'Kill Switch' In Vista and Office 2007?

Dennis Faas's picture

As the release of Vista nears, so too does the highly-anticipated business tool, Office 2007. With it will come a host of new options and features for corporate users -- so long as they're playing fair.

Recently, insiders are whispering more and more about the rumored "Kill Switch", first reported here on Infopackets.com back in July. Although we could only speculate on the possibility that the switch would exist via WGA (Windows Genuine Advantage) affected Vista PCs, it's now becoming apparent that the same could be true when it comes to Office 2007. (source: zdnet.com)

Back during those long days and hot nights, we described the rather "underhanded" approach Microsoft was taking in ensuring the validation of its software.

Although experimental, WGA was indeed being distributed to consumers as a "critical update", with the Redmond-based company hardly explaining its purpose. It was at this point that critics began to ponder the power Microsoft could wield if this technology were included in its next round of software. (source: zdnet.com)

Most of the speculation on the Kill Switch comes from an increasing information base regarding the Windows Genuine Advantage, Microsoft's controversial anti-piracy protocol. Designed to check the legitimacy of PCs running Microsoft allegations, rumors abound that Vista (and now Office) will shut down if an MS-placed registry component reports that any software is pirated.

While this sounds somewhat absurd, Microsoft has been anything but straight forward in denying the rumors. Representatives from the company have been slower than "molasses in January" in making clear their difference between "validation" and "activation", leading insiders to believe that little has changed from the first reports of the kill switch this past summer.

For now in the eyes of many, it's guilty until proven innocent.

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