Microsoft is trialing a 'tech-lock' in the US, which if successful will be included in all its software in a bid to smash software piracy.
At the Computer Trade Show at the NEC this week David Gregory, channel piracy manager, outlined Microsoft's future plans to combat piracy and urged resellers to give their support.
"Conservative estimates are that the channel is losing around #4 million a year due to software piracy - in reality it is more like #6 million to #8 million," he said.
Gregory said that around 50 per cent of illegal software is in small businesses, but the most difficult market to police is consumers.
"With around 24 million PCs in homes it is very hard to enforce against piracy," he said.
Microsoft hopes that tech-lock is the answer. This works by generating a 'key' inside a software package when it is loaded on to a PC. This key is also generated at Microsoft. The consumer can use the software twice then they either have to contact Microsoft online or by phone for a password that is issued when both keys match.
Microsoft is testing out 'tech-lock' in Microsoft Office in the US. Gregory said the software giant is also looking at licensing online and smart cards, which are programmed to power up the software if it is legal.
Microsoft has also been piloting satellite licensing on notebooks with a company in Reading. Software can be purchased, licensed and downloaded at 10Mbyte a second via a small satellite dish attached to the notebook. "It is an ideal remote sales tool," said Gregory.
For more news and interviews from Computer Trade Show 1999, click here
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