Starting today, many users of new, unregistered copies of Microsoft Windows will have to make a phone call in order to activate the software’s license. In a move to curb piracy of its flagship operating system, Microsoft has disabled the Internet activation alternative, now requiring these users to orally confirm their use of the product.
Customers who purchase a computer from 20 of the industry’s leading manufacturers will have to phone home to Microsoft and announce their intention to use the operating system that came with the computer they just bought.
In keeping with Microsoft’s Worldwide Anti-Piracy Initiative, the company will work “to further combat software piracy, Microsoft is working with partners to change how some Certificates of Authenticity (COAs) are matched during activation, because a significant number of COAs are stolen each year from reputable computer makers and resold as new. This change will help protect consumers from being victimized by pirates and give them confidence that they are receiving what they paid for. It also will help Microsoft’s partners protect their investments in Windows.”
It’s disheartening that Microsoft has to protect it’s products from theft; sadly, that’s the way it is. The move away from digital activation is a significant hurdle for many users. I know, because I’ve had to call a few times to activate copies of Microsoft software products, usually following hardware upgrades or replacements. The folk at Microsoft’s activation hotline are friendly and helpful, but it’s a cumbersome and time-consuming task to make a phone call during the installation of a new computer.
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