Microsoft Quietly Closes Software Licensing and Protection Service

It seems that Microsoft’s SLPS, a programming suite for adding licensing and demo functionality to your .NET based software, is closed, adding a whiff of mystery to the down-turn. Could they have taken it out back and shot it?

The service is currently not accepting new orders – at least as of last night – so either there is an upgrade afoot or Microsoft is paring back some of their less popular business units. Companies like Nalperion and CryptKey are obviously ready to step into the vacuum left by Redmond.

I have an email in with Microsoft so we’ll see what they have to say about the shut-down. The official statement:

We appreciate your interest in SLP Services, however we are currently not taking any new orders at this time. Current customers will continue to have access to the service and support for the SLP Services product through our email alias and our MSDN site.

and from the SLPS forum a gnomic non-answer:

It is true that SLPS is temporarily not taking on any new customers but not sure about anything beyond that. I’ll pass along any news I hear when available.

Hugo D. Malavet

SLPS Support Program Manager

Excell Data for Microsoft Corporation

UPDATE – Final word from MS:

As of September 23, Microsoft has stopped selling SLP Services. Many ISVs still use home grown software protection solutions, and the return on investment in this area is less than we hoped for. We will continue to create and improve our own internal licensing and protection technologies, but we will no longer be selling any such solutions externally.

Over the last several months the team has done a lot of work to understand the long-term opportunity for the SLPS business and establish its viability as a Microsoft investment. It has become very clear that the opportunity is much smaller than we originally calculated. While the SLPS team did great work on the latest release, the sales haven’t increased to the point where we believe it needs to be.