Adobe Systems Inc. has completed tests on product activation, and plans to roll out the technology soon. Microsoft quietly introduced product activation — a method of registering software so that it cannot be installed on more than one machine — in 2001, with the second service pack for Microsoft Office 2000. It has since been included in Office XP as well as Windows XP. The technique is used to prevent revenue loss due to piracy. The Business Software Alliance, of which Adobe is a member, has estimated that annually, billions of dollars have been lost as a result of people passing copies of program disks around to friends.
Adobe's software has in the past been protected by a serial number, which the user had to type into the installation program. But licence keys have been posted in many Usenet news groups, and "key generators" — software that can generate a working serial number for a given program — are also becoming popular. Embedded activation elements been recently been added to software that requires consumers to register their programs upon installation.
News source: Global Technology