Trawling the RPG.net forums I found a thread questioning about whether or not people upset at Wizards of the Coast logically protecting their intellectual property from piracy--while at the same time making it easier to implement updates--by adopting an online-only model, would cause fans of 4th Edition to cancel their DDI subscriptions and/or say fuck-all and go play Pathfinder (and not one of many other fantasy-based role-playing games). Frankly, I don't want to know anyone who would follow that bizarre logical train wreck.
I don't play 4th Edition because it's new, or it has all of its crunch-content condenses into one software application. On a similar note, I don't dislike
3rd Edition Pathfinder because it doesn't have its own variant of Character Builder, and I certainly wouldn't go back there if the entirety of 4th Edition imploded out of existence. No, I would have to be the kind of irrational person that boycotts a company because they slightly altered the accessibility of an entirely unnecessary--yet agreeably convenient--facet of their entire product line.
Using internet access to determine legitimacy as well as usability is not new, and in fact has proven successful for more than a few companies like Blizzard Entertainment or Valve. Some people like that Character Builder can be used offline, which has some merit in terms of flexibility in case you like to cart a laptop out into the wilderness and build characters by firelight. In all seriousness, I too have used Character Builder offline in order to browse magic items, but only because I didn't want to bug Randy for a few minutes about his router's information. I guess on the 16th I'll have to set aside a blip of time to get it all sorted.
My laptop, as well as most laptops, have WiFi capabilities. So do most routers. This means that at home I can flip it open, get online, and do...whatever, wherever. Theoretically, were I for some reason to go elsewhere and desire to tinker with it, then my options would be limited to coffee shops, most major grocery chains (Fred Meyers, Safeway, etc), any community college campus, any of my friend's houses, and book stores. In other words, far more places than I would care to go and create characters, monsters, or do adventure writing. Were I to find myself stranded out in the middle of nowhere and find myself arrested by the urge to write, I can always fall back to the archaic process of putting pencil to paper and writing.
This is why I wouldn't care even if I lacked all the modern commodities of today; I can still jot down notes, go home, and then write it up to look all official-like. While your mileage (or availability) might vary, I think the real reason people are up in arms is the whole piracy angle. Some people only wanted Character Builder and/or Adventure Tools, but couldn't stand for the seven or so bucks a month that Wizards charged you for essentially all the crunch content of all the books they've ever made, and waited for updates to show up on torrent sites. Since Wizards really couldn't track this offline, it was easy to get away with it. Now, it's going to be harder, and people might actually have to pay for something.