Microsoft responds to WGA 'kill switch' rumors

— 12:02 PM on July 3, 2006

Last week, we reported on rumors that Microsoft planned to implement a "kill switch" in Windows XP. A ZDNet blog quoted a Microsoft support employee as saying the Windows Genuine Advantage Notification application would become mandatory by the fall, and that users without it installed would see their copies of the operating system stop working after 30 days. A Microsoft spokesperson has now responded to these claims, albeit with a rather ambiguous statement:

"No, Microsoft antipiracy technologies cannot and will not turn off your computer," said a spokeswoman with Waggener Edstrom, Microsoft's public relations firm. "The game is changing for counterfeiters. In Windows Vista, we are making it notably harder and less appealing to use counterfeit software, and we will work to make that a consistent experience with older versions of Windows as well."
Computerworld believes the spokeswoman is denying the "kill switch" rumors, but she talks about turning computers off—not rendering Windows unworkable. Additionally, she suggests using counterfeit copies of Windows XP will become "notably harder and less appealing" over time. This statement makes Microsoft's stance none too clear, considering the company told ZDNet last week that customers "may be required to participate" in the WGA Notification program in the future.
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