Microsoft's Anti-Piracy Policy Promotes Piracy

Fake News written by James Baughn on Sunday, June 18, 2000

from the you-can't-spell-conspiracy-without-piracy dept.

REDMOND, WA -- Microsoft is causing quite a stir over new policies that prevent OEMs from including Windows CDs with new systems. Even though they have paid the Microsoft Tax,, customers... will only receive "Recovery CDs" (expensive drink coasters) and computers with the Windows "Certificate Of Authenticty" (warning labels) permanently attached. One Microsoft spokesdroid said, "These innovative policies are designed to combat piracy. It's for the protection of our valued customers." However, preliminary research conducted by Humorix indicates that this new policy will actually increase piracy -- and how!

The Humorix Vast Research Labs Of Doom(tm) decided to research this matter by purchasing two machines: one from a reputable Microsoft-endorsed manufacturer, the other from a shady reseller who includes unlicensed copies of Windows with each system for... um... (wink, wink) 'testing purposes only'. We paid US $1,200 for a SpottedCow(tm) brand PC from Gateway 19100 and $700 for an virtually identical white box from an eBay seller with dubious feedback.

Except for cosmetic differences, both machines were the same. They both came with Windows 98 pre-installed, but neither shipped with usable Windows media (except for AOL discs). Both copies of Windows had a MTBF of about 10 minutes, both featured Solitaire, and both sucked equally hard. However, we didn't pay the Microsoft Tax for one of them.

The upshot is that, with the SpottedCow box, we paid $50 for Windows but received nothing to show for it except some random magnetic impulses on the hard drive (and a Windows COA label that even a nuclear blast couldn't budge). With the eBay white box, we paid $0 for Windows and received nothing to show for it except some random magnetic impulses on the hard drive. The latter copy, of course, wasn't "legal", but we didn't expect that ethical dilemma to last much beyond FORMAT C: and lilo: linux.

So, in the future, Humorix is only going to buy machines from dubious anonymous sellers that include Windows "for novelty purposes only". If we're going to receive nothing, we sure aren't going to pay anything more than nothing for it.

Moreover, we expect others to do the same. The demand for pirated Windows pre-installations should skyrocket. Confided one eBay retailer, "This is the best news coming out of Redmond I can remember... bids at my auctions have already jumped. Gateway 19100, CompUSSR, Dull Computers, and Conpaq will all be out of business by X-mas as shoppers all opt for medialess computers without media prices.

Said one person we interviewed, "Shut the hell up! If everyone finds out about this little... uh... secret, then the Microsoft Piracy Police will swoop in with their unmarked black helicopters and put a heavy-handed stop to this. I can only imagine what kinds of 'anti-piracy' policies the Microserfs will think up in response to this... Receiving the death penalty for using an unlicensed copy of Windows? I can see it. Then again, being forced to use Windows is only one step below capital punishment anyways..."

A certain formally-dressed individual waddled up to this Humorix reporter and said while munching on herring, "Microsoft sees Linux users as a bunch of pirates. Just as jolly-roger-bearing pirates of yore stole treasure, Linux 'pirates', according to Microsoft, steal operating system marketshare. So these new policies really are anti-piracy... er, I mean anti-Linux. Windows sheep won't try Linux because they know they won't be able to recover their Windows system if their Red Hack Linux installation happens to go awry. This is all a Microsoft strategy designed to thwart Linux users from pirating... er, rightfully taking... Windows marketshare."

However, another strangely dressed individual, this time wielding a sharp pitchfork, responded, "Nah, this is the perfect opportunity to advocate Open Source software! It's impossible to distribute pirated copies of FreeBSD or That Other System That Rhymes With Cynics, so users won't ever have to face these draconian restrictions if they boycott proprietary software. Once Joe Schmoe gets burned because he can't reinstall Windows after the Registry corrupts (again), then he'll think twice about paying something for nothing."

Then he added with an evil grin before vanishing in a puff of red smoke, "No, this harebrained Microsoft policy is going to backfire in the long run... the DOJ doesn't need to split up Microsoft when Bill Gates can blissfully do that himself..."

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