Those using illegitimate versions of Windows XP will have their desktop background go black, in a not-so-subtle tactic from Microsoft to combat software piracy and “encourage” users to purchase genuine copies of Windows. The WGA update was actually announced back in August, but as it spread through China this week, users in that particular region were up in arms over the tactic saying that Microsoft is “violating their right to privacy.”
It should be noted that the measure does not even render computers running illegal copies of Windows inoperable, but merely changes the desktop background every 60 minutes to a plain black one with the reminder to go legit. Still, upsetting what could potentially be Microsoft’s largest software market could turn out to be a bad move – the company dominates the Chinese market, but with software piracy (knowingly or by accident) estimated at more than 90%, the firm’s profits fail to reflect its popularity.
The software giant’s attempt to protect its intellectual property has unsurprisingly sparked angry denunciations, with the China Software Industry Association particularly saying it plans to take action against the company. Critics assert that Microsoft is putting users’ information at risk by accessing their computers and accuse them of not thinking of its customers, even though the company has lowered the price of its software in the country.