Time for a little national pride

Time for a little national pride
21. července 2016 • 09:36
The merger of technology firms AVG and Avast is worthy of major attention. It is a significant event not just within the hi-tech sector, but for the entire Czech economy.

Cars, beer and anti-virus software – such could be the revised list of the Czech Republic’s best exports. It’s not a bad list, and includes both tradition as well as a nod to the future and principles such as innovation and advanced skills. Add to that, all three of these sectors are unmistakably useful and indemand – future sales are guaranteed.

The acquisition of AVG by Avast represents a business event of the first order. Not only for the hi-tech sector, but for the national economy as a whole. The merger of these two domestic giants will lead to the creation of a true behemoth, unassailably number one in its field as far as user numbers are concerned. Incidentally, the tally of users is fast approaching half a billion. However, in the financial sense, even after the merger, Avast will still not be top dog.

That’s because the majority of its “customers” make use of its free anti-virus package – only a tiny percentage of users then decide to upgrade to a paid version. Such a business model is known as “freemium” and is common in the world of software. It has certainly helped both Avast and AVG to attain their current market positions. In the case of security software, “freemium” has one additional advantage – when the free antivirus programme detects something suspicious, then not only does it defend a user’s computer, but the program also “phones home”. This means that company headquarters have, in effect, an army of control scouts out in the field reporting on the spread of dangerous software.

There could hardly be a better system to help in the battle against malware. The merger of both companies will no doubt create an even more effective system, with an even larger monitoring scope. No other company on earth even approaches his potential. The merger of the two firms’ developer teams also represents a major consolidation. There is no shortage of software programmers in the world; but the difference between an average one and an excellent one is the difference between night and day. The new Avast will be able to set out in multiple directions simultaneously – focusing on the traditional field of PC safety; on mobile devices; and also on the newest, largest and most problematic field, the “internet of things”.

The new Avast will focus on the newest, largest and most problematic internet field, the “internet of things

The result could also see an interesting fusion taking place among the Czech Republic’s top export goods. For example, what if Škoda cars could gain a new reputation for being the most resistant in the world to software attacks? All while users of rival brands could not be quite as certain that their vehicles will not fall prey to hackers… And what if the future biotechnologies of our Czech breweries were protected in a similar way? Because software is playing an ever greater role in our world, and software in itself is increasingly becoming a key pillar of infrastructure, eaning its protection extends far beyond the needs of tech experts and into the daily lives of us all.

Simply put: software security is a component of our general security. And the Czech Republic is now home to the most significant player in this field. Setting politics aside, it’s worth taking a moment to reflect on that fact – for we Czechs are well entitled to savour a little national pride…

 
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