The real misconception about WGA

On June 30, 2006, in Rants, by

Earlier today there was chatter about the impact of WGA.. Windows Genuine Advantage… and how we didn’t like the fact that Microsoft deemed the “piracy patch” as a critical patch, and when it failed, it had security implications because the computer user would disable automatic updates.

Already there’s been a lawsuit filed against WGA.. and folks don’t like it’s ability to phone home.

But what I really don’t like about it is the fact that it breaks the trust of patching.  It’s not a security update… and it’s certainly only critical of a patch to Microsoft.. and the fact that the first ‘drop’ of it was a beta that was not clearly communicated to those of us who got that WGA update just was one of those moments that as a customer of Microsoft you just want to say to someone, somewhere… what WERE you thinking?

As a result… poor Alex is going to bear the brunt of my “What WERE you thinking?” post.

It was deemed ‘critical’ by you so that if someone was running with Automatic updates turned on ..which … hello Microsoft that’s what you tell us to do… they would not have any other choice but to have it automagically installed. 

To whomever was the Product Manager who gave the go-ahead to place this WGA update into the “critical” section, shame on you.  Shame on you for approving a beta patch to be offered up as a critically needed patch.  Shame on you for not informing folks appropriately.  Shame on you for not providing appropriate support mechanisms.

What is the support mechanism you are told to use?  Web email interface.  With a one business day turn around.  Business day. 

Microsoft just remember that as you are building out that stuff that the more you don’t need a specific operating system.. the less we’ll be tied to Windows.  Don’t make your distrust of your own customer so great that we lose trust in you.

The upper “high priority patches” are your own words… to protect your computer against security threats and performance problems… so how is a tool that makes sure that the legally purchased computer that “I” bought a security threat or a performance problem?

Select High-Priority Updates

To help protect your computer against security threats and performance problems, we strongly recommend you install all high-priority updates

Microsoft.. your job one in trustworthy computing is to minimize the need for patches.

Job two is to increase our trust in those that you recommend we install.

You just made the job of those of us who urge people to patch just a little bit harder.

Way to go there guys…



3 Responses to The real misconception about WGA

  1. Ben says:

    I’m fairly sure that they really don’t care and won’t care untill there is a big enough backlash, or a large sign that large numbers of people are not setting auto-update to download&install automagically. If they did care, the second time round, the patch would not again be in the critical updates section.

  2. mikeb says:

    Susan – you hit the nail on the head.

    Microsoft: “Trustworthy Computing” is all about… TRUST. Trust is relatively easy to earn, but once broken is very difficult to earn back. While I don’t think this episode has broken that trust (for most people anyway), it has definitely eroded it.

  3. isidro says:

    MS has lost TRUST long time ago, their products are full of bugs and they don’t care, they rely on the work of the customers in finding the errors, so WE buy their products, test and find errors in them, and THEN they fix some in Service Packs or patches. So the buyers are part of the development team…