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Finding gold in dot-bombs' idle software

Website Recycling Company, or Webreco, an online spinoff of the nearly 100-year-old liquidation company Gordon Brothers, intends to resell or license software mostly from defunct technology companies. On Tuesday, the company is expected to announce its first major deal.

Boston-based Webreco, launched in May, is expected to announce that it has been chosen to sell software developed by former retail giant Montgomery Ward, Webreco President Gage Andrews said. Montgomery Ward closed its doors in December.

While other liquidation companies have specialized in selling the computers, servers and Aeron chairs of failed dot-coms, they have left behind software that the companies often spent millions of dollars creating, Andrews said.

For instance, Montgomery Ward, which was around for almost 130 years and certainly would not be classified as a technology company, spent nearly $100 million on creating software that did everything from helping track orders and inventory to sending e-mail to automotive customers reminding them to change their oil, Andrews said.

"We think there is a value to companies taking advantage of someone else's investment instead of paying to create it themselves," Andrews said. "We identify the right industry and the assets we want to sell and then contact potential buyers."

During the Internet boom, a good portion of the billions invested in tech companies that have since fallen from grace was spent on paying legions of software programmers. Often, they wrote the code that powered the companies' online efforts.
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