Acresso who? Macrovision spinoff changes name, again

Flexera Software fourth name in five years for InstallShield customers

Under a legal threat from another software firm with a similar name, Acresso Software Inc. is changing its name to Flexera Software after just 19 months.

The company will officially announce the change next Tuesday, but had already notified partners and customers on Thursday.

Acresso sells software such as its installation utility, InstallShield, and software license manager, FLEXnet, to software vendors and enterprises.

It was spun out of Macrovision Corp. after the unit was acquired by venture capital firm Thoma Bravo LLC in April 2008.

Macrovision retained the digital rights management (DRM) apps for which it is best-known. It changed its company name in July to Rovi Corporation.

Acresso, which the company said was derived from the Latin word "Cresco" for "to grow, increase" faced a "challenge" on its name from ERP software maker Agresso Software, said Randy Littleson, senior vice-president of marketing for Acresso.

"Our executive team decided that there were better ways to invest our time and money, and that we didn't need this distraction," Littleson said. "The action we're taking will let us avoid a potential lawsuit."

Agresso did not immediately return an e-mailed request for comment.

Agresso was founded in 1980 and has annual revenue of about $475 million. It also has 3,500 employees at 16 offices globally.

That dwarfs Acresso, which has 375 employees and annual revenues of $115 million.

Flexera will be the fourth name in five years facing long-time users of InstallShield, which was bought by Macrovision in 2004.

Perhaps predictably, early public reaction to the new name tended towards the sarcastic.

"As if the makers of InstallShield hadn't already done enough damage to their brand, let's just go change names yet again!" wrote Christopher Painter, an InstallShield consultant, on his blog yesterday.

"Acresso Software is becoming Flexera Software for no apparent reason. Go ahead. #ScrambleMyBrands," another tweet said.

Littleson said the company considered changing its name to Installshield, being that it is its best-known product, but ultimately came to the conclusion that it didn't represent the breadth of its application stable.

He dismissed the notion, brought up by some bloggers, that the new name will cause legal trouble or just confusion with a solar and wind power company Flexera.

"We're quite aware of it. That's one of the reasons why it's Flexera Software," he said. "How similar are we to an energy company? We think this is very different, compared to when it was two software companies."

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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