3/2/2005

Microsoft Clear Up Windows Activation Misconceptions

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Microsoft’s plan to end windows XP activation via the internet caused some confusion to users. In response to the article first reported here last week, Alex Kochis, Senior License Compliance Manager at Microsoft Corp. sent me the following clarifications of the Windows XP Product Activation changes and how it will affect end users.

In brief:

  • Users of genuine Windows will experience no impact
  • The intent is to dissuade the theft or misuse of the Certificate of Authenticity or accompanying product key
  • Honest resellers have requested that Microsoft close this loophole so that they can compete effectively and they are extremely supportive of this effort

On Monday, Microsoft disabled Internet activation for all Microsoft Windows XP product keys located on COA labels that are adhered to PCs from large, OEMs who have direct licensing agreements with Microsoft. Directly licensed OEMs are authorized by Microsoft to customize their branded re-installation and recovery media so that if installed on the hardware it shipped with the Windows XP operating system will not require end-user activation.

Internet based product activation will remain available to all customers using products that require product activation today. The only attempts at activation that will be rejected are those using product keys that were pre-activated for the hardware they shipped with by OEMs on behalf of customers.

The intent is to dissuade the theft and misuse of COAs, and therefore, protect customers from counterfeiters and pirates. Honest resellers have also requested that Microsoft close this loophole so that they can compete effectively and are extremely supportive of this effort.

Adobe releases open-source interface software

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Graphics software giant Adobe Systems has released some components of its commercial products as open-source software, a move intended to help others ease a tedious but important part of programming.

The San Jose, Calif.-based company released two packages, Adam and Eve, that it uses for the creation of the interface people use to control software. The packages were posted last week on the company’s Web site.

Adobe said it released Adam and Eve “to give back to the wonderful open-source community which gives us so much” and to enlist the help of others in improving the packages.

Adam and Eve are libraries that can be used by other software packages. Eve eases creation of interface elements such as dialog boxes and lets the computer manage their placement on a display. Adam automates how interface elements are modified according to changing circumstances.

“Ask nearly any software engineer what they hate doing most and the answer will be, ‘Building the human interface,’ and even with Eve, that work is onerous,” Adobe said in an overview of the technology. “The code associated with the human interface accounts for nearly one-third of the code necessary to implement a feature within Adobe applications.”

Source: News.com

Intel urges high court to protect file-sharing

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Intel joined some of the nation’s most influential computer scientists and intellectual property experts Tuesday to urge the U.S. Supreme Court to protect Internet file-sharing lest technological innovation be stifled.

The entertainment industry has asked the Supreme Court to reverse lower court rulings that absolved Grokster and StreamCast Networks, operator of the Morpheus network, of liability when individuals used their file-swapping software to trade bootlegged movies and music online. The case, MGM vs. Grokster, is being closely watched in Silicon Valley and Hollywood and will be heard by the Supreme Court on March 29.

Technologists say the case raises fundamental questions about balancing technological innovation against the rights of musicians and other content creators.

Intel, whose own growth mirrors the rise of the digital age, told the court the entertainment industry is seeking to rewrite the rules that are the building blocks of the information economy. Hollywood would impose new, vague tests that would require innovators to do the impossible — correctly predict how consumers will use a technology, the company’s legal brief stated. That would leave tech companies facing limitless liability, Intel argued.

“Here’s the core problem, not just for Intel, but all the companies that innovate around Intel’s products,” said James M. Burger, a Washington attorney who prepared Intel’s brief. “How do you know what your product is going to be used for out of the box?”

Source: Yahoo

iTunes Music Store Downloads Surpass 300 Million

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Apple(R) today announced that music fans have purchased and downloaded more than 300 million songs from the iTunes(R) Music Store. Additionally, the benefit single “Across the Universe,” available exclusively on the iTunes Music Store, debuted as number 22 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart making it the most successful exclusive digital track ever in its first week of release.

The iTunes Music Store features more than one million songs and continues to add great music in all categories.

Microsoft: Activation shift won’t be a pain

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Microsoft’s plan to halt some Net activation for Windows kicked in Monday, with the software maker assuring customers that the antipiracy measure will not prove a problem for legitimate users.

As reported earlier, the updated program calls for the top 20 PC makers to activate Windows XP on every system before it ships. If a customer has to reinstall the operating system, as long as they use the restore disks from the original equipment manufacturer (OEM), activation will be automatic, said Keith Beeman, director of worldwide license compliance for Microsoft.

“For users of genuine Windows who have gotten Windows from one of the larger OEMs or smaller OEMs, it should be zero impact,” he said.

The change is the latest attempt by Microsoft to target software pirates who try to sell stolen copies of Windows XP or the certificates of authenticity that mark the software as legitimate. The company has a plan to check that people’s operating systems are properly licensed before allowing them to download certain updates. The plan, known as the Windows Genuine Advantage initiative, was introduced in January.

The people who will feel the effect of the program are those who loan their certificates to friends or those who are using a stolen certificate.

“It is not a small number, but what we expect to have happen is the counterfeiters who are using these keys will realize very quickly that those don’t work anymore,” Beeman said. “They are going to have customers that are unhappy.”

In those cases, Windows users will have to contact a Microsoft call center and answer questions from a Microsoft representative. They will, most likely, also be informed that they have a stolen copy of Windows running on their system, Beeman said.

Microsoft plans to extend the program to all its OEMs, he said.

Source: News.com

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