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 PostPost subject: Microsoft halts sales of third-party activation offering        Posted: Wed Oct 08, 2008 3:46 am 
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Fri Jun 13, 2008 10:22 am


Microsoft has halted — temporarily, according to company officials — sales of its Software Licensing and Protection (SLP) Services product.

SLP Services is set of technologies designed to allow third-party developers to add code protection and activation mechanisms, akin to those Microsoft embeds in Windows as part of its Genuine Advantage technologies, to their own software.

An astute reader sent me a note today, advising me to try clicking on the “How to Buy” link on the SLP Services Web page. When I did, I got the following message:

“We appreciate your interest in SLP Services, however we are currently not taking any new orders at this time. Current customers will continue to have access to the service and support for the SLP Services product through our email alias and our MSDN site.”

I contacted Microsoft to see what gives. I received the following statement from Thomas Lindeman, Director of Marketing for SLP Services:

“SLP Services as a business does not structurally fit within its business unit where it currently resides. We are actively looking for a home for SLP Services and will post that information once it becomes available. In any scenario, we will continue to support SLP Services for the duration of customer contracts. We will not be taking on any new customers at this time.”

(I asked for further clarification, in terms of which business unit the SLP Services group has been part, as well as whether Microsoft might opt to kill SLP Services completely if it doesn’t find a new home. No word back yet. Update: A company spokesperson said the SLP Services team was part of the Windows business unit. “It’s hard to say specifics about the future of the program, though the company is looking to see where it might make sense to live from a broader company perspective now,” the spokesperson said.)

Microsoft rolled out SLP Services in October 2007. The underlying technology was based on assets Microsoft bought when it acquired Secured Dimensions in January 2007.

When Microsoft first unveiled its “Genuine Software” initiative four years ago, company officials said they planned to license to third parties some of the same anti-piracy technologies that Microsoft was baking into Windows and Office. Instead, Microsoft decided to provide external developers with a separate, parallel offering, namely, SLP Services.

Does the suspension of SLP Services indicate Microsoft is moving away from activation and digital-rights management? I’m doubtful. But it is interesting that with Windows Vista Service Pack 1, Microsoft killed the Genuine Advantage “kill switch”….

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