Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Microsoft offers IE7 without validation - no strings attached

Finally, Microsoft has decided to challenge Firefox on its own turf, by making Internet Explorer 7 a truly free, no-strings-attached browser.If you thought it was freeware, seeing as you actually don’t pay anything for it, think again.

You were paying in information to Microsoft, because the condition to download IE7 was the need for Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) authentication.WGA is part of Microsoft's Genuine Software Initiative.

It is intended to help prevent the distribution and use of unauthorized versions of Windows. Up until this week, if you wanted to download IE7, you had to authenticate according to the WGA. So, you may wonder, why would it be a problem to request that users are law-abiding, legitimate owners of Microsoft software before they can enjoy IE7?It’s a problem because the harsh reality is that no less than 85 percent of users worldwide are using illigitimate Microsoft products, and even that is a conservative estimate.

Apart from legal Windows XP or Vista installations, that come pre-loaded on PCs, how many home users do you know who paid for their copy of Office?

In business, we tend to go legal, but home users don’t and they make up the bulk of total PC ownership in any country.Anyway, users like there privacy, even business users, and they’re probably not comfortable with Microsoft keeping an eye on their hard disk contents.

It’s not just Microsoft applications that may be illegitimate, there are also products from Adobe, Corel and others which may be illegal.

Simply, Mozilla’s Firefox offers users an excellent, full-powered browser without any conditions. This has allowed Firefox to gain a sizeable share considering it’s not backed up by a major corporation like Microsoft.

Naturally, Microsoft will ‘add some PR spin’ to why they’ve changed their strategy, claiming that IE7 is more secure alternative than IE6 and that higher adoption of the browser will provide more Internet security worldwide. Fair enough, if IE7 was actually more secure! Microsoft’s statement also makes it clear that the company is still ‘totally committed to fighting software piracy’.

But what this move shows is that the availability of a free, open-source alternative that manages to gain significant market share, may push Microsoft towards offering free software.

Interesting, and it’s a first sign of a major industry shift at the consumer end.In a few months, once the uptake of IE7 increases, and the browser is put under serious pressure by hackers and malware writers, we’ll get a better idea on how secure it is, and the number of downloads will show if this strategy has halted the increasing market share of Firefox.

Although I don’t like to promote software companies, I suggest we all download IE7 and show Microsoft that this is the right direction; thereby promoting freeware, and less conditions on future software releases by the the industry’s top publisher. Think about that.


At 8:36 AM , Blogger SPIRIT said...

hi zied ... it`s from my pleasure to invite you to visit my new blog it`s not about technology akeed i always visit ur blog and read ur articles


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