Report: MS ends 'naked PC' program

Well, it seems that computer dealers can forget about getting free watches or grills for snitching on their customers to Microsoft Corp.

The company had been offering systems-builders prizes if they reported customers who bought PCs without an operating system, called "naked" PCs, to the Redmond, Washington-based company. However, that program has been scrapped, according to a report in Thursday's Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

The report quotes Microsoft spokesman Matt Pilla, as saying the program was "stupid" and ended weeks ago. Pilla did not return repeated requests for comment and Microsoft declined to make anyone else available.

Naming names on 250 such naked PCs netted dealers a pack of five Microsoft games, 500 computers led to a watch and over 1,000 computers brought dealers the weekend pleasure pack of a grill and lawn chair.

At the time the program came to light, Microsoft said it instituted the plan to battle piracy and to clear up confusion with companies who believed they had site licenses to Microsoft operating systems. No such licenses exist, according to the company. However, the plan was also widely seen as an attempt to single out customers who wanted to install Linux on their PCs and not pay for a Microsoft operating system they would not use.

Despite early indications that the information collected would be shared with law enforcement agencies, no such sharing ever took place, the story quotes Pilla as saying.

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