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TurboTax Customers Strike a Blow Against Intuit

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TurboTax Customers Strike a Blow Against Intuit

Postby UALOneKPlus on Sat Jan 11, 2003 7:52 am

:evil:

http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,3 ... 479,00.asp

Intuit is following in the footsteps of giants. Wrongheaded, mistrustful, overcontrolling giants.

When Microsoft released Office XP and Windows XP with product activation embedded in both products, consumers and pundits alike responded with a gigantic hue and cry. Many Windows users were angry and felt betrayed by Microsoft. Others were uneasy and wondered whether product activation in Microsoft's products was a grim harbinger of things to come in the software industry.

Well wonder no more – product activation has now made its way into one of the most popular software programs ever created, TurboTax. And, as an extra bonus, the latest release of TurboTax comes with Macrovisions's obnoxious C-Dilla malware. C-Dilla prevents you from copying the CD by disabling your CD-RW drive. That means it's monitoring your CD writing activities all the time. As if you needed more processes running on your machine. Early reports from some users indicate that C-Dilla has caused interference with other software and that it is inordinately difficult to get rid of, perhaps requiring a low-level hard disk format. And to make things even dicier, Intuit apparently did not overtly inform purchasers of the new TurboTax that C-Dilla was included and would be installed on their systems.

We published a heads-up about this recently (TurboTax Customers Upset By DRM ) and the response from TurboTax customers was overwhelmingly angry and negative in the discussion in the ET forum. Intuit has sown the seeds of a mass migration from its tax software to competitors such as TaxCut (see PC Magazine's review of TaxCut). If you read the posts in the discussion, you'll see that many come from longtime TurboTax users who have vowed not to purchase Intuit products again until the spyware and activation are removed.

Anger at Intuit wasn't just apparent in the ET and PCMag forums. The Member Reviews area on PCMag also had very negative comments (see the TurboTax review link above and scroll down to read member comments). And former Intuit customers aren't just posting in our forums, they are taking their case directly to Intuit.

In my own case, I was on the verge of buying TurboTax until I caught the review we published on PCMag and noticed the blurb about activation. Unfortunately, we missed the C-Dilla thing, but as always, sharp-eyed readers caught the omission and gave us a heads-up about it. When it came time for me to buy my tax software, guess which product I picked? You got it – TaxCut. I didn't give TurboTax a second thought. Nor will I until product activation and spyware are completely removed from the product.

There's a lesson here for all companies: don't put activation and spyware into your products. Microsoft got away with it to a certain extent because it pretty much has a monopoly (at least for the time being). It can do certain things with impunity that other companies simply can't get away with. Intuit is not Microsoft and it, along with every other software company out there, had better realize that and act accordingly. Otherwise, they had better get ready to lose customers to their non-spyware, non-activation competition.

We all need to make our voices heard. This is no time to hang back or be passive. We need to take a stand and boycott all products that have activation and spyware in them. We need to contact the companies producing these products and let them know that we won't be buying anything from them until the spyware and activation are removed. We also need to contact companies that aren't including activation and spyware and let them know that we value their products and that we'll keep supporting them by purchasing their products.

H&R Block, are you out there? Remember where your new flood of TaxCut customers is coming from. Keep the spyware and activation out of your products and you will keep your customers. Unlike Intuit.
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Postby Rudy on Sat Jan 11, 2003 3:37 pm

Definetely good information. Thank you.

We will NOT use TurboTax this year.
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Postby glock20rocks on Sat Jan 11, 2003 4:00 pm

I'd say what I think of Intuit and TurboTax...but this is a family site.
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Postby aviationwiz on Sun Jan 12, 2003 2:36 pm

I just told my dad about it and we will NOT be using TurboTax on this computer. Instead it will be used on my mom's computer who does not have a cd burner.
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Postby lightningbaron on Sun Jan 12, 2003 2:40 pm

Thanks for the heads up on TurboTax!
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Postby new2cdrw on Mon Jan 13, 2003 11:14 pm

