Iomega plans to set up a separate business unit to market and sell its back-up and data management software, independently of its sales of storage products.

Some of these applications will be developed to work not only with its own storage products, but those from other vendors as well. Iomega's software products have been typically bundled with its storage products like the Zip, Jaz, and Clik drives.

"Historically within Iomega the software development team in the US has been primarily focused on being a support arm to the hardware team. So its role was to provide the drivers, and the core software that interfaces to the drive," said Germaine Ward, vice president of software solutions at Iomega. "Over the past two years there has been a whole lot more focus on developing standalone applications that help drive solutions."

Past experience Last year Iomega launched a back-up application called Quik Sync that enables the back-up of active files without user intervention. Going forward, Iomega aims to create a separate revenue stream in software, by selling its software applications independently of the drives.

"We are going to start selling these as common accessories to our drives, as some of this software works only with our drives, but very quickly after that, we actually want to sell software that may or may not require the use of our drives," added Ward. That said, Iomega will not make available for other vendors' storage products any software that it thinks differentiates its hardware.

According to Russell Polson, director for software applications research and development at Iomega, initially the company will offer applications on Windows and Mac, though it also plans to offer software for Linux and other operating systems as well. Besides adding new products to its current data management and back-up solutions, Iomega will expand into new products that address the Internet market.