CyberTech Rambler

February 28, 2007

New category for WGA: You might be a pirate

Filed under: Uncategorized — ctrambler @ 2:27 pm

According to arstechnica, MS is adding a new category classify customer under its Windows Genuine (Dis)Advantage (WGA) program, i.e., now you can be “genuine”, “pirate” and “may be pirate” instead of simply black-and white “genuine” and “pirate”.

Its good to see Microsoft acknowledge and manage false positive in its WGA classification program. In any classification program, there are always false positive (and false negative). While the idea is always to try to keep them as low as possible, they cannot be completely eliminated. With programs like Windows, a small tiny percentage point, say 0.0001% false positive can translate to millions of people.

As I said before, the rule of the game, as far as Microsoft is concerned, is whether it can keep the number disgruntle genuine customers down in a way that it will not affect its business. Before this announcement, Microsoft’s stance has been WGA is working and the false positives are low, implying there is no problem with WGA. This public stance is only to be expected. The real deal is to see what the company does quietly. While it is correct to conclude that, with this move, Microsoft is acknowledging WGA needs twicking and thus, there is a problem with WGA, we cannot conclude that this is a big problem. The interesting part will be to see how Microsoft treats this new “you might be a pirate” category: If Microsoft is lenient, we can infer they have a problem, if it is almost as strict as “pirate” category, then it is indeed true that WGA is not as bad as the media and I like to portray it.

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