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September 14th, 2009

Moving Day

Friday was moving day for us. For most of our company’s history, we have been in this building. We had the 2nd and 3rd floors (for Americans, that is the 3rd and 4th floors) in the building you see below. As you can tell, the building is not in the best of shape. Its windows were leaky, there was no air conditioning, and the elevator was quaint. But, it was a short walk to the metro and right on the tram lines. The basic problem though is that we did not have enough space—only about 800 square metres (9,000 square feet). We have been growing very rapidly and the building just did not have the space or connectivity that we needed. But it was home for many, many years and I am sure our staff will remember it fondly. Read more…

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September 14th, 2009

Avast by the numbers

It has been a while since I have posted—we have been very busy moving into a new building, getting the new products out in beta form, and handling our first ever reseller meeting. But, thought it might be interesting to share some numbers:

  • Number of free users—between 80 and 93 million. We have 93 million registered users and about 80 million of them have updated their virus definitions recently. Both numbers are of course huge. We think this is the 1st or 2nd largest security user base in the world. Read more…
August 18th, 2009

130 Million Credit/Debit Cards Stolen

I read an interesting article today: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090818/ap_on_bi_ge/us_hacker_charges

It is about the leader of a hacking ring being indicted for stealing the details of 130 million credit and debit cards in the US. This is not necessarily a new development as he was actually already in jail on similar previous charges dating back to 2006. But the sheer size is astounding. Some of the highlights and lessons for us: Read more…

August 6th, 2009

Can you Trust Free Anti-Virus? (Part 2)

It seems that the article I quoted in my previous blog entry (http://tech.blorge.com/Structure:%20/2009/07/04/symantec-its-dangerous-to-rely-on-free-antivirus/) generated a fair amount of interest and disagreement. And the general opinion seems to be the same as what I posted in my blog entry—that the major free antivirus solutions are in fact very good. Read more…

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August 4th, 2009

Who is a typical avast! user?

There seems to be a common belief that the users of avast! and other free anti-virus products are real technical or somehow different from the “normal” population. Of course we know this is not really true….it is true that they are different in that they understand it is not necessary to use a product from the big paid vendors to get the protection they need. But, other than that our users are representative of the world as a whole—they are you, me, our parents, and our friends. We are all pretty normal. Read more…

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August 4th, 2009

Can you Trust Free Anti-Virus?

I ran across an interesting article the other day that questions whether a user can rely upon free anti-virus: http://tech.blorge.com/Structure:%20/2009/07/04/symantec-its-dangerous-to-rely-on-free-antivirus/. The source of the quotes in the article is of course one of the big paid anti-virus companies.  And it erroneously concludes that free products cannot be trusted, are not sufficient, etc. But then again why should a firm that makes a billion dollars a year off of paid anti-virus conclude that a free anti-virus product is good…..

The article does make very good points about what is needed in a security product. Its only error is in concluding that a free product does not provide these capabilities. So, here are the points the article makes and why they are wrong (at least for avast): Read more…

July 20th, 2009

Why is avast! not pre-installed on my new computer?

Some people have asked me why when they buy a new computer our avast! product is not already installed.  They complain that they have to remove the anti-virus product that is on the computer, download avast!, and then install it.  And of course, they ask why we don’t get the computer manufacturers (HP, Dell, Acer, Sony, etc.) to just install avast!.

This article from the New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/06/technology/business-computing/06virus.html?_r=1) talks a bit about the business but in much smaller terms than it actually is.  As the article states, getting security software on new computers can be very valuable.  It is a business I knew quite well from my time at Symantec. We would love to do this as the time when most people need a security product is when they buy a new computer.  The reason we don’t do it is that it is that putting software on new computers is a very big and very expensive business.  Manufacturers (OEMs) make a lot of money from the software that is provided on the computer. The OEM security business is what I call one of the “dirty little secrets of the PC security business.” Read more…

Categories: CEO's corner Tags: , ,
July 20th, 2009

Is it the Seven Dwarfs or the 3 Kings?

A friend of mine in the US sent me this article from the New York Times the other day http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/06/technology/business-computing/06virus.html?_r=1

It is basically an article about the “big guys” in the PC security business boasting about how good and how big the antivirus and consumer security business is.  A lot of the article talks about the business aspects of working with computer manufacturers (OEMs) in pre-installing consumer security products on new PCs.  There is some good stuff (and some stuff that is wrong) in this article about the OEM business and I will talk about that in another entry.

But, there is a great quote in the article.  The Symantec CEO, Enrique Salem, describes the consumer security/antivirus business as “Symantec and the seven dwarfs”.  And the McAfee CFO describes the consumer security business “as like an arms race”.  Now I know Enrique and he is a great guy and knows security and the security business inside and out.  And if I was still at Symantec, maybe I would have said the same thing.  It is a great quote.  But is it true? Read more…

July 20th, 2009

Why do you distribute avast! for free?

Here is a question my brother (Brian) recently posted to my Face Book: “One should ask the CEO why he is giving their software for free?”  Now Brian is a great brother but he likes to give me a hard time (and of course I do the same to him).  This question was prompted when he told me that his previous security product (you can imagine what product he was using given where I used to work and the fact Brian always got his security products from me) was expiring and he was wondering whether he should renew it or replace it.  Now, I don’t know if he was testing me to see if I would recommend the Avast product or if he was unaware that I had changed jobs.  But, of course, I told him to replace his old product with our free avast!. Read more…

Categories: CEO's corner Tags: ,
July 20th, 2009

Welcome and Why I Joined Avast

Welcome to the start of my “CEO’s Corner” Blog.  I am Vince Steckler and have just joined as the CEO (http://www.avast.com/eng/vince-steckler-to-lead-global-expansion-of-alwil-software.html). I wanted to first chat a little bit about what we do here, why we are different, and why I joined.  We also have a few other blogs going now so check them out also. Read more…