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Pretty good news from PGP

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, experts said.

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.

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached at john@watersworks.com.

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