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Companies are streaming trial software to prevent piracy

Offering software on a trial basis is a common practice and necessary in the software industry, and typically involves prospects either downloading a stripped version for concept evaluation or receiving a 30-day full product trial CD in the mail. To reduce the risk of piracy originating from "Try before You Buy" trial CD-ROMs, software vendors either disable certain features (like Save) or lock the software in some fashion.

When mailing software trials on CD, sales representatives have a name and address, which may or may not be correct. Mailings take 2-4 weeks to arrive, and if they do reach the intended destination, the CD-ROM may be hidden underneath a pile of blueprints. Or worse, technical difficulties encountered during installation may have soured the potential customer's opinion of the software.

Software streaming takes the concept of streaming media and applies it to applications. Software streaming allows users to log onto a web site, quickly stream down 5% to 10% of an application's components onto the PC on an "as needed" basis and run a full-featured version of a software without ever having to download the full application. When a user invokes a feature of the application, the associated components are streamed and cached so that the more the application is used the faster it becomes.

The streaming trial client and trial application cache are downloaded to a virtual O: drive on your PC. Icons to access the trial application and the accompanying streaming tools are placed on your desktop. Most of the computational and graphical display processing is done on the client PC. You can then run the streaming trial software as if the full program were installed on your computer.

Microsoft and Autodesk are using Endeavors' AppExpress streaming on-demand software technology to stream popular software titles like Autocad, Revit, Encarta to the desktop of consumers without worrying about piracy or complex licensing issues. Endeavor's solution uses a proprietary identification method that queries machine IDs for log-in instead of user passwords after trial initiation.

Microsoft Encarta Reference Library Premium 2005 Streaming Trial
Microsoft Digital Image Suite 10 Streaming Trial
Autodesk AutoCAD 2006 Streaming Trial
Autodesk Revit 7 Streaming Trial