Microsoft’s activation service has always been somewhat controversial since its debut in Windows XP, but has turned out to be a necessary evil. The process started out being very forgiving, and to be fair, we have yet to hear of a single legitimate customer being turned away. Even when Microsoft was within its rights to deny activation as a result of terms in the EULA, a simple phone call was often all it took to resolve the dispute. Pirates have been taking advantage of Microsoft’s generous nature for years now, and new reports are suggesting they are looking to close down a few of the loop holes with Windows 8.
In particular Microsoft is looking to improve the way they deal with OEM editions of Windows, making it significantly harder for pirates and rogue OEM’s to circumvent paying their dues to Redmond. In the past several OEM’s used a single activation key, however going forward with Windows 8, they will be required to write a unique Windows product key into the BIOS of each new machine shipped.
OEM’s will also be forced to obtain their product keys directly from Microsoft electronically, and each machine will come with a “Genuine Microsoft” sticker affixed to the outside of the case. In the past machines were only required to come with a Certificate of Authenticity. The new requirements only applies to Windows 8 at the moment, however if Windows 7 hangs around as long as Windows XP did in the Vista era, we can probably expect the program to be expanded.
Legitimate customers probably don’t have anything to fear from these changes, and they make absolute sense for Microsoft going forward as long as this dosn't change.