Microsoft Director of Business & Sales Operations - Eric Ligman

Eric Ligman, Microsoft Director of Business & Sales Operations Blog

Windows Genuine Advantage, pilot program no more. Another step to help our legitimate Partners combat software piracy!

Taking another step to help level the playing field for our Partners who work diligently every day to convey the message of legitmate or legal software, Microsoft has now converted it’s Windows Genuine Advantage Pilot Program into an official 1.0 launch as of July 25, 2005. Windows Genuine Advantage provides a tool located on the web for customers to validate their installation of Windows.

Some of the key enhancements in this release:

1) Validation via WGA will be required for all customers using Windows Update, Microsoft Update for Windows content, and the Download Center (DC). Security updates remain available to all Windows users — with or without WGA validation — via the DC or Automatic Updates.

2) Microsoft has provided ongoing added-value software offerings for genuine users throughout the WGA pilot as a way of providing these customers with richer Windows experiences. Microsoft has augmented its initial offerings with additional offers for a total value of approximately $450 (U.S.).

3) Microsoft has enhanced and simplified the validation process by automatically checking participants’ PCs to determine whether they are running genuine Windows software. All Windows users will no longer be required to enter their 25-digit product key to validate their software.

4) Two offers of genuine software will be available worldwide for Windows XP Professional and Home Edition for customers who unknowingly acquired counterfeit software. Qualifying customers who fill out a piracy report, provide proof of purchase, and send in their counterfeit CDs may receive a genuine copy at no cost. Qualifying customers who submit a piracy report may receive a genuine copy of Windows XP Home Edition for $99 ($U.S.) or Windows XP Professional for $149 ($U.S.). The latter offer will be fulfilled online and via CD through postal mail to help customers get genuine Windows as quickly and conveniently as possible.

You can access the full press release regarding the launch of Windows Genuine Advantage at:

Also, remember that you can always report suspected piracy and illegal practices to Microsoft in any of these three ways:

1) Email:
2) Web:
3) Phone: 800-RU-LEGIT

We also have several quick videos available for viewing regarding what to watch for when buying OEM software, differences between OEM, Retail Box, and Volume Licensing, plus more in the Common Questions and Misconceptions section of our site:

Thank you and have a wonderful day,

Eric Ligman
Microsoft US Senior Manager,
Small Business Community Engagement
This posting is provided “AS IS” with no warranties, and confers no rights