back to article Microsoft genuinely chuffed as judge drops WGA case

Microsoft has claimed victory in a long-running lawsuit brought against the software giant over its Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) scheme, after a US judge dismissed the case. Late last week the judge in the District Court for the Western District of Washington dropped the case with prejudice, which means both the defendant …


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  1. adnim

    Weasel words

    "The suit had alleged that WGA was falsely advertised as a security update"

    It was a security update, it likely helped Microsoft secure more profit.

    It's a bit like those claims on food produce... "New improved recipe". An improved recipe from the point of view of the manufacturer. ie:reduced ingredient costs and/or a cheaper manufacturing process.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      New & Improved

      I always like the old chestnut in a lot of adverts when they say "new and improved".

      If something is new then there were no predecessors.

      If something is improved then there must have been predecessors to improve upon.

      So a product can't be both... can it?

  2. Greg J Preece

    The truth is not the right truth

    "The suit had alleged that WGA was falsely advertised as a security update. "

    Which it was and is. It is listed as a high-priority update, a section of the update system previously reserved for patches and security updates. This also meant that is was installed automatically, despite not being an essential system upgrade. These two things together would easily mislead the majority of users, not clued up on technical schtuff, to assume it was a security update of some kind.

    Calling it "Windows Genuine Advantage" - surely the world's most bullshit and meaningless name - didn't help either.

    Of course, if you are actually running a legit/downgraded system, you've nothing to worry about (now they've fixed it not to accuse downgraded users of being pirates), but God Almighty, it is annoying as hell.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Gates Horns

      Don't forget

      Microsoft never lie!

      The fact that their OS has more holes than a Swiss cheese and that they're prepared to lie and claim that something is an essential security update just so that they can spy on their customers speaks volumes.

      Incompetent AND liars. Whod've thunk it?

  3. Ian Stephenson
    Black Helicopters

    Just goes to prove...

    ... that America has the best judges money can buy.

    1. Ed Gould

      Judges are easy to buy?

      Maybe not now but in the near future every politician will be as wealthy as Buffet. The idiot supreme court just opened the bank vaults and they will become the wealthiest people in America.

      Can't someone put a stop to this before its too late?

  4. Stone Fox

    as much as I hate to defend microsoft

    WGA wasn't exactly sneaked in, was it? I seem to remember everyone knew it was coming (and there were cracks available before IT was!)

    Buy the ticket, take the ride.

    1. M Gale
      Thumb Up

      Buy the ticket, take the ride

      Absolutely. Hence, why I grabbed the emergency cord halfway through the trip - err, product life cycle - and legged it before the conductor could catch me. Now I've got more chance of catching leprosy than buying WGA-crippled software. Or Steam for that matter.

      Life is good.

  5. ChrisInBelgium

    Maybe they should be honest for once?

    And call it Microsoft Windows Piracy Check Program, instead of using false wording like it being an advantage for the consumers? We all know it IS a breach of privacy and the advantage is only to THEM. And these wankers still don't understand that they are only annoying GENUINE consumers, the pirates laugh at this anyway.

    So, WGA = Windows Genuine consumer's disAdvantage.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      I used to work in a suite of offices where every copy of windows was genuine.

      WGA didn't think so though and after it was installed, nothing worked.

      Sparks flew!

  6. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    Untruthfulness != damages

    I'm not sure which of my XP PCs have had the WGA, but on at least one where it's offered as a critical update and/or security update, I chose not to run it and to suppress offering it. I think I recall there was talk of non-authorised XP PCs (including pirated Windows copies) being denied updates except for critical ones, but that doesn't appear to be the case.

    I am planning to test a new partition backup and restore method - Linux ntfsclone, compress, split - and patch day may be a good time to do that, alongside my current regimen. Up to now I've been using partimage 0.6.7(?) successfully, but it seems to fail on a volume with bad sectors, even when they are marked bad and not in use.

  7. b4k4


    if the issue is whether or not it was a security update, and it turns out that it was, then the meaning of security upate has been changed.

    that would be in addition to changing the meaning of genuine advantage.

  8. The Fuzzy Wotnot

    WGA works! Well done!

    I want WGA to carry on being used, it's fantastic! Treating genuine customers like dirty little freeloaders while the rip-off merchants get around it! It forced me to drop MS and find something far better, hopefully if they keep using it others will do the same!

