Microsoft expects user adoption of its Next-Generation Secure Computing Base (NGSCB) to be slow in the first year, even though major hardware makers will support it from the start.
"I am not sure if it will ever be in 100% of the systems," said Peter Biddle, product unit manager at Microsoft's security business unit.
Corporate users are likely to be the first to buy the technology. Early applications will include secure messaging and other applications especially interesting for corporate PC users.
NGSCB, which was previously known as Palladium, is a combination of new hardware and software which, Microsoft claimed, would boost PC security but critics fear it could be a scourge for user freedom.
Microsoft demonstrated NGSCB for the first time at WinHEC earlier this week. It will incorporate the technology in Longhorn, the successor to Windows XP planned for launch in 2005.
Computer processor maker Advanced Micro Devices and graphics chip company Nvidia, said they would have hardware that supports NGSCB ready when Longhorn is introduced. Intel is also expected to have processors ready by that time.
AMD platform security architect Geoffrey Strongin thought NGSCB might be in most PCs by 2008, and Microsoft's Biddle expected PC makers to offer systems with and without support for NGSCB, giving PC buyers the choice whether they want it or not.
"It will be a value-added feature that people will be willing to pay more for," Biddle said. Microsoft has said it wanted to keep the cost of NGSCB for the PC buyer at less than $50.