Intuit Will Discontinue Product Activation

from the complaining-worked dept

After making it sound like they wouldn’t back down, it appears that Intuit has finally had a change of heart. Realizing just how much their “product activation” DRM technology upset their customers, they’re now saying that they won’t be using the technology any more. They said it didn’t help them attract any new customers, and it clearly hurt them in customer satisfaction. That first point is the most interesting one. Since the software industry loves to claim billions of dollars lost from piracy – this admission has just proven them wrong. The fact is that those who do “pirate” these software products are unlikely to ever actually buy them. When the software does include DRM – it certainly didn’t bring back any of those “stolen” sales, did it? All it did was anger their current customers (some of whom have said they won’t buy from Intuit any more). Of course, that’s not quite how anyone in the software industry will see it – and even Intuit says they’ll keep looking for better digital rights management technology for future products.

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Comments on “Intuit Will Discontinue Product Activation”

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Mike (profile) says:

Re: ?

Before answering this question, I should mention that at one point, many years ago, I worked for a company that built a (at the time) popular “wrapper” for software that let many software companies offer “trial modes”.

Anyway, the issue isn’t really what I think of the technology. I have nothing against the technology itself – but how it’s used. Generally speaking, consumers seem willing to pay for some types of software that they test after using a trial mode – so I understand why companies go with it.

However, looking at the longer term issues, I simply think that companies that look to base their business model by charging for software put themselves in a difficult competitive situation. There’s always an opportunity for another company to come along, create better software and charge less (or nothing) for it. It’s very difficult (with a few exceptions) to maintain a strong market position in software.

I think companies that have business models based around software are in a much better strategic position longterm.

As for the specifics of “trial mode” software, I think companies are so worried about how to keep people protecting their software that it just angers customers. For example, I recently bought a new computer, and wanted to move two pieces of software I had bought from the first one to the second. Both had been bought after using “try-before-you-buy” technologies. When I bought each, they provided me with a code. With software #1, I just re-entered the code on the new machine and everything worked. This was a minor nuisance to me, since I stil had to dig up the code. For software #2, I actually had to email the company and have them generate me a new unlock code – which took them several days. This didn’t make me very happy – and I doubt that it’s made the company any money. If anything, they’ve probably lost money in terms of the productivity hit they get having to re-generate codes for anyone like me.

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