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/>Christian Mairoll: To date, Emsisoft counts more than 5 million registered users - most of them using the freeware products. Online Armor adds a significant portion of that.
Earlier today, we reported that Emsi Software had sealed the deal to take over renowned firewall solution Online Armor from Tall Emu. At that point in time, no details about the move were known, save what the company had made public through their newsletter service.
We contacted Tall Emu CEO Mike Nash and Emsi Software CEO Christian Mairoll in order to set up an interview on this deal, and further development of the firewall and the antivirus product. The two CEOs were extremely helpful and answered our questions in a matter of minutes.
Christian Mairoll – Emsi Software CEOSoftpedia:
We know you cannot discuss takeover details with us, but could you tell us if this offer came from your part, or was it a logical, natural step since Emsisoft dual engine protection was already present in Tall Emu's top product?Christian Mairoll:
As the trend goes to combine security suite products (Antivirus + Firewall), we were looking for a great firewall product and found the best - Online Armor. During the last 2 years, Emsisoft has established a very strong partnership with Tall Emu. Integration of the Emsisoft dual-antivirus scan engine in Online Armor ++
was the first step. Later, Emsisoft got the German distribution of Online Armor. We didn't want to reinvent the (firewall-) wheel, so it was a logical step for Emsisoft to acquire a great product. But the offer actually came from Tall Emu who wants to focus on their main business part, making CRM software.Softpedia:
When was the decision of taking over Online Armor made?Christian Mairoll:
Two weeks ago in a Skype chat.Softpedia:
We noticed that the free edition of Online Armor is not among the product listed on Emsi Software website and has not been taken out of the company's portfolio. Is this permanent, or will it be added at a later time?Christian Mairoll:
The Free edition
is now also listed on the product index page of Emsisoft. Earlier we had only the Premium product listed, as the ideal complementation to our Emsisoft Anti-Malware product. Now we can offer a wider range of options to our customers.Softpedia:
Both Emsisoft Anti-Malware
and Online Armor come with an important user base. What would be the number of active users for each of the products separately (or combined)?
Softpedia: At the moment, Online Armor Plus is the most complete security solution from Emsi Software because it encompasses both firewall protection and the dual-engine anti-malware protection available in Emsisoft Anti-Malware. Will it become the flagship product of the company?
Christian Mairoll: The Online Armor product range will stay untouched for the upcoming time. Each product meets different user needs. While Anti-Malware comes with a flexible on-demand scanner and a sophisticated behavior blocker module, Online Armor ++ focuses on HIPS (Host Intrusion Protection System) features that give advanced users much more insight into system internal actions.
Softpedia: Do you plan to create new security-related tools (such as password managers, data encryption solutions, etc.) to extend the product range of the company in the near future?
Christian Mairoll: Not especially password managers or data encryption solutions, but maybe other security related tool. We are always dedicated to the security community and try to provide them with specialized tools like our famous HiJackFree or the brand new BlitzBlank, a tool that deletes files on reboot that can't be deleted during active Windows session.
Softpedia: When should we expect a new major release of Emsisoft Anti-Malware? Will it integrate Online Armor-specific features?
Christian Mairoll: We have just released Emsisoft Anti-Malware 5.0 a month ago, featuring one of the first full x64 compatible behavior blockers and a completely rewritten file guard module. It will take some time to integrate the Online Armor development team in Emsisoft to get benefits of faster development. In a group of now 10 highly skilled developers, everyone can benefit from the team's knowledge. On the long run, we have plans for a suite-like product, based on the best components of both product lines.
Mike Nash - Tall Emu CEO
Softpedia: What would be the reason that led to the takeover?
Mike Nash: Overcommitment. Aside from the Online Armor product range, Tall Emu develops CRM solutions and offers consulting services to Australian businesses to help with business process improvement and custom development. There are only a limited number of hours in the day, and I was working for most of them. So it meant that OA as a product was being neglected. Something needed to be done.
So, our best option was to call my good friend Christian, who I know will treat OA, the users, the developers with the respect that they deserve. We'd spoken many times online, and finally met when he came to Australia for a holiday this year.
His wife took some excellent photos of Sydney, we spent the right amount of time in restaurants and sightseeing, so it helped cement the relationship. We place a good deal of respect in our users, and they trust us. For example, we'd never sell to a different company, even if they paid 10x as much. For us, it’s a personal promise, and trust - and Emsi fits this bill. The sale is not about the money, but about allowing us to focus on our objectives.
Softpedia: Online Armor being the only product of Tall Emu, does this mean that the company has reached the end of its existence, or will the focus be shifted towards the development of new products?
Mike Nash: OA is not the only product of Tall Emu. In fact, most of our revenues are derived from consulting services and CRM systems. A small part of our business was Online Armor. The reason to sell OA was to focus on core business, but we'd made a commitment to our users that OA would never go quietly into the night.
Too many companies, when things go bad, they either silently close, or ignore their users, or disappear. We'd been around on OA since 2005, and because it wasn’t now part of our strategy we had to do the right thing. We kept our promise.
