October 5, 2006
Product Naming: "Reduced Functionality" Can Kill or Cripple
Microsoft’s recent announcement that they plan to install the Software Protection Platform (only a few offerings from Microsoft have longer names) into the new version of Vista and has the Internet in an uproar. On one hand, it is obvious that with counterfeit copies accounting for 35% of all software, Microsoft needs to do something to stop the flood of copies cheapening its brand name and missing a revenue stream.
On the other hand, there seems to be a chorus of anger levelled at the company. The complaints are many, ranging from worries over a disabled computer spitting out spam to simple deployment headaches.
What is most irritating is what Carl Howe refers to as the “Orwellian language” regarding how the software works. Computers that are found to be running what Microsoft perceives to be copies will suffer “Reduced functionality.” Not so fast.
The Between the Lines blog renames the software what it is: a kill switch, and that small piece of renaming actually reframes the argument: I don’t want anyone to have a kill switch to my computer, nor do I want anything in my system that can cripple it. It comes down to this: one person’s protection from pirates is another’s self destruct button.
Linux-based competitor Ubunto is loving this.
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