Microsoft has recently launched a program to help address piracy issues with their popular software. This new program called "Windows Genuine Advantage" is a new validation on Microsoft's download center.
The program, which is voluntary at present, asks visitors to the Download Center to check that the Windows software installed on their machines is in fact a legitimate and licensed copy. Eventually, Microsoft could make the program mandatory. The company could also prevent those that have unlicensed copies of Windows from downloading software updates on Microsoft's site.
"We've got to pilot the infrastructure," David Lazar, a director in the Windows client unit said. "We're kind of making a value judgment [on whether a copy of Windows is genuine]. We want to make sure we get that correct and the experience for everyone is a positive one."
Lazar said that Microsoft's goal is to have 20,000 users go through the procedure before deciding how to expand or modify the program, an effort that he estimates could take anywhere from six weeks to three months.
The Business Software Alliance, of which Microsoft is a member, estimates that piracy costs software makers $29 Billion annually.