Published on ZDNet News: February 17, 2005, 8:40 AM PT
Microsoft has launched its biggest initiative yet to combat rampant software piracy in Brazil, allowing only registered customers access to "non-critical" updates of its Windows operating system.
The program, launched Wednesday, will give Microsoft's Brazilian users access to certain software updates, such as the latest version of its Windows Media Player, only if they have registered their operating system on a special Web site. Legal users will also have access to special offers, such as discounts for some products offered by Microsoft and its partners.
Other updates related to security and defined as "critical" by the company will still be available to everyone.
Unveiled last fall in the United States, Canada, China and the Czech Republic, "Windows Genuine Advantage" aims to ween consumers away from cheap versions of Microsoft's OS sold on the black market.
Industry groups say more than 60 percent of the software running on computers in Brazil was purchased or copied illegally.