Spiceworks, the ad-funded IT management software company, has released version 1.6 of its product, the sixth since its launch a year ago. The company also announced its 100,000th user, with 13,000 in the UK.

The company, which offers web-based agentless software provides users with a free tool to monitor their PCs and applications. Spiceworks is aimed primarily at the small and mid-sized business market.

The theme of the new release is remote control, said Jay Hallberg, Spiceworks VP of marketing. “We asked our users what they would like to see in the next version and remote control was a clear winner.”

The new version offers an array of new features including the remote control facility, allowing users to launch Microsoft Remote Desktop or VNC direct from Spiceworks software. Hallberg said that the company had signed an agreement with VNC, the first time that Spiceworks had entered such a partnership, although he indicated that there were other such ventures in the pipeline.

“There are network management companies that would be an obvious fit for us and, as an agent-less company, we’d also be interested in talking to companies that use software agents,” said Hallberg.

Among other new features are: expanded anti-virus support; Vista support and the creation of a My Spiceworks page that Hallberg said would make it easier to interact with other Spiceworks users.

Hallberg said that their customers had accepted the ads that fund the software. “We did consider a monthly-subscription model but decided that if we set a low monthly price, it wouldn’t to be too long before someone offered a lower price. The trend in the industry is for software costs to get lower and that wasn’t a viable way forward for us.”

The company’s next version will be out some time in the autumn, and will incorporate some Web 2.0 technologies, said Hallberg.