Some, or maybe many, Microsoft volume license customers were told on Monday and Tuesday that their PCs were running pirated software.
In a post today on the company forums, Microsoft staffer Phil Chui blamed the cock-up over Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) validation on "an issue on the Microsoft server side".
Microsoft is investigating the cause of the server breakdown. In the meantime it offers a workaround here.
This may be less than satisfactory for sysadmins, especially if they have to hose down their, by definition many, PCs one at a time.
If volume license customers can get caught up in WGA hell, what hope for the little guys? Today, Microsoft unwrapped the Software Protection Platform, a set of tough new anti-piracy measures to be incorporated into upcoming OS releases, Vista and Windows Longhorn Server. The biggest innovation, to use a totemic word for Microsoft, will be to "force PCs identified as running counterfeit Microsoft software, into "reduced functionality mode in Windows Vista".
According to Microsoft, "in most cases customers will be able to correct this situation quickly with the options provided. With the tools in place for OEMs, and small to large customers, we expect that most customers should never be affected by having a non-genuine installation".
We predict tears. Lots of tears. ®