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Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Are software time bombs ethical?

marlobello writes: I opened up Intuit Quicken 2007 the other day to do my weekly finances and received a notice that an update was available for the program. As I usually do, I agreed to install the update trusting that Intuit was looking out for me and my purchased software. I was also given a notice that as of 30 April, 2010 Quicken 2007 would no longer be able to download transactions from any financial institutions, because Intuit only supports the current version and two previous version (which is now 2010, 2009, and 2008). It advised me to update to Quicken 2010.

I know for a fact that not EVERY financial institution in the world is making a change on 30 April, and it soon dawned on my that the latest Quicken update installed a malicious time bomb which will hobble the software on that date. Downloading transactions is arguably THE primary function of the Quicken software (it certainly is for me). I equate it with if Microsoft were to update Office 2000 so that it could read, but not write office documents.

Now then, I know that technology moves forward and things change (such as Inuit abandoning the QIF file format for the newer and better QFX format — which prompted my move from Quicken 2005 to Quicken 2007). But it seems wrong to me that seemingly without warning a software company can maliciously disable the primary function a piece of working, legally purchased software for the SOLE purpose of boosting the sales of a newer version.

So the questions are: Is it ethical (I think already know the answer to that)? Is it legal? If it isn't legal, what can be done to correct this injustice (for me and all Quicken 2007 users) and set a precedent in the software industry?

The saddest part of it all is that I have been toying with the idea of moving to for sometime, but since Intuit has purchased Mint, I'd still be conforming to Intuits will, because they will begin receiving ad revenue from my move off from Quicken 2007.
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Ask Slashdot: Are software time bombs ethical?

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