Microsoft is trialling Tech-Lock in the US which could be included in all its software in a desperate bid to quash software piracy.
At the Computer Trade Show at the NEC last week, David Gregory, channel piracy manager at Microsoft, outlined the vendor's future plans to combat piracy and urged resellers to give their support.
'Conservative estimates are that the channel is losing about #4 million a year due to software piracy. In reality, it is more like #6 million to #8 million,' he said.
Gregory added that about 50 per cent of illegal software was found in small businesses, but the most difficult market to police was the consumer sector.
'With about 24 million PCs in homes, it is very hard to enforce against piracy,' he added.
Microsoft is pinning its hopes on Tech-Lock being the answer. The product works by generating a 'key' inside a software package when it is loaded onto a PC. This key is generated at Microsoft. The consumers can use the software twice, then they have to contact Microsoft online or by phone for a password that is issued when both keys match.
The software giant is testing out Tech-Lock in Microsoft Office in the US.
Gregory said the software vendor was also looking at licensing online and smart cards, which are programmed to power up the software if it is legal.
In addition, Microsoft has been piloting satellite licensing on notebooks with a company in Reading. Software can be purchased, licensed and downloaded at 10Mb per second via a small satellite dish attached to the notebook.
'It is an ideal remote sales tool,' claimed Gregory.
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