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Altiris Gets Wise to Software Installation Market

Altiris broadened its line of management tools with a $43 million cash and stock buyout of Wise Solutions, a player in the software packaging, installation and conflict testing space.

Wise’s number one rival is InstallShield, winner of MCP Magazine’s recent readers’ choice awards for both the “Rolling out Legacy Applications” and “Conflict Testing and Resolution” categories.

Altiris believes the addition of Wise will bolster its IT lifecycle management line by getting in on the ground floor – the actual installation of critical pieces of software.

Wise is no stranger to Altiris. This past March, the two announced a joint development deal that led to the integration of Wise Package Studio and the Altiris management console, as well as Altiris’ Software Delivery Solution. That combination helped Altiris land several deals, company officials said.

Rockwell International, for instance, is using Wise and Altiris products, sold as the Altiris Packaging Solution, to help configure desktop and laptop computers.

Altiris could bolster the Wise line by using its strong distribution channels and sales force, and by making it part of a larger line of management tools. Dell and HP, which already sell Altiris software, can now hawk the Wise wares.

The closest product fit is between Wise Package Studio and Altiris Deployment Solution, a tool that deploys software, and handles “personality” migrations. With Wise’s conflict testing and resolution, Altiris can insure newly deployed applications will run alongside what’s already there.

According to Greg Butterfield, CEO of Altiris, more product integration is on the way. Altiris sells software as a set of components, so-called software blades that can snap together. “We can go back to thousands of customers (the company has 11,000 distinct customers) and snap in a Wise blade for packaging,” elaborated Jan Newman, vice president of corporate development for Altiris.

But the integration of the two companies is another story. Wise will remain in Plymouth, Michigan as a wholly owned subsidiary, and the brand will remain. Only two of Wise’s 113 employees, a co-founder and the former CFO, will not work for the new subsidiary.

Altiris’ Butterfield argued that Wise is focused on the enterprise market, while InstallShield pitches its wares to ISVs. However, even a cursory perusal of the InstallShield web site shows an array of software deployment tools aimed squarely at IT, including the popular AdminStudio.

For the first nine months of this year, Wise had $14.7 million in revenue. Analysts expect Altiris to report roughly $100 million in revenue this year.

Altiris and Wise product teams have just begun meeting, and the company expects to release a product roadmap early next year. One thing already on the agenda is patching. “Patches are just software. Now think about having the ability to wrap packaging around patch updating,” Newman said.

About the Author

Doug Barney is editorial director of Redmond Channel Partner.

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