This week Microsoft ended the pilot run of its Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) by releasing an updated version of the software. This time around, the company has made sure that WGA's behavior is well documented with clearer opt-in instructions. Plus, as was reported a few weeks ago, Microsoft has limited WGA to only check in with the company periodically rather than every day.
Reading through Microsoft's press release about this new version of WGA, it seems as though the whole purpose for the update was to highlight the fact that the company has added better documentation and lessened the application's "phone home" frequency. The new privacy statement is in a question and answer format, covering topics such as what data is collected and how it's used. Another added piece of documentation that follows this update is a Knowledge Base article, KB #921914, which includes detailed instructions on disabling and removing the pilot version of the software.
Microsoft is obviously trying to make good on their mistake of not being up front about the initial WGA checks. If you read the press release, it would seem that there is no way Microsoft could implement a program like the one mentioned earlier today where copies of Windows would be disabled if a user chooses not to install the WGA software or if he is running a pirated copy of Windows. At this point, if the company did start locking users' operating systems, it would put the company in a terrible light, especially since it stresses that the entire program is strictly optional. Could it still happen? Yes, it could, but the odds are that it won't. I guess we'll find out for sure in the coming months.