On Tuesday, Microsoft plans to officially launch Plus Digital Media Edition (DME), a $19.95 add-on pack for the Windows XP operating system. Microsoft has offered various versions of Plus since the release of Windows 95. But unlike earlier versions, Plus DME is protected by product activation, meaning that consumers will have to enter a 25-key code to install the software and then "activate" Plus DME over the Internet.Activation is, of course, required by all but corporate versions of Windows XP Professional. That Microsoft is pursuing product activation for this new version of Plus and also other software seems to indicate that Redmond is pleased with the results of XP's product activation scheme, at least thus far. Of course, just what those results are depends on whether you're wearing a tinfoil hat.
Some have charged that Windows XP's product activation scheme is a horrific invasion of privacy, but I'm far more inclined to believe that Microsoft is motivated more by the prospect of stamping out casual piracy and reaping additional revenues than anything else. Either way, it looks like activation is here to stay.