Chinese Windows Users Accuse Microsoft Of Hacking Their Computers

from the a-successful-antipiracy-day,-huh? dept

Part of Microsoft's big antipiracy day festivities was to talk about how it was ramping up efforts to crack down on unauthorized copies of its software in China (again, despite the fact that unauthorized copies in China are part of what helped establish Microsoft software as the de facto standard there). The efforts in China include more use of what Microsoft likes to call "Windows Genuine Advantage" -- which is really a DRM system known mostly for falsely accusing legitimate buyers of being pirates. Approximately half a million legitimate buyers were accused of piracy, leading many to suggest that WGA is quite similar to a rootkit, making your computer not function properly, all in the name of stopping piracy.

Over in China, it appears that they're not at all happy about WGA. Last year, a student there sued Microsoft for privacy violations in sending info back to Redmond via WGA, and in response to Microsoft's "get tough on piracy" campaign, apparently a bunch of folks in China are publicly denouncing WGA as being an illegal intrusion on their computers. They're accusing the company of trying to control computers without permission and of "hacking" their systems. Microsoft's response, of course, would be that legitimate buyers have nothing to worry about -- even though that doesn't quite seem to be the case. Still, it's difficult to feel all that sympathetic for the complainers -- as they should have known what they were getting with Windows. If they don't like it, there are other options on the market.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 24th, 2008 @ 12:45am

    not that many

    as they should have known what they were getting with Windows. If they don't like it, there are other options on the market.

    thats is the real problem there aren't many options in the market.
    before the Linux and apple fanboys get on my case.
    - Apple OS is too much of a closed system to be used by most ppl.
    - A PC with a Linux OS(with all its different versions isn't much more than a big paper wait for the average user).

     

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  2.  
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    Ali Khalid, Oct 24th, 2008 @ 1:44am

    No option at all.

    Still, it's difficult to feel all that sympathetic for the complainers -- as they should have known what they were getting with Windows. If they don't like it, there are other options on the market.

    Clearly there are no options available. When you buy Windows; you buy a platform. if you suggest that there are many options available then all those options should be to run all the current program available in the market which run on windows. That i am afraid is not the case.

     

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  3.  
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    Luka Marinko, Oct 24th, 2008 @ 2:05am

    >thats is the real problem there aren't many options in the market.
    >before the Linux and apple fanboys get on my case.
    >- Apple OS is too much of a closed system to be used by most ppl.
    >- A PC with a Linux OS(with all its different versions isn't much more than a big paper wait for the average user).

    Both of this are an option for 80% of the people. They just have to invest some time to learn the difference/alternatives.

    What would be the point in switching to another exactly(or even mostly) the same system anyway. You switch(or don't) because you want the difference. If you want Windows stick with Windows.

     

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  4.  
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    crystalattice (profile), Oct 24th, 2008 @ 2:10am

    Options are available

    Macs are just as capable as Windows and have most of the same software. Linux is good for the vast majority of what people want to use a computer for; with Wine, even Windows programs will work.

    Yes, it will take a little effort to learn a new OS. The problem is everyone forgets what a struggle it was to learn how to use Windows. Especially since MS decides to change the "Windows idiom" with every upgrade; that's why they have "Windows Classic" as an option for XP.

    Learning how to use a Mac only takes a few days; a week at most. That's how long it took my wife when we bought our first Mac, and she's not computer-savvy.

    Linux can take a little bit longer, depending on the distro. But if someone is pissed off with a vendor monitoring the computer, it's a small price to pay.

    So, yes. There are options. People just have to be willing to take a few days of pain.

     

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  5.  
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    crystalattice (profile), Oct 24th, 2008 @ 2:18am

    Re: not that many

    "- Apple OS is too much of a closed system to be used by most ppl.
    - A PC with a Linux OS(with all its different versions isn't much more than a big paper wait for the average user)."
    How is Windows any less of a closed system than Apple? Because you can buy any PC and have a copy of Windows on it? Because you can only (legally) have OS X on a Mac?

    The underlying OS is still a closed-source, proprietary system. You don't know what is being sent back "home". And with virtualization programs like Parallels or VMWare, you can still have Windows when you need it.

    Linux systems aren't paperweights for most people. Most people only need to do email, web surfing, and light office suite tools. Linux works just fine for that.

    Yes, I use all three OSes and I've encouraged friends and family to buy non-Windows systems. All have been happy with the switch.

     

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  6.  
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    Bolly, Oct 24th, 2008 @ 2:42am

    Few Options are available

    Pick mac and have little to no hardware choice and premium/expensive limited choice of software

    Pick linux and spend more time trying to get something working than actually doing what you need to do

    Windows is really the only choice (thanks to developers targetting the platform for many years)

     

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  7.  
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    Gozza, Oct 24th, 2008 @ 4:43am

    Re: Options are available

    If your wife wasn't computer savvy then it's easier for her to learn how to use the mac-os.

    If she was MS savvy, she would already have a mental model to work with, and it would cost more energy and brainpower to understand the differences between OS. Because she couldn't 'unlearn' her MS experience and fill in the blanks with Mac experience.

     

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  8.  
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    TDR, Oct 24th, 2008 @ 5:02am

    I beg to differ, #7 - I've been a Windows vet for years, but I use a Mac at work every day. It wasn't at all hard to adjust, and the operational differences are fewer than you might think (just a few different keys to work with, mainly). And OS X itself runs nice, smooth, and quiet. Stays out of my way while I work. And it's fast.

     

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  9.  
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    Paco, Oct 24th, 2008 @ 5:21am

    Oh, the irony. Some *CHINESE* are complaining about privacy to Redmond when they have one of the most intrusive governments with respect to computer privacy in the world.

