When is the last time that you used a new USB drive or external USB device, and the device asked you to download a driver to make it functional? If you’re like me, downloading device drivers is a distant memory. USB devices have gotten smarter and more user-friendly.
This raises the following question: why shouldn’t I enjoy the same seamless user experience in my software protection USB dongle?
SafeNet announced today that they are now securing the fast-growing Android mobile device market with its new product, Sentinel RMS Embedded. This announcement is best summarized by SafeNet’s VP of Marketing, Michelle Nerlinger:
SafeNet, working with SIIA, has released the results of a survey in which software producers openly admit that they are currently losing nearly 50% of their potential revenues. To what you ask? History may tempt you to say piracy – and the latest stories of organized attacks to steal IP of several US companies only further fuels that belief. But is that the real reason? Not according to the 620 software publishers who responded to the State of Software Monetization survey.
The international Embedded World conference, which took place at the end of February 2013 in Germany, provided a strong indication that the traditional embedded market is changing. One theme run like a red thread through the show activities of many exhibitors: software monetization.
What is the reason behind this new focus? Vendors no longer concentrate on hardware development only; instead, the application feature side comes to the fore. With devices becoming more intelligent and connected through the Internet, the software required to enable a single device as well as a combination of devices is becoming quite complex.. For example in the automation space “intelligence” is becoming even more important, as it is “connectivity”. Both requirements are currently driving the demand of embedded software. Considering the fact that there are many more devices out there than people, the market potential is huge.
In a recent study by the Business Software Alliance, the UK is the latest to throw a spotlight on the problem of software piracy. According to the study, 52% of small businesses in the UK have either bought or downloaded illegal software. In fact, the BSA now estimates that over half of all software in use by small and medium businesses in the UK is illegal.
That’s a shocking statistic – one driven according to the BSA by a combination of the current economic climate and a degree of ignorance towards how counterfeit goods propagate in the market. And we know from other studies, most notably the BSA’s 2011 Piracy report, that the situation in many other countries is significantly worse.
As pirates continue to attack, we are forced to spend cycle times of effort patching and plugging our code to defend against those that might steal it. With every cycle that passes, software pirates become more sophisticated, their vectors of attack harder to spot and defend against, with the skills required to do so ever more specialized and scarce. Are you prepared, or are you fixing your software piracy problems with duct tape?
The software protection business has matured at a slow pace over the past decade. The industry has gotten better at developing improved customer experiences through more sophisticated web portals and web services, but ultimately the model’s foundation relies on license file transfer between the vendor and the end customer.
The improvements in the area of cleaner customer experiences through web services has allowed some vendors to minimize a fair amount of the friction this style of license enforcement has introduced into the traditional delivery and deployment model.
Guest blog post by Amy Konary, Vice President, IDC
For decades, success in the software business required executing on the following:
1. Make a Killer Product
2. Drive down Marginal Costs
3. Sell as many Units as Possible
4. Repeat Steps 1-3
Traditional software monetization models have been built to support this approach. However, today’s software customers are focused on using what they have, rather than buying more.
LicensingLive, the software industry’s premier licensing and software monetization event, was held last week in Cupertino. Now in its 5th year, this two-day licensing event was bigger and better than ever before, featuring prominent speakers from various industries all coming together to share their experience and expertise about software monetization with LicensingLive’s nearly 100 attendees.
In the first part of this post, I discussed the history of software piracy, its accelerated growth and some of the legislative efforts against it, such as the DMCA and PRO-IP acts. These may be two of the most prominent initiatives in the battle against software piracy, but there are other efforts worth mentioning – both legislative and commercial, with household names such as Google and PayPal being very active examples of the latter.
As an engineering and product management team tasked with designing license enforcement into your products, you have many decisions around how your products will interact with the licensing code. Here’s a proven technique that will help you control how licensing gets implemented across your product lines while making the product teams’ lives easier at the same time: build an abstraction layer.