TurboTax DRM Timeline

By Jim Louderback  |  Posted 2003-02-12 Print this article Print

January 7, 2003: PC Magazine publishes its annual round-up of tax software, giving both TurboTax Premier and H&R Blocks Taxcut an Editors Choice award. The TurboTax review mentions the addition of DRM in passing, but doesnt make a big deal of it. January 7, 2003: The first of many angry notes are posted in PC Magazines on-line discussion area. Many postings accuse TurboTax of hijacking CD burners, crashing systems and other nefarious behavior. Many users focus on the fact that the DRM software cannot be uninstalled, even after TurboTax has been removed.
January 9, 2003 : ExtremeTech posts a news story that covers user discontent with the DRM implementation inside TurboTax. ExtremeTechs discussion boards overflow with rancorous comments from disgruntled users.
January 10, 2003: PC Magazine adds a news story about the user flap, expanding on its review and detailing both sides of the issue. January 10, 2003: Community manager Jim Lynch fans the flames with his opinion piece about the TurboTax situation. January 13, 2003: Intuit responds by adding a SafeCast uninstaller routine on its website, to help address some of the problems. Many users remain unconvinced. January 15, 2003: Macrovision provides ExtremeTech with more details on how the SafeCast DRM used by TurboTax, and its SafeDisk technology work. January 17, 2003: Nick Stam, head tech honcho at both ExtremeTech and PC Magazine writes an open letter to Intuit, imploring them to listen to customers and to explain more about how the copy protection scheme purchased from Macrovision really works. At the same time, PC Magazine Labs and ExtremeTech begin what would turn into three weeks of testing to find out whats really going on with TurboTax and SafeCast. Mid-January, 2003: Intuit updates its software to add enhanced form entry and viewing capability to un-activated versions of TurboTax. Intuit also announces that it will release a completely un-protected version of TurboTax in October 2003, to safeguard customers who may want to view and print returns in the future. February 4, 2003: ExtremeTech posts Part One of its test results, detailing some of the issues involved in installing the software, and setting up Part Two of its test results to be posted a few days later. February 7, 2003: Based in part on the user backlash in the ExtremeTech forums, Arcsoft begins to evaluate other DRM offerings to replace SafeCast in its trialware. February 10, 2003: ExtremeTech posts the final results of all the testing, which details some of the problems other users have found, including system crashes, disabled software, and sneaky disk writing to the undocumented Sector 33 of the boot track.

With more than 20 years experience in consulting, technology, computers and media, Jim Louderback has pioneered many significant new innovations.

While building computer systems for Fortune 100 companies in the '80s, Jim developed innovative client-server computing models, implementing some of the first successful LAN-based client-server systems. He also created a highly successful iterative development methodology uniquely suited to this new systems architecture.

As Lab Director at PC Week, Jim developed and refined the product review as an essential news story. He expanded the lab to California, and created significant competitive advantage for the leading IT weekly.

When he became editor-in-chief of Windows Sources in 1995, he inherited a magazine teetering on the brink of failure. In six short months, he turned the publication into a money-maker, by refocusing it entirely on the new Windows 95. Newsstand sales tripled, and his magazine won industry awards for excellence of design and content.

In 1997, Jim launched TechTV's content, creating and nurturing a highly successful mix of help, product information, news and entertainment. He appeared in numerous segments on the network, and hosted the enormously popular Fresh Gear show for three years.

In 1999, he developed the 'Best of CES' awards program in partnership with CEA, the parent company of the CES trade show. This innovative program, where new products were judged directly on the trade show floor, was a resounding success, and continues today.

In 2000, Jim began developing, a daily, live, 8 hour TechTV news program called TechLive. Called 'the CNBC of Technology,' TechLive delivered a daily day-long dose of market news, product information, technology reporting and CEO interviews. After its highly successful launch in April of 2001, Jim managed the entire organization, along with setting editorial direction for the balance of TechTV.

In the summer or 2002, Jim joined Ziff Davis Media to be Editor-In-Chief and Vice President of Media Properties, including ExtremeTech.com, Microsoft Watch, and the websites for PC Magazine, eWeek and ZDM's gaming publications.


Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel