Ballmer hints at tougher Vista antipiracy crackdown

Microsoft may 'dial up' the intensity of antipiracy technology baked into Windows Vista as part of an effort to squeeze more revenue from emerging markets

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has told Wall Street analysts that the company might "dial up" the intensity of antipiracy technology baked into Windows Vista as part of an effort to squeeze more revenue from China, India, Brazil, Russia and other emerging markets.

Ballmer's comments came during a conference call with financial analysts in which he repeatedly hammered home the theme that sales forecasts for Windows -- Vista in particular -- have been "overly optimistic."

One way Microsoft can bump up Windows sales is to tighten the screws on pirates, Ballmer said. "Piracy reduction can be a source of Windows revenue growth, and I think we'll make some piracy improvements this year."

"We have new technologies built into Windows Vista, something we call Windows Genuine Advantage [that] we've really dialed up in capabilities with the Vista release," he said. "I do think that will bring some revenue growth. We will have strong growth in the Windows business in emerging markets: China, India, Brazil, Russia and many others. Those markets are very high piracy."

According to the Business Software Alliance, an antipiracy watchdog group for the software industry, counterfeits accounted for 86 percent of the software sold in China, 72 percent in India, 64 percent in Brazil and 83 percent in Russia. The figures are 2005 estimates, the last year for which data is available.

Last fall, when Microsoft announced details of Windows Genuine Advantage in Vista -- which included new counterfeit-sniffing software as well as the crippling or disabling of important features such as the built-in antispyware protection and the Aero interface in bogus copies of the operating system -- the company took heat from both users and analysts.

It appears that Ballmer doesn't agree, for he hinted that Vista's antipiracy features might be tightened even more. "We [will] really ferret through how far we can dial it up, and what that means for customer experience and customer satisfaction," he said.

In other comments during the hour-long call, he repeated the promise that Microsoft would not again make the mistake of taking half a decade developing the next Windows. "We won't go five years again, I promise, between big Windows releases," he said.

The promise replay was interesting because of its timing. Earlier last week, Microsoft distanced itself from remarks made earlier by a company executive that the next operating system would roll out in 24 to 30 months.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Gregg Keizer

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?