Intuit Inc. (NASDAQ: INTU) today announced it has taken an important step toward reducing unlicensed use of its leading TurboTax® tax preparation software products. Beginning this year, all federal versions of TurboTax desktop products for Windows will include product activation to better ensure customers use the product in accordance with the License Agreement. Product activation does not prevent TurboTax customers from preparing tax returns for themselves and their family members or from giving the CD to someone else who can then purchase their own product license. TurboTax customers can prepare their return from more than one computer but will only be able to activate, print or e-file their tax return from a single PC.
"Improved technology has now given us a way to implement product activation that is quick and simple and that protects our customers' privacy. Product activation in TurboTax is built on the successful approach that Intuit's QuickTax products used in Canada that was widely accepted by consumers," said Tom Allanson, senior vice president of Intuit's Consumer Tax Division. "The growing popularity of TurboTax products over the past few years has prompted us to take steps now to reduce unlicensed use of the software."
Intuit's privacy-protected approach to product activation is totally anonymous and guarantees customer privacy. Activation is completed either directly via the Internet, which takes less than a minute, or by dialing into an automated activation system using a touchtone phone. Both options will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and immediately after activation, customers can begin preparing their tax returns. Customers can use TurboTax to prepare multiple returns for themselves and family members. Customers can also use the TurboTax Interview to prepare returns on other computers, for example, on both their home and office PC but when it comes time to print, e-file or access the tax return, the customer will need to use the PC on which TurboTax was activated.
How Product Activation Works
Product activation in TurboTax software is part of the product's simple installation and is based on the exchange of numeric codes between the customer's computer and Intuit. None of these numbers contain personally identifiable information nor can they be used to identify any personal information about the customer or any characteristics of the customer's PC configuration. To ensure a high level of reliability and the optimum customer experience, Intuit has implemented proven technology from Macrovision Corporation (NASDAQ: MVSN), the leading developer and supplier of digital rights management (DRM) and copy protection products.
During product activation, two sets of numbers, one assigned to every TurboTax CD and one randomly generated by the product at activation, are sent via secure Internet connection to Intuit. A final number is immediately sent back to the customer via the Internet, automatically activating the software so they can begin preparing their tax returns immediately.
Sharing Made Simple
Intuit makes it easy to give TurboTax software to a friend. Anyone can install a TurboTax CD into their own PC and follow the simple instructions to pay by credit card to purchase a product license. Once the product license has been purchased, the software will automatically be activated, and the customer can prepare and file their tax return. "We believe our customers buy TurboTax software because they love it, and they give it to others for the same reason," said Allanson. "Product activation doesn't limit that, it simply enables them to do so in accordance with the terms of the software license."
Intuit's Privacy Protected Approach
Product activation in TurboTax software supports Intuit's ongoing commitment to protect customers' privacy. Product activation is completely anonymous; no personally identifiable information is collected or transmitted to Intuit. Intuit does not gather any data from the customer's hard drive or determine the make, model or manufacturer of the PC or its components.
In its 18th tax season, TurboTax was the No.1-selling tax preparation software program in 2001, with 71 percent share of units sold at retail according to NPD Intelect. Its Web-based counterpart, TurboTax for the Web, is the most popular site for online tax preparation and filing services. With more than 18 years of personal finance expertise, the TurboTax family of products saves time and money for more than 14 million Americans each year.