I think you missed the point. Microsoft could afford to allow piracy 20 years ago because Word and Excel were not their main source of revenue and were not major players in the office market. They winked at unlicensed users because they knew that would get them a huge share of the market among those who could or would not pay for WordPerfect, Lotus 1-2-3 or other programs that typically cost $300 and up per user at the time.
Maybe. But having worked as a part of a Fortune 5 (not 500) company team that hammered out one of the first corporate site license deals ever made with Microsoft back in the 80s, saying that Redmond "winked" at bootlegging Office (or was not viewing it as an important part of their revenue stream and overall sales strategy) does not coincide with what we learned about Microsoft, either through official or unofficial channels. Quite the contrary in fact. They were absolutely incensed about it. But there was a looming antitrust issue confronting them, and they decided to let it go until the issue with the Feds got resolved. IBM did the same thing with people cloning its PC design. At the time, it wasn't considered an issue they wanted to bring to a head - for exactly the same reason.
I'm not a Microsoft apologist, but they do have a business to run. And activation and "genuine advantage" aren't too burdensome the way they've implemented it.
Well... That's easy to say when your sitting there with an MSDN subscription and a spread sheet full of keys (which we both have iirc) for anything you might want/need to play with. But the view is not quite as clear cut for everybody. Mind you I'm not disagreeing, I'm just pointing out a teency bit of a glass house factor to the position on something we're sort of insulated from.
I have a little trouble with this new 'grass roots socialism' I'm starting to see, where anytime somebody wants something they can't afford brings up accusations of greed and "not playing fair." One reason I have a problem with that is because there are viable alternatives to Windows and Office which are available for free.
And yes it is true that I have a Partner Action Pack
subscription (not the MSDN - because I couldn't afford that one - and it's not bloody fair either!
) which I use in my business. But it's primarily there to stay up on the Microsoft products we provide support for.
For home and personal use, I'm virtually 100% Linux/FOSS these days.
I'd love to migrate all our internal business systems over to Linux. But I won't for the simple reason it forces us to use Microsoft's technology on a day-to-day basis. If you want to support something it's best you be an actual user in order to not lose sight of your client's perspective. I think the expression "Eat your own dog food" is what the team that developed Windows NT called it.
Regarding activation and WGA, I'll stand by my contention it's not too burdensome. One click and an Internet connection is all it takes. If something screams at you, a call to Microsoft's toll-free number will get it straightened out very quickly and you're off and running. I've never known anybody that had a problem with the way Microsoft handles those calls. Especially since they almost always give the caller the benefit of the doubt, even if they're suspicious. I have heard anecdotal evidence to the contrary. But neither I nor my clients have ever experienced any problems.
Going back to my earlier note, the most common problem is people attempting to migrate a PC manufacturer's OEM copy of Office over to a new PC they bought. Usually they order a new machine and just figure they can use their old copy on that. Unfortunately, the standard OEM EULA specifically says it doesn't allow that.
One of the reasons why those "cheap copies of Office" are so cheap is because they're pegged to the machine they came with. But even then, most times if it's a current Office release, and it's being installed on the same make of PC, it will go on and authenticate without any problems.
Dunno. It still doesn't seem like such a big deal to me