Microsoft is set to release its first mainstream consumer software application protected by product activation, in what could be a first step toward expanding use of the antipiracy technology.
On Tuesday, Microsoft plans to officially launch Plus Digital Media Edition (DME), a $19.95 add-on pack for Windows XP. Microsoft has offered various versions of Plus since the release of Windows 95. But unlike earlier versions, Plus DME is protected by product activation, meaning that consumers will have to enter a 25-key code to install the software and then "activate" Plus DME over the Internet.
The change comes as the Redmond, Wash.-based software titan also has been experimenting with new methods for distributing software.
"Plus Digital Media Edition is the first Microsoft product to be sold digitally online," said a Microsoft representative in an e-mail response to questions about product activation. "In order to enable digital commerce, we needed to use a technology that allows consumers to easily purchase and use the product as well as protect against casual piracy."
The new Plus version offers features aimed at enhancing Windows XP's digital media capabilities, such as creating stories using digital photos or enabling a special party mode for Windows Media Player 9 Series.
Microsoft will be launching Plus DME as part of its participation in the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The software titan also plans to release on Tuesday the final version of Windows Movie Maker 2 and Windows Media Player 9 Series. Beta versions of both products have been available for several months.
News source: C|Net