Intuit learns that copy protection doesn’t work

May 16, 2003 22:29 · 210 words · 1 minute read

A few months back, there was an uproar over Intuit’s copy protection (now called DRM or “product activation”) scheme for TurboTax. Intuit has just decided to drop the copy protection.

“Intuit has a long heritage of doing right by customers, and some of our customers didn’t have the great experience they expect from Intuit,” [Intuit CEO Steve] Bennett added. “In addition, we didn’t get the revenue and profit growth we expected. Therefore, we’ve decided to discontinue product activation next season.”

In the late ’80s, many software companies toyed with copy protection, and discovered exactly what Bennett says above: customers hate it and it doesn’t really do anything for your business. Just because it’s now got a new name doesn’t make it any better than what existed more than a decade ago.

DRM in music is probably even less likely to go over well with music customers. Why? Because people listen to music on all sorts of devices in all sorts of places… Almost by definition, DRM is trying to tie you to one device. If they can’t make this work with something like Turbo Tax, which you’ll only likely use on one computer for a short period of time, then trying to get this to work for music seems hopeless.