     

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  10.  
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    btrussell, Oct 24th, 2008 @ 5:34am

    Re: not that many

    "A PC with a Linux OS"

    Try PCLinuxOS.

     

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  11.  
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    Bigness, Oct 24th, 2008 @ 5:44am

    Ironic

    Funny how the Chinese people are screaming about illegal copies of Windows when they counterfeit anything they can to flood the market with crap (how about those "iClones" running pirated copies of Windows?!?!)!

    And all of you are missing the boat here, this is about illegal copies of Windows, not what OS they are using. It's like they are crying about getting arrested for stealing a car and complaining because the cops ran the license plate "without their consent". Well, I guess they have "other options" to steal!

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 24th, 2008 @ 6:00am

    a bunch of folks in China are publicly denouncing WGA as being an illegal intrusion on their computers.

    How about you guys take care of your ridiculous government first, then worry about your privacy on the desktop. Then again, I guess Bill Gates won't disappear them for complaining about windows.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 24th, 2008 @ 6:27am

    Re: not that many

    Um, at least for English speaking countries, Ubuntu is apparently kicking ass for the average user. The average computer user checks email, browses the 'Net, types up stuff and does their bills.

    All they need is a browser, e-mail client, word processor, and spreadsheet maker. All of those readily available for free and usually pre-installed.

    Truth be told, DirectX is the primary selling point for Windows in the home market. If Microsoft didn't have DirectX, game makers wouldn't have a reason to only make it on Windows.

    And face it, DirectX is pretty damn good. There is a reason OpenGL and OpenAL have been runners up usually, and not for lack of OpenGL games (I have a few; Half Life comes to mind).

    And I'm sure OSX from Apple can do all the stuff Linux can, considering it's based on Linux now.


    So really, for home users, there are only 2 reasons to be going with Windows:

    1. It is familiar.
    2. You play video games.

    For 98% of the other things you need a PC for, Apple's OS X and most Linux distributions will work more than fine.

    Using Windows in a business environment is a different matter, and has more to do with Active Directory (which you can use with OS X with a few third party solutions).

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 24th, 2008 @ 6:29am

    Really?

    I'm just surprised that the great firewall of China even lets the WGA crap through.

     

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  15.  
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    TRD, Oct 24th, 2008 @ 7:25am

    Good points, AC, and I agree, but at least in my personal experience, I've had some difficulties getting Linux to run right on my machine - older versions of Ubuntu give me the infamous random freeze glitch, and new versions of any distro won't recognize my video drivers - they just dump me into a linux prompt no matter what I do. So I'm stuck with Windows for now.

    But it is pretty funny, what the Chinese are saying, given their government's reputation and all, and the piracy going on there.

     

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  16.  
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    Ed, Oct 24th, 2008 @ 9:03am

    The trouble with Linux/OsX

    Personally I have two machines under my desk at work. One Linux, one Windows.

    Why you ask? Some software is only available under Windows, some only for Linux.

    To make matters worse, under Linux it usually must be a specific version of Linux. Too new, and the software doesn't work. Therefore, if two programs require different Linux kernels, I am out of luck. While the Windows versions generally all work under XP.

    As for Apple, if has some nice features, but is useless for most of what I do. They just don't make the software I need for it.

     

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  17.  
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    Ben Matthews, Oct 24th, 2008 @ 11:08am

    Few things

    First, I don't see where MS's response is that they shouldn't have anything to worry about if it's a leagl version.

    Second,

    "thats is the real problem there aren't many options in the market."

    And all other quotes along these lines simply state that Windows is a better product than the alternative. People try to use this as a way of discounting Windows' legitimacy, but it really just solidifies it.

     

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  18.  
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    No Six Pack, Oct 25th, 2008 @ 8:29am

    Windoze == Spyware

    Microsoft charges a lot for their software and then uses it to monitor what you do with your computer. They probably sell information based upon the results obtained via their spying.

    Microsoft is a convicted monopolist and they abuse their position. This is old news but nothing has changed.

    The Chinese need to learn how to turn off all the crap that enables the spyware. Maybe their great firewall blocks access to "howto" sites.

     

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  19.  
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    Karl Frytol, Oct 26th, 2008 @ 12:25am

    The nerve of it

    If citizen of the middle kingdom feel they are taken advantage of, erect the Great Wall again else they might create an operational system of their own instead of being copy cat and whining.

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Rose M. Welch, Oct 26th, 2008 @ 9:16pm

    Huh?

    Still, it's difficult to feel all that sympathetic for the complainers -- as they should have known what they were getting with Windows. If they don't like it, there are other options on the market.

    I'm afraid that I disagree. I purchased my computer in anticipation of Windows. I purchased Windows XP and Office 2003, knowing that there is a huge database of templates and help available for these products. I purchased many peripheral software programs that only run on Windows.

    Then I'm told that I can't use or am limited in my use of those services unless I install mystery software onto my computer - software with a misleading, short description. If I don't like it, I can switch to something else, and lose most of my software and (possibly) all of my hardware, depending on my platform choice. Wtf?

    It doesn't matter that there are other products on the market. What matters is that I purchased these products with an implied promise to deliver certain goods and now they have reneged. Want to DRM new products? Go ahead. But I purchased these products, and all of the other peripheral Windows-based software that I use, intact and I would like them to stay that way.

    I am all for letting a company choose what they want to sell, including DRM, but I am also for letting a consumer choose what they want to buy and not changing it later. After all, we can't change it by cracking the DRM on our purchases later, now can we? Why should they be able to?

    My next computer will run Ubuntu. I am not looking forward to the day that I severely lose functionality, but I can see the plethora of programs that will be created once there is a market for software for Ubuntu and other 'alternative' software.

     

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