According to an e-mail I recently received from a Microsoft spokeswoman, the new Windows Product Activation feature in Windows XP is still in full effect. How this will work is still unknown, but Ars Technica has a write-up of what we might expect. Ars itself qualifies the piece heavily, as there's no way of knowing yet if this is really how it's going to work. But it might be.
As mentioned here numerous times, the customer who buys Windows XP will need to activate it through the Internet or a phone system. Most likely, the majority of XP users will already have the Internet, making the activation process much easier, although the phone system should all be automated and will not interfere with Microsoft Support (Not a lot of chance of doing noticeable damage there, eh? - Ed).
Ars sums it up pretty well: "When contacting Microsoft, you will provide that Product ID code and a "hardware code" generated by WPA. Taking these two numbers, Microsoft will then issue you another ID, and it's this ID that will activate Windows. According to several sources, the final ID and your country name are all that are required to activate Windows." This was confirmed to The Register by Microsoft some weeks back, and one of the things worth noting about the XP beta install process is the way it flags 'no invasion of privacy.' Microsoft is sensitive about this.
What about users who like to install Windows on the four computers they have at home? This stops, basically, so do they buy the extra licences or join the warez world? Jury out.
And a follow-up to the "Chi-Ro" stuff. These are the Greek versions of XP, as used on the banners of early Christian Emperor Constantine. They are also, as numerous readers have pointed out, pronounced approximately "Cairo," which was the MS all-singing all-dancing new look that didn't actually ship, way back. So Microsoft product name designators, far from being superficial marketing-centric airheads, speak Greek, know some ancient history, and are aware in considerable detail of the history of This Great Company they work for.
Nah, we don't believe that either. Coincidence, must be...
Any tips, queries? Send them to Luis at The Register. ®