Saturday, May 07, 2005

A free, licensed version of the Microsoft's operating system...

Microsoft is trying to lure users of bogus copies of Windows XP with an enticing offer: a free, licensed version of the operating system.

There's just one catch: Customers will have to fill out a counterfeit report with Microsoft and be able to provide the Windows disk they have, as well as some kind of receipt for their purchase. Those who don't have the disk or the receipt are eligible to buy a licensed copy online for $149.

The move is the latest in a series of expansions for the Windows Genuine Advantage program, which Microsoft quietly launched last September. The program, which runs software that verifies whether a particular copy of Windows is legitimately licensed, is the linchpin of a campaign by Microsoft to boost the number of paying customers among the millions of people that use Windows.

The Windows Genuine effort started as a purely voluntary program, but Microsoft has since been requiring validation for more and more customers who want to download software from the company.

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates is not letting U.S. schools off so lightly. Speaking to a group of journalists, Gates prefaced his remarks on technology trends with a warning that the United States is in grave danger of losing its economic advantages to fast-growing nations such as China, unless the country restores its lead in education and implements policies supporting growth.

If you look at the trend 10 years ago, the U.S. and China were not that different in terms of the number of engineers graduated," Gates said. "Now we have one-quarter the number of engineers, and the trend is continuing, with the U.S. number going down, and China going up quite a bit...We need to improve our own game, to make sure own slice of the pie stays very large."

Gates is among a handful of technology executives who have issued periodic warnings that the United States is in danger of losing its mantle as high-tech center of the world as the skills of other countries catch up or even surpass those of American workers.


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