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Macrovision Corp. on Monday announced the shipping version of FlexNet Publisher, the cornerstone of its next-generation digital-rights management system the company first disclosed last October.

Although Macrovision, Santa Clara, Calif., designed FlexNet Publisher to manage software companies, Macrovision executives said the technology is also beginning to be added as a “secret sauce” to scale hardware functionality, as well. In both cases, the FlexNet software is designed to allow software and hardware companies to charge different fees for different levels of service, including licensing by user, site, company and on an as-needed “utility” basis.

The FlexNet technology, first rolled out last year by Macrovision, is designed to allow software publishers to maximize their revenue by tailoring custom licensing packages as well as preventing piracy. A McKinsey & Co. study in October found that a 1 percent increase in product pricing can produce a 7 percent boost in a company’s average earnings, assuming all other costs are fixed.

“In many ways the software industry is catering to a market of one,” said Daniel Greenberg, vice president of marketing for Macrovision. “We pay this one lump fee for dedicated software applications on our PC. Many companies leave significant dollars behind.”

FlexNet Publisher consists of five core modules: a licensing module, a pay-as-you-go utility pricing module, a promotional licensing module for promotional and trial versions of software, an enhanced security module, and an operations module for automating the entire process. Like other enterprise companies, Macrovision has set up a consulting operation to assist customers in making the right choice.

Not surprisingly, FlexNet Publisher’s pricing varies significantly.

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