Snitch-a-customer program was ‘stupid’, says Microsoft

Won't get caught again

Microsoft branded its shop-a-non-Windows-user program for resellers "stupid" today, and blamed its own "very very confusing" license agreements for obfuscating the picture.

Spokesman Matt Pilla denied that Microsoft had shared information gained from the scheme with anti-piracy cops, and deeply regretted offering resellers such dismal prizes as a Fossil Big Tic Watch, grill, and travel chair.

(We made the last apology up, but you get the general idea).

Under the scheme, which was piloted in the United States, resellers got a bounty from Microsoft for reporting customers whose orders included PCs without an accompanying Windows license.

So if the punters had the temerity to want a PC to run Linux, for example, or simply to replace a Windows PC that had been sent to the skip, their resellers were encouraged to snitch the details to Redmond.

Speaking to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer Reporter, Microsoft spokesman Matt Pilla described it as "a super-brief pilot program that was admittedly stupid but absolutely didn't share information" with the police.

The P-I, presumably quoting Pilla accurately - which we've no reason to doubt, as it's entirely consistent with the company's explanation for the caper - characterises the scheme as an attempt to inform "misinformed corporate customers," who can't transfer a Windows to a new machine under the existing site licence.

Of course, by physically tying the OS to the hardware itself, this will not be a problem in the future, for happy XP campers. ®

Related Link

Seattle P-I Story

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