Microsoft has made available for download the first of several components of its forthcoming stable of rights-management software.
The Redmond software maker posted to its download center on Tuesday its rights-management client. The client runs atop Windows and is designed to allow rights-management-aware applications—like Office 2003—to work with the forthcoming Windows Rights Management Services that will be layered on top of Windows Server 2003.
Check Out "Microsoft Reveals More Rights-Management Specifics"
Microsoft unveiled its plans to build an end-to-end rights-management (RM) solution in February. Microsoft described its RM products as key to its security strategy. At that time, the company fielded a beta of its RM client.
The client software runs on top of Windows 98 Second Edition, Windows Millennium Edition, Windows 2000 Professional and Windows XP, and is designed to allow these desktop versions of Windows to access the forthcoming Rights Management Services server. The RM server component is the product code-named "Tungsten."
Microsoft has said it plans to require an RM client for each end user who will be creating or viewing rights-management-protected content.
Microsoft also is working on software called Rights Management Add-On for Internet Explorer that is designed to allow users to access RMS-protected documents without a full RM client present. That code went to beta in May.
Microsoft is expected to deliver both the final RM server code and the RM add-on for Internet Explorer later this calendar year.
Microsoft has posted to its Web site its plan for pricing and licensing for some of its RM wares.
So far, Redmond has yet to say how it plans to price its Rights Management Services server piece. But it is pricing its client-access licenses (CAL) – which can be either per-device or per-user – at $37 each or $185 for a five-pack. (Users also need to purchase Windows Server 2003 Client Access Licenses, in addition to the RMS CALs.) Customers also have an option of purchasing something called the Windows RMS External Connector License for $18,066. This license allows an unlimited number of users to access a single copy of the Rights Management Services server software.
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