On February 19, 2010, I asked this question: Is stealing from Microsoft OK because they have lots of money? As you might expect, the query generated a lengthy discussion. I framed the question in the form of three polls. Two of the poll questions were straightforward, with yes or no answers. The third question was loaded, designed to elicit an explanation based on the answer chosen.
I don't typically give my personal opinion in this blog because it is more important to hear what the TechRepublic membership in their roles as IT professionals have to say (your opinions carry more weight), but I feel it necessary to offer my two cents in this case.
No matter how you rationalize it or attempt to mitigate it, using any software, whether Microsoft Windows or not, without paying for a license to do so is just plain stealing. The arguments put forward in the discussion thread attached to the original poll (it costs too much, Microsoft is evil, I didn't get a CD when I bought my PC, piracy is not really illegal, etc.) are just smoke screens. If you are using the Windows operating system, you should be paying for it.
OK, I'm stepping down off the soapbox now. Here is how the TechRepublic membership responded to the original poll questions.
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Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.