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Acquisition impacts software distribution market

One expert predicts that the purchase of Installshield will make Macrovision a "one-stop-shop" for software packaging, distribution and licensing.

More than a few customers of Installshield Software Corp. were surprised last month when this maker of a popular packaging and application manager software was snapped up by Macrovision Corp. to the tune of $76 million .

The surprise wasn't so much that Installshield was purchased. (The deal closed on July 1.) Rather, many of them had never heard of Santa Clara, Calif.-based Macrovision, which is better known in the entertainment industry for its toe-hold in digital rights management technology, and also for its licensing management software.

A combination of Macrovision

I can see Macrovision becoming a one-stop-shop for software packaging, distribution and licensing.

Jonathan Eunice,

president of Illuminata

and Installshield could create a powerhouse in terms of software distribution and licensing, said one expert. Near term, independent software vendors stand to gain the most from the merger, said Jonathan Eunice, president and principal analyst at Illuminata Inc., a Nashua, N.H., consulting firm.

"The real thrust of Macrovision/Installshield is how do we get to the distribution and licensing of software intellectual property," Eunice said. Macrovision's Flexnet software is used by many large software companies, including Adobe Systems Inc. and IBM, where there is concurrent licensing.

"I can see Macrovision becoming a one-stop-shop for software packaging, distribution and licensing -- that complex of issues of getting software into people's hands," Eunice said.

Knowing what you own

But ISVs are not the only ones that should be affected. The acquisition could also mean some changes for IT administrators and corporate software developers in terms of how they distribute and manage software and keep track of their licenses, which is already a big concern, Eunice said.

Many IT shops have programs with pieces of the puzzle already in place. "You've got to make sure what you use is actually what you own," said David Driggers, desktop system team

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leader at Alabama Gas Corp., Birmingham, Ala. The utility already uses a license compliance system made by Tally Systems, of Lebanon, N.H.

For the many IT administrators today who use InstallShield's AdminStudio, Patch Impact Manager or Application Manager for the Enterprise, nothing will change, said Alain Breillatt , director of business development at Macrovision, who was formerly with Schaumburg, Ill.-based Installshield.

"We will continue to evolve, and we have a new release of AdminStudio coming out later this year," Breillatt said.

The other products will continue to be extended and expanded, he said.

What IT administrators can expect in the future are synergies developed between AdminStudio and Macrovision's Flexnet Manager toolset. Flexnet is an asset management software package that helps IT managers see how they are using their software licenses.

Both products are able to work together but there will be some integration of the two, Breillatt said. "Administrators don't want to put too many licenses out there because they are wasting money, but on the other hand, they don't want to under provide so their users can't get their work done," he said.

The products from both companies are entirely complementary so nothing will have to be phased out, said Daniel Greenberg, vice president of marketing at Macrovision.

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