Pretty good news from PGP
- By John K. Waters
MIT distributed it as freeware in the early 1990s. The U.S. government tried
for five years to keep it from being exported. Network Associates bought it back
in March, and then shelved it. And now, Pretty Good Privacy, the public-key
encryption software better known as PGP, is in the hands of its creators in new
a Silicon Valley startup.
Formed in June for the express purpose of marketing this software, PGP
Corp. completed its acquisition of the PGP Desktop and Wireless encryption
product lines from Network Associates in July. The new PGP organization promptly
disclosed plans to license and support current versions of PGP products for
current, lapsed and new PGP customers.
Last week the new company brought out major upgrades to the PGP encryption
product lines. The new PGP 8.0 version for Windows and PGP 8.0 version for
Macintosh, will ship in November, officials told eADT. The company describes PGP
8.0 as a new product and major upgrade to current PGP offerings.
The new company's management team includes technology industry veterans from
Vantive, PeopleSoft, Symantec and Counterpane Internet Security Inc., as well as
executives from the original PGP enterprise. Jon Callas, chief scientist at the
original PGP, is on board as CTO. Will Price, former director of engineering at
Network Associates, will serve as VP of engineering. And the program's author,
Phil Zimmermann, serves as special advisor and consultant to the company.
The new PGP recently raised $14 million from Doll Capital Management and
Venrock Associates, according to its CEO Phillip Dunkelberger. ''We raised $14
million in this challenging economic climate from two top venture capital firms
because they believe in the marketplace and in our ability to provide innovative
solutions for our present and future customers,'' Dunkelberger said. ''We are
dedicated to making PGP products so simple they will be used everywhere.''
PGP, probably the most widely used e-mail encryption software, has thousands
of corporate and government users, and millions of individual users worldwide,
According to the company, PGP 8.0 for Windows, which includes PGP Mail and
PGP Disk, adds full Windows XP support; a server-side Lotus Notes plug-in;
support for Novell GroupWise 5.5 and 6.0 clients; support for all current
operating systems and messaging clients; enhanced Unicode internationalization
support; and PGP Admin 8.0 automatic configuration of PGP Disk.
The version for Macintosh OS X, which also includes PGP Mail and PGP Disk,
brings full Mac OS X support to the PGP product line, the company said. It
includes a new version of PGP Disk that allows compatibility with PGP disks
created on Windows, AES algorithm support and compatibility with older Mac OS 9
PGP disks. PGP Mail for Mac OS X directly integrates with Apple's mail
application, as well as providing support for Microsoft's Entourage.
John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached