Just a month ago, Microsoft seemed like a villain after The New York Times exposed the company's cooperation with efforts by the Russian government to crack down on political dissidents. The scenario went like this: Russia would accuse advocacy organizations it didn't like of pirating Microsoft software (whether true or not), and Redmond would go along with the prosecutions. Now, however, Microsoft has put a stop to that scenario--and not just in Russia.
So governments can no longer use piracy investigations as a pretext for quashing dissent.
It's an impressive move, and one that counters Microsoft's reputation as a bully interested in pursuing its business interests whatever the cost to others. But it's also one that came after months of complaints by human rights groups that the company was doing the wrong thing. Even at a time when the power of the traditional press is supposedly waning, it took a New York Times piece to push Microsoft into donning a white hat.