Thai pirates crack Microsoft’s new XP

By : |November 11, 2001 0

BANGKOK: Thai computer users are buying thousands of pirated copies of
Microsoft’s new Windows XP operating system a week ahead of its official launch
in Thailand, vendors said on Monday.

Shops at Bangkok’s Pantip Plaza — a multi-storey rabbit’s warren of computer
goods outlets — said pirates had found ways of getting around the new operating
system’s security features.

“We’ve had XP Professional for three weeks and it’s selling very well.
We sell around 200 copies a day,” one shop owner, who identified himself
only as Nop, told Reuters.

Hundreds of copies were on display at 120 baht ($2.70) each at individual
stalls. Licensed home and office versions in the United States retail at between
$99 and $199. The official launch of Microsoft XP in Thailand is scheduled for
November 17.

Microsoft officials and vendors said software pirates had found ways to
circumvent the system’s new security features. They said a new “Product
Activation” feature meant individual customers had to buy separate copies
of the software, activated by sending a code over the Internet when they first
installed the software.

But large companies can buy a corporate key, allowing them to install the
software on any number of machines, and pirates have been able to steal or buy
these keys.

“The professional editions on display come with a corporate key on the
back which unlocks the product activation device,” said one vendor.
“It’s obviously come from an OEM (original equipment manufacturer),
probably a PC manufacturer who has bought the right to install it on new

Microsoft (Thailand) Limited managing director Peerapong Oeusoonthronwattana
told Reuters he was concerned by piracy but he knew pirates could circumvent the
new system’s security features in a variety of ways.

“Product Activation is not a single silver bullet solution to
piracy,” he said. “However, it is significantly more sophisticated
than past methods and is not easy for would-be casual copiers to

Thai police regularly crack down on software piracy, raiding shops selling
unauthorized goods and crushing illegal products with steamrollers or even with
elephants in public ceremonies. But officials admit they face an uphill task in
a country where it is often easier to pass a law than enforce it.

(C) Reuters Limited.

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