On Friday, Microsoft revealed that it had given up trying to trademark "Palladium," the term it had given to its secure computing initiative. The company says that the technologies once called Palladium will now go by the name Next Generation Secure Computing Base, which it feels is more accurate and mature. Also, another unnamed company had apparently applied for a trademark on the term Palladium, and Microsoft didn't want to be seen as strong-arming that company.
"We did not want to be in a position of rolling over them," said Mario Juarez, Group Product Manager of Windows Trusted Platform Technologies at Microsoft.
Palladium is one of Microsoft's most misunderstood technologies and, as a result, the name had become somewhat tarnished. Critics decried Palladium as a tool by which Microsoft would add Digital Rights Management (DRM) features to Windows or limit the ways in which people could interact with their PCs, though neither allegation is true. Instead, Palladium is designed to protect users' privacy and the integrity of data stored on their PCs. Microsoft hopes that customer education over the next few years will help people understand why the Next Generation Secure Computing Base is necessary. "It used to be radical to give computing power to small businesses and regular people," Juarez told me last fall. "Then, \[anyone\] could get a computer. Wouldn't it be nice if security and certainty was like that. It would help people sleep better at night."