    1. N2

      Me too

      I ditched MS because of having to arse around with this & the 'buy another license' drone from support.

      Thanks to the crappyness of WGA Im well out of the MS shit hole for good!

    2. M Gale

      Me too

      Chalk up another permanent loss to Microsoft thanks to WGA. It's not the only reason I ditched Windows and went to Toy Unix, but it's a bloody good reason. Final straw, proverbially speaking.

    3. Goat Jam

      Me three!

      Microsoft free since '03!

  9. No, I will not fix your computer

    What's all the fuss about?

    I have genuine XP and Vista, the patch was applied pretty much without me noticing, meh.

    Is it a security update? will it prevent hacks, compromises? not really, go to google download a bunch of activation and serial hacks then scan them (no, don't run them!) I'd be very surprised if your virus scanner didn't light up like a christmas tree, so it won't really fix anything, but if your Windows is genuine then you obviously didn't use some hack (possibly trojaned) to activate it of gen a serial.

    It is a security patch in the same way as locking the stable door after a horse has bolted will prevent it bolting, so I think the court case outcome is fair, and lets face it nobody (legal) loses from having it installed and if MS get paid for all their licences then in theory the price could come down.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      "if MS get paid for all their licences then in theory the price could come down"

      Who is kidding who? The price will only come down when someone releases an OS which includes some kind of Wine variant so that people will migrate away from Winblows.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Jobs Horns

      Come down?

      "if MS get paid for all their licences then in theory the price could come down"

      Yea, that's gona happen... Because Microsoft is just that kind of a corporation; one that drops prices on the product they have "pushed" (to put it nicely) into having a monopoly over the OS marked... just because they feel like it.

      No. In reality they would be more likely to increase it.

      Put it like this:

      A) More sales = More profit. (Pirates are paying now.)

      B) More sales + lower prices = Lower profit, but nobody is throwing away the penguin for over it.

      C) More sales + higher prices = Much more profit, but a few of the customers migrate to Linux.

      Now picture a meeting of the Microsoft higher-ups - the once that have pushed the company into being HATED by a lot of developers, and a few consumers, to increase profits. Which option do you honestly think they would pick?

  10. Geo

    ditch the bitch

    Use a propper OS like osx or linux.. problem solved.

    1. Haydies

      OSX - Its a toy OS

      I just wanted to say that it annoys me when people compare windows and OSX, for a start I can not install OSX on a PC, apple wont let me. I can't install OSX in a VM because.... apple wont let me.

      If I wanted to be tied in to apple I would have a mac, but I want choice and reliability so I will stay with windows. It annoys me that people still call window unstable, yet when was the last time any one actually had a Blue screen? and if they have, look carfully, chances are it wasn't windows but a driver, and before any one blames that on windows.... Apple solution to flash crashing the mac was? any one?

      As for linux, ye, I would use that more if it actually sported my hardware, or I could play the games I like on it.... I'd love to use linux all the time but the simple truth is, as a desktop os its not very good. Its a shame, it really is but linux people spent to many years telling every one that the command prompt was what real users use.

  11. Ammaross Danan


    The "Windows Genuine Advantage" title was most likely derived because only Genuine Windows installs would get a full barrage of patches. Originally, they planned on "no updates unless WGA is installed," but with the (obvious) bad reputation they had with security, they relaxed that stance and now allow "critical" updates to be installed without WGA, however you miss out on "important" or less updates. They figured that a large portion of the pirated versions Windows, still being vulnerable due to not getting SP2+ or patches, would hurt their "secure system" PR BS more than their bottom line would suffer from allowing these critical patches to be installed.

    1. Tom 35

      What's in a name

      "The "Windows Genuine Advantage" title was most likely derived because..."

      No the name came from the same marketing weasels that brought us "fair play" or "open cable".

  12. Haydies

    Nothing wrong at all

    I would like to say that it is infact the 'program' in no software terms thats called the "Windows Genuine Advantage". In that if your window is lagit there are many other free apps you can get from microsoft.

    I don't see what the problem is, if your windows is lagit then it installs and every thing is good. There is no reason why MS shouldn't try and stop people stealing from them. I think that they don't just brick the machine if it fails is actually quite fair, windows doesn't cost a lot and frankly if you want to crack your os your a fool. Who knows what the nice chap that wrote the crack of uploaded the OS did to it first, and if there are nasty thing nailed right in to the OS install there is a good chance they can cripple any AV you install later.

