Turbotax 2002's activation cost Intuit $100 million


Two different lines of thought will emerge from this:

  1. Activation sucks. Using it causes people to not buy products.
  2. Activation is ok, its just that intuit did such a piss poor job of it.

I think #2. No question that future software will increasingly require server-side activation to function.

Not a surprise, as the only viable way to put a dent in PC game piracy is to require a server-side key for multiplayer.

I vote #2. Product activation will continue to be pursued. Companies just won’t make a big botch out out of it like Intuit did.

They picked C-Dilla as their mechanism. Perhaps choosing a product that didn’t have a past history of being spyware might have been a good idea.

Telling customers that the inability to easily get rid of the C-Dilla infestation was a benevolent feature for customers benefit was a bad bit of spin.

Forgetting to inform their phone support staff about possible problems with activation resulted in a lot of customers basically being told they would have to purchase another copy of the software after a hard drive replacement or other fault that screwed up the registration information.

Squirrelling the registration in a secret part of the hard drive inaccessible to ordinary programs certainly made people feel confident that the product activation was benign.

I switched to TaxCut this year (a painless switch, I might add) entirely due to the activation scheme, although I normally would prefer to purchase an Intuit product over a Microsoft one.

There is every chance that I won’t go back to Intuit next year, even if their product activation is less onerous. I’m sure my response isn’t that unusual, so Intuit is going to take a revenue hit from this for years to come.

I did exactly the same thing. It was completely painless, and it also removed any second thoughts I would have about using TaxCut in the future. MS needs to send Intuit some flowers or something.

Did MS buy TaxCut? I’ve used it for years but didn’t notice that this year.

I saw MS came out with their own tax package one year (just a year or two ago), but it didn’t look like they followed with a second version. It was on the shelves far too late for me to consider it the year I saw it - I figured that was a big part of the reason it tanked. I buy mine in January at the latest.

MS has a deal with H&R Block. Click for details. MS dumped their TaxSaver software after entering the agreement with Block.

Roger that. I feel exactly the same. There is no huge reason to go back. I just want my tax software to calculate the numbers and have all the forms.

I vote 1.

Even people who don’t have a choice with their upgrades - like with Windows XP - resisted the switch. I believe if XP wasn’t so solid and fully fleshed out, it would have been a disappointment on the scale of Windows Me.

Same here.