Licenses Tied to IMEI...

january 24, 2006

A while back, I had an N-Gage QD. It was a Series 60 device like my current Nokia 6682. At that time, Nokia was offering the NetFront browser for free from their website. I, of course, got the web browser and they sent me a registration code -- the code was tied to the IMEI (think serial number) of my QD. I figure that if I get a piece of software (whether I purchased or got free as a promotion) it should be portable between devices. Well, with NetFront, it does not seem so. I wanted to install NetFront on my 6682 and sent NetFront customer support email to see about getting a registration code for my new IMEI. Here's the response that I received this morning:

Transferring a NetFront license from one device to another is not possible. And, the NetFront v3.1 that you purchased these days is a little outdated right now. As we are offering NetFront v3.3 at a special promotional price, this would be a good time for upgrading to the new version.
I can understand why they would be hesitant to transfer my license from one device to another -- piracy or what not -- but, I have to pay to use the old software license that I thought I owned? Sure, the upgrade price of $9.90 is a great deal, but this really irks me bad. I will not buy the upgrade license just because I know that if I move to another Series 60 phone, I can flush that $9.90 down the toilet. I'll stick with my Opera (they give out the mobile version for the Nokai 668x series free) which works just fine. NetFront maybe a good piece of software, but I am not going to sink money into their software knowing that I if I get a new phone the license will no longer work. If I buy a license to use a piece of software, I damn well better be able to use the software on different devices. Otherwise, no buy. I am not the only one who has trouble with software being tied to IMEI numbers, check out Russ' post also.