New Windows 8 activation protection causing headaches for PC makers

By Tom Warren, on 25th Oct 11 9:56 am with 33 Comments

Windows 8 Tablet at BUILD 2011

Microsoft’s new verification system for Windows 8 is causing headaches for notebook ODMs and OEMs, according to reports.

ODMs, who create and manufacture products to be branded by big vendors, are arguing over who shoulders the cost for implementing Microsoft’s new activation protection system. DigiTimes reports that Microsoft’s new OEM BIOS activation (OA) 3.0 technology creates additional costs for ODMs and they are pushing the big brand vendors to pay the extra costs. Microsoft’s OA 3.0 technology means the company will pre-install Windows 8 into a PC’s BIOS, allowing end users to key-in a product key to activate the software online. Microsoft is believed to be dropping the COA label from production. The lack of label and an attend time per PC could result in higher production costs for ODMs and cases where the manufacturers install copies twice on a machine due to overlap. Microsoft is reportedly charging a fee per number of installations.

Microsoft has used OEM BIOS activation in previous versions of Windows. The protection allows PC makers and system builders to pre-activate copies of Windows for use on their hardware. OEM BIOS activation (OA) was originally introduced with Windows XP. Microsoft shipped OA version 2.0 with Windows Vista. The software giant is now readying OA version 3.0 for Windows 8. Microsoft is working on a key new technology that will enable it to protect against activation hackers. Illegal copies of Windows have been widely circulated thanks to mechanisms created to bypass Microsoft’s OEM activation certificates. Windows Vista and Windows 7, which both rely on OA version 2.0, have fallen victim to activation cracks and bypass methods. In July 2009, months before its release, Windows 7 was fully cracked and activated with an OEM master key. Microsoft is keen to avoid the same cracks with Windows 8.

  • Michael Stjohn

    Must be a slw news day..

  • Hassan Ali

    Good. Piracy should be abolished like slavery.

    • Anonymous

      Slavery was never gone, it just took new forms. Piracy should stay imo

    • Parker Ciambrone

      I don’t think piracy should stay, but yeah, there are more slaves today than any time in history

    • Hassan Ali

      How are there more slaves? Please be elaborate.

    • Anonymous

      What do you mean? Some kind of hippie crap about “corporate slaves”?  Or are there literally more humans in slavery than before?

    • Robin Ashe

      There’s also more people than any time in history.

    • Tyler McFerson

      As evidenced by the guy below me, you forgot the /s…

    • Test1ngi23

      Yes because patterns of bits are just a valuable and real as physical objects! /s

    • Guest

      You couldn’t type that without them, so I guess so.

    • fcuk u

      You are a foolish person Hassan, MS established itself through “leaked” copies of win and office. Wake up dodo!

  • Gamer

    No surprise, thanks to China

  • Emi Cyberschreiber

    i dont think they care that much about windows piracy so obviously it gives them headaches.
    I hope microsoft can do something about piracy though, it would be nice if they can reduce that for windows 8 which is getting better and better.

    • Robin Ashe

      They could reduce prices. Offer upgrades at something reasonable like $49. That’d do more to prevent piracy than any of these other methods they’re thinking of.

    • Anonymous

      Reduce the 64-bit Home Premium by $60? No way, MSFT wouldn’t make their mega-profits otherwise – which they currently DO with piracy.

  • Alex H

    Good riddance to the COA labels! Imagine one of those on the back of your nice new tablet…

    • Robin Ashe

      Plus it’s really annoying when they get worn down and you haven’t backed up your code elsewhere.

    • Guest

      Once again MS is putting $$$ ahead of quality sometimes I start to think they will never get it when it comes to design and quality 

  • Pedro Roque

    I don’t think this info deserves much credit. This would mean no one except big OEMs and ODMs could install windows, and anyone who custom build PCs would be outta of luck. Me inclued.

    • Luis E. Padilla

      This would mean no more installing Windows with OEM CDs but with Retail CDs which are more 30-50% more expensive!!

    • Guest

      Isn’t this just for secure boot?

  • OMG55

    Piracy causes companies to loose millions of dollars every year. If the manufacturer owned window or office and were losing money to piracy, they would take steps to negate it too. Do we want our systems protected or will we sacrafice security so we can have illegal copies windows??? I’d rather have security and if I were MS I would take measures to stop piracy as well. As to old saying goes, “It takes money to make money”…….Stop whinning Manufacturers and get on with it Already!

    • mike

      Learn to spell, please!

  • OMG55

    C’mon Man….If you think MS will not sell you a licensed copy of windows to put on a system you building, then you’re crazy. MS makes plenty of money selling its software to individuals as well as businesses.

  • Karl Cramer

    This is why this is a developer preview and not even a beta. So they work out these problems.

  • Guest

    Windows is too expensive and the price is the same for all countries but the salary of people is not the same in every country , so the price of windows will not change like in other things like cars.

    This is not fair and Microsoft doesn’t care about that, so i don’t care too , especially then they are already extremely rich. Piracy won’t die anyway – it will just get delayed for a while , especially then we have so many crackers out there who most of them doesn’t have a job. Now if you can afford 100~ dollars good for you.

    • Anonymous

      Let me guess – you just bought a $1500 Macbook Pro!

    • Guest

      The price isn’t the same for all countries and hasn’t been for maybe half a decade. Try to keep up.

    • Anthos

      That was probably the last time he paid for a legitimate copy of Windows

  • Guest

    So OEMs, who sell more hardware because so many units go out unlicensed, are against a plan to reduce piracy? Wow, I’m shocked. And since most are based in Taiwan, right next door to the biggest pirater of WIndows software in the world, it’s not like they have any vested interest here /s

  • Guest

    I wouldn’t leap to conclusions until you see the final sku offering. But OEM CDs have been abused quite a bit too. They were meant for system builders, but many PC shops will sell you one standalone. Also, an OEM CD != a Retail CD. The retail one can be transferred to a new machine over time. Technically, the OEM one can’t.

  • Anonymous

    As long as this plays off for consumer benefit at the end of it all such as cheaper Windows, cheaper hardware, more secure system, then I am all for it!

  • Ukinayo

    All americans are assholes.