Microsoft Ticks Off Chinese Because Of Anti-Piracy Efforts

Yesterday was World Anti-Piracy day which is meant to encourage people not to pirate software. Microsoft used the event to turn on a feature in the Windows Genuine Advantage software that turns your background black when the computer is restarted if it deems you to be a software pirate. You can put the background back to the way you had it, but it will turn black again within 60 minutes.

Dong Zhengwei, a Bejing lawyer got hit by this and got mad enough to file a complaint with the Ministry of Public Security. He also said this:

“Microsoft’s measure will cause serious functional damage to users’ computers and, according to China’s Criminal Law, the company can stand accused of breaching and hacking into computer systems of Chinese.”

Okay. That sounds a bit strong to me given that China has a reputation for being a hotbed for software piracy. So you can’t be shocked that the software giant would do this no matter how unpopular it might be. Microsoft for its part had this to say via a sock puppet spokesperson:

“Once people know more about the WGA program and are clear about what we are doing, they will stop complaining,” a PR executive with Microsoft China said Tuesday.

Of course Microsoft is assuming that people in China care that this is illegal. I’m guessing they don’t based on the fact that software piracy in Asia is huge. But what do I know.

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