Softpedia: Emsi Software announced that Online Armor developers have also been acquired. What would be your involvement in further development of the product? Will you lead Online Armor division at Emsi Software or is your interest focused on other projects?
Mike Nash: A handover is a handover, and it is for Christian to decide the new directions of Online Armor and Antimalware. But I maintain a good personal relationship with Christian, and we have similar ideas - for the last two years we talked regularly about our ideas of the perfect product for security. For me, I focus on CRM technologies and business process improvement, back to my more "corporate" roots.
Softpedia: Is there any reason to believe that Online Armor will at one point be encompassed by Emsisoft Anti-Malware and cease to exist as a standalone product?
Mike Nash: Really, it's a crazy question :) For a long time, I have suggested myself that the future of security is not a suite of specialist application, but one integrated solution. Emsisoft has great AV/AS/BB technologies and some great techs. But for me, there is always different perspectives and different users.
I know there are no immediate plans to change the product lineups, but I'm sure over time there must be a rationalization. Exactly how it will look, I am unsure, but I know that it will meet user needs. It's really hard to make a forward-looking statement when I have not the responsibility any more.
Softpedia: Would there be any ground at this moment to build software solutions by combining Emsisoft products' unique features with those of Online Armor's? Would it be feasible to create both a freeware and a shareware suite?
Mike Nash: I think this is the whole idea. Our strategy has always been freeware and paid. Emsisoft is similar. I cannot see that this would change.
Softpedia: What do you hope OA will gain from this "alliance"?
Mike Nash: It's not an alliance, but an acquisition. OA becomes part of Emsisoft. What does it mean? They have our OA team internally now, plus their own team. It can mean things that are impossible for partners/OEM can be done.
It can mean closer sharing of resources and knowledge, and it can mean the best product in the world. I know from my side one thing we always wanted was to do our own AS/AV engine, to complete OA. Emsisoft already has it. Really, it will be a very interesting year from Emsisoft and for OA. I will be watching closely.
Softpedia: How would you describe OA's future development? Will it receive the same attention as it did until now or will it start living in the shadow of "Big Brother" Emsi?
Mike Nash: Well, OA will be product of Emsisoft, and I'm sure - it's a top profile product in its space, so I don't think for a moment Emsi will place it "in the shadows," though it may take some time before the teams integrate to get full value from the acquisition.
Softpedia: Could you please elaborate on how this merger has affected OA's plans in particular and Tall Emu's in general?
Mike Nash: Tall Emu now focuses on TotalEnterpriseCRM.com; Emsisoft takes OA and the plans for OA now depend on Emsisoft.
Note: Some of the answers have been modified after the interview was initially published, as per the request of the two CEOs.
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|Comment #1.1 by: fanclub on 04 Jul 2011, 07:30 GMT|
After a year this decision doesn't look great anymore, does it?
Good-by old good OA, we will keep you in our hearts.
|Comment #2 by: Drug on 04 Jul 2010, 16:41 UTC|| reply to this comment|
I do not know anything about Mr. Nash and Online Armor and their business policy, but I know that Emsisoft chairman has been "borrowing" new ideas and strategies from naive guys outside, then tell them that those ideas and innovation are worth nothing and...implement them, introduce them into operational activities.
I DO understand that this is His Majesty Business and each plays for his benefit and profit, but false claims and insincerity from this Austrian company management create unsavoury impression of all the case.
|Comment #2.1 by: gimpy on 04 Jul 2010, 19:42 GMT|
interesing, got any evidence to back that up?
|Comment #3 by: Drug on 05 Jul 2010, 16:47 UTC|| reply to this comment|
Yes, I have got the evidence to back that up, but it will do nothing good to prove anything. I comprehend that the world of business is cruel and is not inclined to sincerity, but there should always remain some kind of fairness.
By the way, a couple of years there was a suggestion to Emsisoft CEO to make some PR of Emsisoft products via Softpedia and other resources and co-operate with other developers and vendors Online Armor to name among their number. Then all those suggestions were disdainfully "neglected" and ... implemented successfully. Gimpy, would you like me to provide you with the evidences such as e-mail correspondence or like that? Have we been brought into he court already? I haven't even noticed that...
|Comment #4 by: Vito Po on 08 Jul 2010, 08:16 UTC|| reply to this comment|
I wonder whether Mr. Mairoll as an "honest business" will share the benefits of this deal with those who originated the very idea of it. It is a real surprise that he began to hold Softpedia in esteem and gives interviews to this web-portal, so as he used to neglect it...
Mr. Mailroll, have you run short of new ideas and creativity, because you've been using and implementing the suggestions made by OTHERS several years ago and rejected by you as irrelevant and having nothing to do with the Marketing of software? Have you changed your mind?
If it is so, I am very glad for you. But honest and decent men usually name the real originators of the ideas and suggestions and pay them money for it.
I DO hope, Mr. Mairoll, that you are the honest man and businessman, aren't you?
|Comment #5 by: passerby on 20 Oct 2011, 07:26 UTC|| reply to this comment|
This is a sad story about the birth and death.
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