Microsoft must be hurting for market share: no more WGA for IE7

LOL! Look at THIS.

Microsoft has issued an updated Internet Explorer (IE) 7 release that no longer requires Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) validation in order to download.

Seriously. That’s like the RIAA condoning The Pirate Bay. Now WHY is Microsoft doing this?

Microsoft takes its commitment to help protect the entire Windows ecosystem seriously, we’re updating the IE7 installation experience to make it available as broadly as possible to all Windows users.

LOLx2! So… up until now they weren’t being serious about ‘protecting the Windows ecosystem’? ;) Yet I note that W2K users are still out of luck, so its something else I think. Could this be because DRM (of which WGA is an example) doesn’t really work except to aggrivate honest users? And Firefox is kicking IE7s ass in terms of adoption rate? And with Vista sucking so bad and XP being given a temporary reprieve to make up for it, IE7 would never get above 60% market share as long as it had one hand tied behind its back by WGA.

This is really just Microsoft’s old ploy, as Bill Gates described:

we want them to steal ours. They’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect

IE6 *must* die, so in that respect, this is a good thing, but don’t get addicted to IE7 if you can help it; if you still use Windows XP or Vista and haven’t tried Firefox, Opera and Safari, I highly encourage you to get a feel of what other browsers are out there to avoid monoculture situations.

Update: ars technica reports: “The move is remarkable because it is the first time that Microsoft has removed WGA checks from a product in order to increase the attractiveness of that product. It’s difficult to see this as any but an attempt to get as many users as possible to install IE7, even those who have pirated Windows.” and Mary Jo Foley follows up on the story I originally linked to here. I commented to that article as follows…

Gates explained it in 1998

I voted for “To try to grow IE 7’s marketshare by adding software pirates to the count”; to partially quote what Bill Gates said in 1998:

“we want them to steal ours. They’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect”

The ‘addiction’ can only happen if IE7 gets a vast-majority market share like IE6 had.

Now look at

The numbers from aren’t necessarily indicative of the overall web, but I’ve found the trends they show are.

Compared to the IE5 -> IE6 transition which was rapid and fairly X shaped on the graph, the IE6 -> IE7 tansition has stalled, with IE7 having plateaued at a level *less* than IE6.

This is very bad for Microsoft, as it represents a prolonged vulnerable state. Since IE6 and 7 are different enough that they need to be treated separately by developers, the difference in market share between IE7 and Firefox is small enough that website developers must take the latter into account too and thus support it (even if you take the Net Applications numbers to be fully accurate, and I don’t, you’ll note that the ratio of FF:IE7:IE6 is about 2:5:6. If it was all IE6, that would be 2:11) And if Firefox is supported, there will be less sites that are IE-specific, meaning less ‘addiction’ to IE.


3 Responses to “Microsoft must be hurting for market share: no more WGA for IE7”

  1. New Stats: Firefox now has plurality there! « Limulus Says:

    […] The IE trends in the coming months will be especially interesting to watch; pretty much regardless of the source, IE7’s market share appears to have plateaued at a level below IE6’s, most likely due to the WGA DRM which they have now removed. […]

  2. Web Browsers in the Internet Age « Limulus Says:

    […] funny thing is that Firefox, which does not seek to hook itself deeply into an OS, has never had DRM (WGA) interfering with upgrades, tries to fit in rather than garishly proclaiming that its time to spend more money and (most of […]

  3. W3Schools: Firefox marches on in 2008! « Limulus Says:

    […] for January, so I updated the graph. Firefox appears to continue its rise at the expense of IE6. Removing the WGA in October didn’t seem to have any effect. Is the out of place look-and-feel in XP a bigger […]

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