems - news from Microsoft

A week after MS releases the H.264 plugin for Firefox, without fanfare the Genuine Advantage System (which has been a thorn to IT) is quietly shut down. And at CES in 2 weeks we get introduced to a "njew" Windows OS that run ARM processors (mobiles). What's going on?

Microsoft Shuts Down Windows Genuine Advantage System on the Sly

Microsoft made a bit of an odd move on the quiet last week, and it's leaving industry analysts wondering. The company, without fanfare or publicity, shut down its Windows Office Genuine Advantage program, a proprietary anti-piracy system.

Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) was created by Microsoft (News - Alert) to enforce online validation of the licensing of several recent Microsoft Windows operating systems. The system essentially checked the validity of a user's OS when he or she accessed several services such as Windows Update, or downloaded Windows components from the Microsoft Download Center.

Wrote Ed Bott of ZD Net, “An anonymous tipster informed me on Friday that Microsoft had shut down its Office Genuine Advantage (OGA) program as of Thursday, Dec. 16. Previously, if you wanted to download an Office add-in or template, you had to pass through a validation step first, confirming that your copy of Office was 'genuine.'”

The WGA validation process validates the present installation of Windows and its license key against the detected hardware and determines if the software was licensed from Microsoft.

Bott noted that with a little searching, he was able to find the following “official” notice on the Microsoft Web site: “Notice: The Office Genuine Advantage (“OGA”) program has been retired. For more information about the benefits of genuine Office, please visit the following website: Benefits of genuine Office.”

Bott also noted that in other places on the Microsoft website, it would appear to be business as usual with OGA, except that many of the pertinent links are now dead. Reportedly, the Office Notifier, the OGA ActiveX control for Internet Explorer, and the OGA plug-in for Firefox are also officially retired.

Now maybe someone should inform everyone else at Microsoft.

Microsoft Shuts Down Windows Genuine Advantage System on the Sly

Posted by staff at December 23, 2010 01:08 PM