    People like to Bash MS, thats all this is. Get over it, be thankfull MS allow you to chose, unlike Apple.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      "I am not a fan boi..." last paragraph. This post suggests that you are indeed a "fan boi"...

  13. Simon Langley

    Something wrong at all


    This is simply not true. I have had problems several times with piracy prevention software/features complaining about completely legal software and I am far from being alone as some of the previous posters have pointed out.

    Any pirate worth his salt, laughs in the face of stupid ineffectual measures like this so all WGA does is irritate legitimate customers while having little or no impact on piracy.

    I sometimes think that M$ goes through the charade of pretending to prevent piracy while actually not caring as long as their market share doesn't drop (paid or pirated) but perhaps I am just being cynical.

  14. Coyote

    Can't complain

    Unlike the wankers who filed this suit, I have two brain cells to rub together and never once thought WGA was either a security patch or spyware. I wouldn't even call it DRM, as it doesn't restrict you, it just nags you.

    Yes, I paid for Windows. Not-so-happily with Vista, but happily with 7. My ONLY reason for keeping my desktop on Win 7 is Media Center. Digital Cable support is nice.

    Laptop is a MacBook. OS X is wonderful, but don't try to tell me it's free as in speech or beer: Sure, you can pirate it all you want... But just try running it on a non-Apple box. Aside from the lack of drivers, Apple does encrypt certain binaries using a key in the "Genuine" hardware's TPM. Sure, the OSx86 guys cracked it for now, but my point is: Apple doesn't care about OSX sales, they care about Mac sales. MS enforces a genuine product key, Apple enforces genuine hardware.

    Linux? Well, it's great at work, and it's great on my wireless router. But it just ain't there for my personal needs.

  15. Coyote

    The P always exists between the K and the C

    Haydies - It's actually quite hard to Trojan a Windows installation image and not have it immediately know something is wrong with itself. MS signs everything.

    Now, all those activation hacks that WGA tries to eliminate? Those can have some very nasty code in them, and frequently do. Once you tell UAC they are OK, you invited it in.

  16. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge
    Jobs Horns

    WGA false claims

    @Haydies and others, the problem was a) Microsoft falsely claimed WGA was a critical update, which was reserved for security patches and, you know, CRITICAL stuff. b) People don't want Microsoft to phone home with information about their computers, which WGA does. c) Not brought up in the case apparently, but WGA malfunctions and falsely tells people they have non-genuine copies of Windows. YOU might not think this is a big deal, but others do. Although, apparently not the judge.


    re: "I'd love to use linux all the time but the simple truth is, as a desktop os its not very good. Its a shame, it really is but linux people spent to many years telling every one that the command prompt was what real users use."

    I always have to laugh at this.. "oh no a command line!" But Windows users will not think twice about being expected to fire up a registry editor. Well, the reality is Windows users probably don't have to edit the registry often if at all, and modern Linux users don't have to use a command line much if at all. Although I must agree with "them", both under windows and linux real users do use the command line. A lot of online instructions involve the command line simply because it's easier to cut'n'paste some stuff over than to say "click here, then here, then check this box, etc. etc."

    Oh and "me four". I am also Microsoft free. I am rather surprised no distro company has gone in big on some wine development -- wine really is pretty good in terms of compatibility, I don't think it'd take much to make it close to 100% compatible. Amusingly, in some cases Wine has better Windows compatiblity than Windows, there's a Wine for Windows people have used to run old like Directx3-era games that will not work with DirectX9 (or 10 or 11) directly.

  17. Nathan Meyer

    Pyrrhic Victory?

    A lot of households and smalll offices buy one copy of Windows and then put it on two or three machines.

    Keep customers from doing that, and Windows loses some cost advantage.

    Those strapped for funds (or innately thrifty) will be more inclined to go to Linux, those with the money to burn will regard Apple more fondly.

    Intuit's Turbo Tax, you may recall, shot a huge hole in their market share when they tighened up their piracy controls, and found themselves impelled to loosen up.

    This could be yet another demonstration of the old Stock Market axiom: some days a Bull makes money, some days a Bear makes money, but a Pig, well a Pig always loses.

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