Looks like the folks at Symantec are jumping on the Product Activation bandwagon:
Del Smith, senior product manger for Symantec, said activation is intended to protect consumers from widespread counterfeit copies of Symantec programs. The company estimates at least 3.6 million bogus copies of its programs are sold annually, causing headaches both for Symantec and unsuspecting buyers, who find out too late that the software isn’t doing the job.
Smith said Symantec’s implementation of product activation is similar to Microsoft’s and does not use Macrovision technology. Symantec’s system generates a unique alphanumeric code to identify a PC configuration and ties it to the product key for a particular piece of software. It stores license information on the PC’s hard drive and allows for up to five activations for the same product key.
I love how these companies always try to paint these things as their way of “protecting the consumer” as opposed to ensuring higher profits. Let’s be honest about it folks. The truth is that even among people who do buy the software legitmately a lot of them buy only one copy of Anti-Virus and use it on every PC in their home. I have 4 PCs running Windows here and at $49.95 a pop that’s a good $150 Symantec won’t see if I only purchase one copy. Even if I upgrade the current copy I have I’ll save $20 on the first copy and the rest would be the standard $49.95. So, yes, there is some protection for the consumer in making it harder for the folks who sell pirated copies of Anti-virus to do so, the real benefit in this is the added revenue the move will bring in from multiple PC households.
This wouldn’t bother me so much if the companies were more honest about it. Of course, being more honest about it is likely to generate a backlash. Intuit learned this when they were honest about why they were going to product activation on their TurboTax application. Who could blame them when they sold an estimated 5.5 million boxes in 2001 and the IRS reported something along the lines of 15 million tax forms filed electronically using TurboTax. So they locked it down and the users rebelled and their sales dropped and they relented and removed the product activation. I give them credit for being honest about their motivation, though.
In my case, I wouldn’t have as much of a problem buying software with product activation hassles if the software was less expensive. Anti-Virus software is a necessity these days, especially if you use the Net, but $50 a pop per machine is more than even I am willing to spend. A lot of folks will just opt not to use anti-virus software at all.