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Utility companies meter your gas and water usage. Nielsen meters what TV programs their families watch. Some employers even meter their employees' phone conversations. It was probably inevitable that someone would come up with a metered PC to keep track of what software you use.
A chip set to be introduced this fall from Wave Systems Corp., a 4-year-old start-up, can do just that. The WaveMeter records exactly what software you use, when you use it, and for how long. Analysts say the technology could solve the persistent problem of how to charge fairly for software and prevent piracy.
For some IS managers the chip could be a dream come true -- providing flexible and accurate licensing arrangements, not to mention a wealth of usage and inventory management information. For others the scheme could be a Big Brother nightmare with your vendors essentially monitoring every move your users make.
Terrific Technology. Wave Systems, which was founded by Peter Sprague, chairman of National Semiconductor Corp., has been beta testing the technology, now in board form, for several months. …