Soon after Microsoft announced their new anti-spyware offering, I went to download it, and discovered (as everyone else has) that they confusingly hide the actual download behind a process designed to guarantee that you have an authorized version of Windows running. If you read the instructions carefully, you can get around actually running that check. While my version of Windows is perfectly legitimate, I saw no reason to tell Microsoft about it again and avoided the authorization check process. However, others are beginning to wonder why Microsoft is forcing people to prove they have a legitimate version of Windows just to download their anti-spyware application. After all, the whole reason Microsoft needs to offer this product is because they can't be bothered to actually fix some of their security holes. This sets up a weird set of incentives for Microsoft, whereby they might think they're better off pushing out buggy code, and then only allowing authorized users to patch it, as a way to catch those who are unauthorized. It seems unlikely that Microsoft would actually stoop this low, but there have to be better ways to work on getting more authorized copies of Windows out there.
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