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June 12, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 1:06pm

MCAFEE TURNS SOFTWARE PIRATES INTO ITS CUSTOMERS

By CBR Staff Writer

Network security and anti-virus company McAfee Associates Inc treated delegates at the Robertson Stevens conference to a glimpse of the company’s business model in the early days of the company. Apparently, customers would give J.McAfee a call and ask him if they needed to pay for the anti-virus software they’d just down loaded from the web. McAfee would say: How many users you got there? About a hundred they’d reply. Ummm…how does $50,000 sound? That was in 1989. In the quarter to March 31 this year, McAfee turned over $73.4m. Despite the slightly more sophisticated marketing machine, the fundamental premise is still, If you’re going to steal somebody’s software, why don’t you steal mine? Many of the pirates eventually become customers and McAfee is claiming around one million free downloads of its software per month. The biggest danger for companies, as McAfee sees it, is not staying current. It estimates that viruses have increased in number from 1,000 to 11,000 in the last three years. McAfee is building in protection against 200 new strains every month. Its solution is SecureCast, which utilizes push technology to broadcast product updates to a Network Administrator’s desktop. Geographically, the next challenge is to take on its arch-rivals Dr Solomon Group Plc, which has a strong grip on the UK and German markets. The message from McAfee is: we’re coming and we’re going to bring an army with us.

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