Microsoft Wins Patent for Crippling Your Computer Until You Pay UpS

Oh ho ho. Microsoft just got a patent for crippling your computer until you pay them dammit.

Specifically it's for "making selected portions and functionality of the operating system unavailable to the user or by limiting the user's ability to add software applications or device drivers to the computer" until an "agreed upon sum of money" is paid to unlock everything.

You likely have little to fear from it, however—since filing for this patent in 2005, Microsoft's consistently moved toward being less annoying, even to pirates.

Still it's interesting to read the patent to see how Microsoft thought through the problem of locking down an open architecture. (You can leave your "What? They patented BSoDs?" quips at the door, BTW, since I already took care of that.) [USPTO via Slashdot]