Looks like Microsoft is going to save the world, yet again.
Yes, I’m cynical about anything Microsoft does that supposedly benefits anyone else. They didn’t get where they are through altruism.
But a closer look shows that that cynicism might not be justified here. It is a real improvement to their product, and a valid reason for people to upgrade their copies of Windows (earlier versions of Windows being the biggest competitors to Vista and Windows 7). The fact that it helps the rest of the world too is just an accidental side effect.
Even the “covenant not to sue” on it benefits Microsoft directly, because without that, the world would probably ignore them and adopt a different solution.
All in all, it’s a rare and masterful example of turning a potential technical disaster into both a commercial gold mine (driving consumer upgrades) and an untarnished PR win at the same time.
A tip of my hat to you, Microsoft.