Earlier this month, the government shelled out $50 million USD to Apptricity due to the U.S. Army using Apptricity's software on more servers and workstations than licensed. Now one soldier stationed in Qatar has stepped forward to reveal that the Army is allegedly using pirated copies of Windows 7 as well.
According to the report, this soldier claims that 18 computers in the education center at his base, Camp As Sayliyah, run unlicensed copies of Windows 7, and has done so for quite a while. Even more, these computers clearly state that the operating system is not a genuine copy of Windows 7.
Images provided to TorrentFreak show one Windows 7 computer displaying the "Windows 7 Professional product key you typed in is invalid for activation" error. Another image has the error message "You must activate today" and another shows "Windows 7, Build 7601, This copy of Windows is not genuine" at the bottom right of desktop.
The soldier told TorrentFreak that currently this is the only time he's seen a military base running unlicensed Windows software on desktops and laptops. He claims he approached his superior about the piracy issue, but so far nothing has changed.
"I am not anti-government in any way, but I have been in the army a long time and I feel the army should be kept honest and accountable for what they do, especially when it is so public and a hot button issue in these times," the soldier said.
As TorrentFreak points out, it's quite possible that the Army has keys for these computers, but they're misplaced. Maybe the IT administrator didn't think using pirated copies would be a big deal for the Army overseas. The latter scenario wouldn't be surprising given the way the Army handled Apptricity's software, which lead to the lawsuit and $50M settlement.
Regardless, Microsoft may be a bit forgiving given it just signed a $617 million licensing deal to bring Windows 8 to the Army, Air Force, and Defense Information Systems Agency.