Microsoft claims that thanks to Windows Vista's tougher security the new operating system has a fifty percent lower piracy rate than Windows XP:
"Piracy rates are lower because it's harder," Microsoft Vice President Mike Sievert said in an interview Monday.
There are a variety of reasons for that, including the fact that businesses no longer have volume license keys that can be used to activate an unlimited number of machines. Another is the fact that Vista machines that aren't properly activated pretty quickly become basically unusable once they enter "reduced functionality mode."
For Microsoft, the gains have been significant. In its last earnings call, Microsoft said that five percentage points of Windows growth could be attributed to gains in piracy.
Interestingly, though, Microsoft makes the experience a little less harsh for those running pirated versions of Vista. With Service Pack 1, Microsoft is doing away with reduced functionality mode in favor of putting prominent notifications on systems that are not found to be genuine.