Microsoft criticized for Windows Genuine Advantage failures

The International Charter has issued heavily criticism of Microsoft’s handling of Windows Genuine Advantage complaints. Microsoft has also had its ISN rating reduced to “Neutral” as a result.


July 5th 2006 - (London) The International Charter today issued a warning to Microsoft Corporation that its latest failure to implement Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) was unacceptable and that further action against the company was likely if it did not appropriately address user concerns.


The Windows Genuine Advantage tool examines Microsoft Windows installations to ensure that they have a valid license and are not running illegal versions of the software.


The International Charter cited a number of users who had been wrongly labelled as using pirated software by the tool, all of whom had been encouraged to buy “legal” versions.


"Microsoft has a responsibility to ensure that initiatives such as Windows Genuine Advantage are implemented correctly" said Alex Whitfield, Director of Software Services at the International Charter. "Instead they appear to have rushed it to market without due consideration, causing a great deal of inconvenience to thousands of users. Furthermore their continued denial of these problems and refusal to address them is not the expected response from a responsible corporation”.


Last month Microsoft admitted that Windows Genuine Advantage covertly contacted Microsoft servers each time a machine was started, something that was not disclosed in privacy or user agreements. The company has since disabled this behaviour.


As a result of this latest incident Microsoft’s software division has had its ISN rating cut to "Neutral" from "Good". The rating will be re-evaluated on August 1st.



For more information on ISN ratings visit


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