REDMOND, Wash., Feb. 10, 2000 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that it has taken steps to make counterfeit software easier to identify and to assist honest resellers and OEM system builders in distributing genuine software by introducing new anti-piracy technologies as well as an Internet monitoring program. The new technologies, the most significant of which is an edge-to-edge hologram CD-ROM, will be included in retail and OEM System Builder versions of both the Microsoft Ò Windows Ò 2000 operating system and the next service release of Microsoft Office 2000.
Counterfeiting is often a sophisticated criminal activity, and software pirates can be well-funded and technologically savvy. Increasingly counterfeiters are using the Internet to distribute pirated software, frequently advertising their products with deceptive inventory explanations intended to lead consumers to believe they are getting a great deal on genuine product that was overstocked or that otherwise deserves to be discounted.
According to the Business Software Alliance, more than 2 million Web sites are selling or distributing pirated software and numerous sites have recently appeared that are posting beta copies of Windows 2000 for download. In an effort to crack down on this increasing problem, Microsoft is also launching an aggressive Internet monitoring program to specifically address sites that post Microsoft software for illegal downloading. In January alone, Microsoft worked with ISPs to remove over 100 sites posting illegal downloads of Windows 2000, and the company will continue to aggressively monitor and immediately shut down any similar sites on a 24×7 basis.
“The proliferation of piracy requires us to constantly re-evaluate how people can ensure that they are getting the real thing when they see the Microsoft name,”
said Jackie Carriker, group manager of anti-piracy efforts for Microsoft.
“It seems we are in a perpetual cat-and-mouse game with counterfeiters, but we think the new anti-piracy technologies and Internet monitoring program will make it more challenging for would-be pirates to make a quick buck while making it easier for customers and resellers to differentiate between genuine and pirated software.”
“Even as an authorized Microsoft OEM distributor, the increase in Internet piracy poses a tremendous threat to my business,”
said Christine Liang, president of ASI Corp.
“Fortunately, visual features like the edge-to-edge hologram will help honest system builders more easily identify illegal software in the OEM channel.”
Anti-Piracy Technologies in Windows 2000
An edge-to-edge hologram will cover the entire surface of the CD-ROM for the Windows 2000 line of products distributed throughout the world. When tilted in light, the hologram displays the product name and product-specific graphics from the hub to the outer edge of the CD-ROM.
To further help customers identify whether their software is legally licensed, all PCs purchased with Windows 2000 software preinstalled should include a new Certificate of Authenticity (COA) label attached to the system in an easy-to-find location. The OEM COA label has a copper, holographic, interwoven thread revealing the words
and the product name as well as a unique product key in the center of the label. When the label is tilted in the light, a Microsoft logo changes color between gold and silver. Retail versions of Windows 2000 will include a similar COA label on the retail box.
Anti-Piracy Technologies in Office 2000
With the next service release of Office 2000, edge-to-edge holograms will be included on Office 2000 CD-ROMs worldwide. Also, following a successful two-year pilot program, a Registration Wizard will be included in the next service release of Office 2000 in the United States to help prevent illegal installations of the software. The Registration Wizard is easy to use – customers need only provide the name of the country in which they reside to receive an automatically generated installation number that confirms registration. Customers are not required to provide personal information and can register anonymously via the Internet, fax or telephone or provide limited information to receive the installation number via e-mail or postal mail.
The Registration Wizard was previously included in the French, Brazilian Portuguese, simplified Chinese and Pan-Chinese versions of Office 2000 and academic Office 2000 packages distributed in the United States and Canada. This technology is designed for the retail CD-version of the next service release of Office 2000 and will not be included in products obtained by customers with volume license agreements due to unique deployment processes.
Customer Impact of Piracy
“Unfortunately I was among the thousands of consumers who unknowingly obtained counterfeit software last year,”
said Denise Flatt of Olympia, Wash.
“What looked to be a great deal turned out to be too good to be true. Although I learned my lesson the hard way, I am glad to know that Microsoft is making it easier for consumers to identify pirated software so they can avoid making the same mistake I did.”
Customers who acquire pirated software could find that, in addition to the increased potential for viruses, such software may be missing key elements, including software code, which could render the program unusable. Customers with pirated software are also ineligible for technical support, warranty protection or upgrades, and because they don’t have a valid license, they may need to repurchase their programs or face legal penalties. By spending money on pirated software, customers also are inadvertently contributing to the loss of tax revenue and employment and potentially helping to fund organized criminals. In 1998 software piracy accounted for losses amounting to nearly $1 billion in taxes and 109,000 jobs in the United States.
Customers or resellers with questions about the legitimacy of Microsoft software should contact the Microsoft anti-piracy hot line, toll free, at (800) RU-LEGIT (785-3448) or send e-mail to [email protected]
Helping Channel Partners Acquire Genuine Software
Microsoft software is frequently distributed through OEM system builders who work with customers that prefer to purchase pre-configured or customized PC systems. To ensure that the software they install on their customers’ systems is legitimate, honest system builders should look for the new anti-piracy features on OEM copies of Windows 2000 and Office 2000. In addition, the best way for system builders to eliminate the possibility of receiving pirated software is to acquire Microsoft OEM products through an authorized Microsoft OEM distributor. There are currently 12 authorized Microsoft OEM distributors with locations throughout North America.
“By looking for the new anti-piracy features and using the services of an authorized Microsoft OEM distributor like ASI Corp., system builders can confidently assure their customers that they are building PC systems preinstalled with genuine Microsoft Windows 2000 and Office 2000.”
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