Mountain View, Calif. (May 16, 2003) -- Following a firestorm of criticism, Intuit announced that it will remove anti-piracy technology from future versions of its best-selling consumer tax software, TurboTax.

The company announced the initiative while reporting its third-quarter earnings, which showed a 29 percent revenue increase across all of its product lines.

"All in all, this was a solid tax season for us," said chief executive Steve Bennett in a statement. "We grew faster than the industry and were successful in driving customers to new, higher-end offerings, though product activation didn't perform as we'd expected. 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. In addition, we didn't get the revenue and profit growth we expected. Therefore, we've decided to discontinue product activation next season." Bennett noted that next year, the company would include in-product technology to unlock marketing and trial versions of TurboTax products.

The company introduced the feature, which locks a piece of software to a particular PC, for the 2002 tax year. It's intended to prevent customers from printing or filing returns from any PC except the original one used to activate the software.

But customers said such a feature could make it difficult to continue using the tax package if they had to buy a new PC or hard drive, and complained that the product activation mechanism always ran in the background, even when TurboTax wasn't being used.

-- WebCPA staff

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