I really don't see where the problem is with activation. It seems to be pretty painless way to prevent software piracy. It is much better than going through a software audit. However, I do have a very serious issue wi the CDR spyware program. It is a program that is not only not necessary, but also intrusive. Since they are using activation, I would only assume that you cannot activate the same product twice. THerefore, why the spyware???
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Postby UALOneKPlus on Tue Jan 14, 2003 1:00 am

new2cdrw wrote:I really don't see where the problem is with activation. It seems to be pretty painless way to prevent software piracy. It is much better than going through a software audit. However, I do have a very serious issue wi the CDR spyware program. It is a program that is not only not necessary, but also intrusive. Since they are using activation, I would only assume that you cannot activate the same product twice. THerefore, why the spyware???


The problem with TT activation is that it so strict. I read somewhere that a customer who activated TT with a DVD drive on his laptop, and later removed the DVD drive for a second spare battery, and had to RE-activate again.

What happens when the day comes that EVERY piece of software on your PC needs activation? If you increase your RAM, or upgrade your CD-RW, or whatever, are you gonna be happy doing 50+ re-activations for those pieces of software???

I'm paying money for software. I'm not going to ask for permission every darn time that I choose to upgrade my HARDWARE!!!!
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Postby UALOneKPlus on Tue Jan 14, 2003 1:14 am

I also would like to add:

the TT activation scheme certainly restricts any notion of fair use. I have 5 PC's (3 desktops, 2 laptops), and I alone have access to. What if I wanted to install the TT on my desktop to use initially, and then later port it to my laptop so I can use it when I'm travelling? The notion of fair use is toally killed with the TT activation scheme. Tax Software should not be treated like Windows OS - it should be allowed to be put on more than one machine, provided the user does follow the TOS and not share it with other people.

I have also read where someone installed TT, activated, then had a problem with their PC, and had to buy or acquire a new PC. TT would not allow them to re-activate the same piece of software on the new machine. The poor customer had to buy a second copy of the software just so he could finish his return on the new machine. That is DRM gone to the extreme.
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Postby new2cdrw on Tue Jan 14, 2003 1:21 am

I have also read and heard of issues with XP that has been registered to a particular PC configuration and that re-registration has to occur after hardware upgrades. I believe that the technology has not quite matured and is in fact in it's infancy. But if others, I am quite sure we are not speaking of most of us, did not in fact pirate software, we all would not be in this situation.

However, I do still have very strong reservations concerning the C-Dilla software. I was just reading on Intuit's site and they sort of avoid the real question and answer.


Q4. What is C-Dilla?

C-Dilla is a company that was acquired by Macrovision in 1999. Some of the Macrovision SAFECAST technology used in TurboTax is derived from earlier C-Dilla products.
Q5. What is "spyware"?

"Spyware" is jargon for hidden programs that transmit user information to others (usually advertisers) without the user's knowledge.
Q6. Did C-Dilla produce "spyware"?

No. All of the above statements concerning Macrovision technology apply equally to C-Dilla and its products

from [url]http://www.turbotaxsupport.com/servicesupport/default.asp?platform=1&formName=&pd=&fs=&ver=&sku=&DocID=[/url]
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Postby UALOneKPlus on Tue Jan 14, 2003 1:37 am

new2cdrw wrote:I have also read and heard of issues with XP that has been registered to a particular PC configuration and that re-registration has to occur after hardware upgrades. I believe that the technology has not quite matured and is in fact in it's infancy. But if others, I am quite sure we are not speaking of most of us, did not in fact pirate software, we all would not be in this situation.

...


Windows XP activation scheme is a bit smarter and more relaxed than the dumb TurboTax activation scheme. Windows XP uses a number of different parameters to calculate how much your PC has changed. For example, if you just upgrade your RAM and your CDRW, windows XP won't trigger a new activation. However, if you change your Hard Drive, the CPU, and the RAM, then windows XP might prompt for reactivation. I don't believe TT has this flexibility built in.

I'm against software piracy as well, but I don't like the current solution put on the market by TurboTax. There should be better ways to fight software piracy than to make our consumer lives a living hell with this crap spyware and rigid activation scheme.
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