Geek News Central writes this morning:
Customers who purchase a computer from 20 of the industry’s leading manufacturers will have to phone home to Microsoft and announce their intention to use the operating system that came with the computer they just bought.
Likewise, ComputerWorld Canada writes:
Starting February 28, the company said, customers who want to re-install Windows XP would need to call a customer service representative to activate the operating system.
This one is technically true but extremely misleading. If you reinstall Windows XP using the original CD on the original computer, you don’t need to activate it, over the Internet or over the phone. The implication is that everyone who buys a PC from a major OEM will have to jump through hoops every time they have to reinstall their operating system, and that’s simply not the case.
I’m not trying to pick on these two publications or the many others that have gotten this story wrong. Microsoft has done an absolutely terrible job of publicizing the details of this change. Whoever is in charge of media relations for this new initiative has dropped the ball completely.
The worst part is that this sort of misinformation gets widely dispersed and it also gets picked up and cached by Google. In short order, it becomes conventional wisdom. It must be true, because it’s been printed in so many places.