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Macrovision Buy Completes Install Suite

Macrovision acquired privately held Zero G Software, giving the maker of installation software a multi-platform suite to complement its InstallShield product for putting Windows onto corporate computers.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Macrovision, of Santa Clara, Calif., will add Zero G's InstallAnywhere multi-platform installation product, along with SolutionArchitect, a software-packaging solution for distributed or grid enterprise applications.

While InstallShield has long been Macrovision's bread-and-butter package for putting Windows onto PCs, InstallAnywhere helps IT administrators install Windows and .NET, Linux, Mac, Solaris, HP-UX, AIX, z/OS and NetWare systems.

The deal should solidify Macrovision's position as the top provider of installation software for software publishers and their customers: Zero G's client roster of 2,000 includes IBM, HP, Intel and Sun Microsystems.

San Francisco's Zero G Software and its employees are now part of Macrovision's Software Technologies Group. Zero G Founder and CEO Eric Shapiro is now a vice president at Macrovision.

Macrovision's technology is the keystone of an emerging niche called software value management geared to boost the value of software between enterprise publishers and software consumers. In this space, publishers use software value management tools to jazz up their revenue potential.

Utilities include installers and licensing tools that help the publisher package, price and protect products. The tools allow IT staffs to repackage applications, resolve conflicts and manage updates, said Bob Corrigan, product manager for installation solutions at Macrovision.

"Software value management involves everything from when you're done with the software development process to creating the installation, licensing it, distributing it, updating it... that whole go-to-market activity for software that every other manufacturing industry seems to have excellently mastered," Corrigan said.

Publishers that make their own proprietary installation products are Macrovision's main competition, Corrigan said.

Installation software is not as sexy or complex as other types of software, such as virtualization. But applications that make it easier for companies to put programs on their corporate machines are imperative to save the time and costs associated with getting systems up to speed.

Such programs also help cut down on application failures that occur due to human error and give developers more time to tend to operating systems, servers, applications and databases.

Audrey Rasmussen, an analyst with Enterprise Management Associates, said the space has growth potential, noting that some anti-virus vendors and anti-spam vendors are doing automatic updates.

"The potential for the combination of their two announcements is for software in the enterprise space," Rasmussen said. "Many dollars are spent in service engagements, in-house developed software for software vendors, or plain old manual methods for installing and maintaining enterprise software like SAP. Macrovision's solutions can relieve the burden and cost of installing and maintaining complex enterprise software."

Rasmussen said the market could be large if ISVs, particularly the enterprise application software companies, start to automate the installations and updates of their software.

Macrovision took a major step in the space a year ago by agreeing to acquire InstallShield for $96 million.

Macrovision is already making use of Zero G's products. SolutionArchitect complements Macrovision's FLEXnet Publisher Installation Module, which provides software makers and corporate developers with authoring tools for challenging installations.

Corrigan said the module is based on IBM's self-managing autonomic installation technology and is the result of more than two years of development and collaboration with Big Blue. The software is available royalty free.



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