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Tech Industry

Software distributors to merge

Two software providers in the electronic software distribution niche, Portland Software and Preview Software, announce merger plans.

    Two software providers in the electronic software distribution (ESD) niche, Portland Software and Preview Software, today announced plans to merge in a stock-for-stock deal. Other details of the transaction were not released.

    The combined companies have more than $20 million in venture funding. Preview's office in Cupertino, California, will serve as headquarters for the new company, which also will retain headquarters in Portland, Oregon, the base of Portland Software. The merger is the first sign of consolidation among ESD technology firms, which aim to help software companies use the Internet as a sales channel.

    "Not surprisingly, software publishers don't want to deal with a half-dozen different ESD technology vendors whose products may not even work together," Jeffrey Tarter, publisher of Softletter and a leading ESD analyst, said in statement.

    The merger of Preview and Portland Software creates a comprehensive set of ESD development tools, Tarter added.

    Preview creates software and tools for encrypted "wrappers" that encase applications securely as they are sent over the Internet. The company's vBox line offers both general-purpose wrappers as well as wrappers for "try-before-you-buy" uses, which give potential buyers a limited-time free trial to test the software before buying it.

    Portland Software, which also started with wrapper technology, since has migrated to the server side, selling software that manages transactions. Together, the two companies will offer an end-to-end solution for selling software online.