Preview Software has released the latest version of its Time Lock software that enables software vendors to offer limited-time trials of their products on CD or the Internet. To achieve this, vendors effectively wrap their applications within TimeLock, and specify how long they want it to be usable for before the trial expires.
With TimeLock, Version 3.0, vendors can use a GUI wizard to set up the process. The company also has added support for RSA's BSafe encryption technology and the capability to purchase trial versions permanently through TimeLock.
"The original product was just a development kit," said Karl Hirsch, president and founder of Preview. "Now we've added the ability to buy the software."
Lotus standardised its Electronic Software Distribution (ESD) system using TimeLock, and Preview has also been certified by Microsoft as an authorised ESD vendor for distributing Microsoft products.
One analyst said Microsoft certification is becoming a prerequisite for ESD companies.
"Pretty much anybody in [the ESD] space is going to play up to Microsoft," said Chris Stevens, an electronic-commerce analyst at the Aberdeen Group, in Boston. "It's a free-for-all in that market, and Microsoft hasn't taken sides."