News – Vista Lockdown,Vista Upgrade Coupon Stocking Stuffers, Security Vendors Criticize Microsoft Secrecy

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Microsoft Vista Lockdown: “We will let you use your browser for periods of up to an hour before we log you off.”

Studies claim software piracy costs around $34 billion annually. That’s not chump change, but microsoft might risk alienating legitamte users with the draconian anti piracy measures it plans to implement in Vista. Vista will need to be activated with a legitimate product registration key within a set period or it will basically lock the user out of the computer. Thomas Lindeman, a senior Microsoft product manager, described the lock out as simmply that the the system will run in “reduced functionality mode” which will only allow the user access to the browser on the system and then for only up to an hour after which time the user will be locked out. “In reduced functionality mode, we will let you use your browser for periods of up to an hour before we log you off,” Lindeman said. Microsoft says most users won’t ever encounter the activation process because systems will be activated by OEMs before they ever reach consumers, but most of the Windows users I know have had to reinstall there OS at least once during the life of their PC. The new technology is part of Microsoft’s  new “Software Protection Platform” and will eventually find its way into all other Micrsoft Software.


Vista Upgrade Coupon Stocking Stuffers

If you can’t wait to dive into the activisation process described above, Microsoft will be offering coupons to upgrade to Vista for purchasers of XP later this month. In an effort to drive PC sales through the holidays and reduce the chance of a slow down as users await Vista, Microsoft will be offering coupons that range from discounts to free Vista upgrades. Before you run out and by a PC though, make sure you read the fine print.Customers who buy PCs equipped with Windows XP Pro, Windows XP Pro Tablet PC Edition and Windows XP Pro x64 Edition will be entitled to a free upgrade to Vista, however customers that buy Windows XP Home Edition will have to pay $49 to upgrade to Vista Home Basic Edition. Also OEMs will have to meet certain requirements to sell the upgradeable version of Windows XP. For example, only systems that meet Windows Vista requirements will be eligible for the Upgrade. The program starts Ocotber 26th and will run through March 15th, 2007.


Security Vendors Criticize Microsoft Secrecy

Since we’re on a roll with Microsoft news today, we’ll wrap up our news brief with one last related story. Vendors of security software, such as Symantec, are criticising Microsoft for not allowing them access the the Vista kernel. The vendors complain that without access it will be impossible for them to offer products that can enhance and expand on the security features built into Windows Vista. They claim prevention and protection will become reactive rather than proactive as it is now. Security vendors have described Microsoft’s approach as “an old, outdated mode of security, geared for threats from three or four years ago”. Security software firm McAfee went so far as to take out a full page add in this week’s Financial Times urging Microsoft to give them access to the kernel. Microsoft responded with a generic statement, “Partners are at the core of Microsoft’s business model. We have worked closely with our security partners throughout the development of Windows Vista, and continue to do so” that offers little insight as to what their ultimate position on the matter will be.



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