In July, Microsoft announced its intentions to deliver a number of licensing technologies to third-party vendors interesting in deploying Microsoft-like activation and licensing in their products
One of those components, the Software Licensing and Protection Server (SLP), is likely to be released to manufacturing (RTM) on August 31, according to a Microsoft blog entry by a member of the SLP team.
The SLP server will allow third-party software vendors to host their own servers and create software licenses — machine-based, time-based (for software subscriptions and trials), user-based and/or feature-based — for their products. The server will generate a key, which users will use to activate their software, via a digital license. ISVs will be able to turn on different features and different SKUs for different markets without having to go back and tweak the code for each version. Microsoft plans for the SLP Server will come in two versions: Standard and Enterprise.
Although SLP won't provide the kind of anti-piracy checks that Microsoft's own Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) system does, it does provide third parties with product-activation technology. (And yes, the irony of Microsoft RTMing an activation product a week after its own activation system went down is not lost on me.)
Microsoft has said to expect its SLP server and accompanying services to launch on October 1.