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Software licensing in mobile industry

Project motivation and summary

Tremendous growth of development industry for mobile devices causes great challenges in software licensing area. The specificity of mobile devices (e.g. network software distribution) makes usage of most existing desktop-oriented licensing solutions impossible. Nowadays mobile devices software licensing systems are expensive for small developers, hard in implementation or don't provide sufficient protection level. There is no standard mechanism of developing software for mobile devices with license control. As a consequence, often developer needs to implement own licensing mechanism or buy an expensive solution with level of trust, which sometimes cannot be easily evaluated. We consider OS and hardware levels to be appropriate security levels for licensing systems. However it can be pretty hard and insufficiently expensive to implement solution on these levels for small developer because it needs great amount of resources which don't correspond with product financial model.

The main idea of this project proposal is to identify a reason why the mobile device software industry doesn’t have a generic licensing system and to set recommendations for developing such a system. The project will be done in 2 parts addressing short-term and long-term targets. The first phase is expected to last about 6-16 months and focus primary on the corresponding theoretical investigation. The second long-term part is technical part that uses theoretical findings of the first part for developing and implementing prototype solution for the identified problems.

Project goals

Short-term goals:

  1. Make an overview of existing licensing solutions for mobile devices (primary focusing on: Windows Mobile, Symbian OS and MAEMO).
  2. Investigate non-technical (e.g. management and business) problems in the area of mobile software licensing.
  3. Determine and analyze weak points of existing solutions and possible attacks on licensing systems.
  4. Make an overview of existing licensing mechanisms for desktop systems and to estimate possibility of their usage on mobile devices.
  5. Based on investigation done at step 2 provide requirements for new licensing mechanism that addresses identified problems.

Long-term goals:

  1. Propose new mechanism (or modifications of existing mechanisms) for licensing system including several variations for different areas (enterprise level, freeware etc.).
  2. Implement the proposed mechanism.'


Timeline and deliverables

The short-term (6 – 12 month) deliverables are following:

  1. An article describing current software licensing market conditions and determining existing problems.
  2. An article describing basic features of the system needed for solving of the current problems.

The long-term deliverable is a proposal and development of the full technical solution for licensing.


Contact person: Alexey Koren


On hold
Final deadline: 
пятница, апреля 30, 2010 (Весь день)