Officials at Intuit said Monday that theyre working with Macrovision to develop a new, less invasive version of its SafeCast software for the next revision of TurboTax.
ExtremeTech tests have shown that the Macrovision SafeCast software writes to protected sectors of the hard drive used when a PC boots, and can also remain on a users hard drive unless sophisticated uninstallation procedures are used.
On Monday, Intuit officials said that Intuit is sitting down with Macrovision to ask them to remove both of those features. Specifically, the company said it would ask Macrovision to rewrite SafeCast so it would not write in the so-called "sector 0" or boot sector of the disk. Intuit officials said they had made the change in response to the ExtremeTech tests and the resulting protests from consumers.
Intuit also plans to release results from an independent testing agency this week that will show that the SafeCast software does not affect the everyday performance of a users PC, and will work to ensure that future TurboTax versions will not hinder PC performance, either.
"Were not changing our technology partner; Macrovision is still our technology partner," said Scott Gulbransen, director of corporate communications with Intuit. "But we will work with them to modify the product information and not write to sector 0. Thats what were doing. Were kind of sitting down with them to see what can be done, and to get it done."
Gulbransen said the company remains as committed as ever to product activation, however. During a Feb. 13 conference call discussing the companys earnings, Intuit chief executive Steve Bennett said the company was only paid for roughly 5 million of the companys 15 million TurboTax filings. Bennett also said DRM consumers were being pushed not necessarily by Intuit customers, but by "other agendas".
"Its a change in the implementation" of activation, Gulbransen said.
"Were working with Macrovison and challenging them and challenging ourselves to do that," Gulbransen said of the changes to the SafeCast software.