AVG Technologies

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AVG Technologies
Subsidiary
SuccessorAvast Software Edit this on Wikidata
Founded1991
FounderJan Gritzbach and Tomáš Hofer
Defunct2017 Edit this on Wikidata
HeadquartersPrague, Czech Republic
Area served
Worldwide
ProductsSoftware
ParentAvast
Websitewww.avg.com

AVG Technologies is a subsidiary of Avast. AVG develops and markets cybersecurity, privacy, performance, and utility software for desktop computers and mobile devices. It typically offers freeware, earning revenues from advertisers and from users that upgrade to paid versions for access to more features.

AVG was founded in 1990 in Czechoslovakia just as the country was transitioning from communism to capitalism. In the early 2000s, AVG expanded internationally and used money from venture capital investments to fund a series of acquisitions. AVG went public on the New York Stock Exchange in February 2012. Avast acquired AVG for $1.3 billion in July 2016.

History[edit]

AVG Technologies was founded by Tomáš Hofer and Jan Gritzbach in 1990 under the name Grisoft in Brno, Czechoslovakia.[1] At the time, Czechoslovakia was starting to transition from communism to capitalism.[1] Initially, Grisoft sold IT equipment and third-party software, in addition to its own antivirus product.[2] Grisoft grew as the country loosened its international trade policies, so it could exchange technology with companies in Europe.[1] By 1998, Grisoft had 13 employees.[3]

Grisoft later expanded to the US market, creating an American company called AVG.[3] Grisoft also expanded to Great Britain, The Netherlands, Germany, and other countries.[4] For a time, the company was focused on bulk sales of antivirus software to computer manufacturers that sold PCs with Grisoft's software pre-installed.[3] It started marketing software directly to consumers in 2006.[5] In 2008, Grisoft changed the name of its parent company to AVG, the name already used for its software and for its American subsidiary.[6] TA Associates invested an additional $200 million into the company that year for a minority stake in the business.[7]

In 2001, Grisoft was sold to a venture capital firm Benson Oak Capital.[1] The firm then sold a 65 percent interest in Grisoft to Intel Capital and Enterprise Investors for $52 million in 2005.[1][8][9] The investments were used to fund a series of acquisitions.[1] Grisoft bought spyware company Ewido Networks in 2006[10] and browser security company Exploit Prevention Labs in 2007.[11] In 2009, AVG announced the acquisition of Sana Security, which analyzes software behavior.[12] This was followed by the acquisition of mobile security startup DroidSecurity the in 2011[13] parental control software company Bsecure in 2012,[14] and remote monitoring company Level Platforms in 2013.[15]

AVG Technologies filed an initial public offering in February 2012.[16] Additionally, former Mozilla CEO Gary Kovacs was appointed CEO of AVG.[17] He led the effort to create a simple one-page privacy policy that discloses what data the company collects from users and what information about free users it sells to advertisers.[18]

In 2014, AVG announced the acquisition of Location Labs, a cybersecurity company focused on mobile devices, for an estimated $220 million.[16] AVG was acquired by Avast for $1.3 billion in July 2016.[19][20] By this time, AVG had 600 employees, $155 million in annual revenue, and 95 million users.[1] The combined entity became the world's largest antivirus company, with an estimated 20% of the market.[21] There were Avast or AVG installations on 160 million mobile devices and 240 million desktop computers.[22] The new combined entity incorporate their technology into combined software products and developed a new channel program to market them to small business owners.[23][24] A few months later, an American private equity firm, TA Associates, bought a 25 percent interest in AVG for $200 million.[1]

In 2015, AVG acquired the VPN company Privax[25] and an Israeli-based gallery app company called MyRoll.[26] It also released new software products for businesses that incorporate the technology of both companies.[24] In July 2017 AVG acquired Piriform, a UK-based company that developed CCleaner, a cleanup utility with 130 million installations.[27]

Software[edit]

AVG develops and markets software for IT security, privacy, performance optimization, and other utility services on desktop computers and mobile devices.[28] It is one of the largest brands of cybersecurity software.[29]

AVG is best-known for its antivirus product.[30] AVG AntiVirus is a freeware program[30] that relies heavily on heuristic analysis to determine if a program's code is behaving like malicious software.[3][31] It scans a computer's documents, programs, and emails for suspicious behavior,[32] then rates each file's risk based on its behavior and alerts the user of files with a high rating.[31] AVG Antivirus has features intended to protect the user's PC from malware, phishing, and viruses.[33] It also has firewall, identity protection, anti-ransomware, anti-spam, and webcam control features for paid users.[33][34][35]

Avast also develops software for data backup, parental controls, and other services.[36][30] AVG produces a variety of other computer optimization and utility software products.[29][16] For example, a browser extension called AVG SafePrice looks for better deals online when the user is on a shopping site.[33]

A majority of AVG's revenues come from free users upgrading to paid versions.[36]

Controversy[edit]

In May 2012, AVG Technologies issued a copyright claim, referred to as a 'takedown request,' for a YouTube video of 1987 pop song Never Gonna Give You Up, performed by British singer Rick Astley.[37][38][39][40] The video, which as of October 2015, has over 150 million views and 300,000 comments, had been uploaded in 2007,[41] and was restored within 24 hours by YouTube.[37][38][39][40] The video's name refers to the internet meme commonly referred to as 'Rickrolling,' where someone pranks others by tricking them into going to the video.

AVG's browser add-on, AVG Secure Search, has been criticized as being adware,[42] since it is frequently bundled with other software and is often mistakenly installed, and exhibits malware-like behavior. AVG Secure Search is also advertised to users of the free versions of AVG products.[43] Although the add-on offers legitimate malware-blocking capabilities, the default behavior of changing the internet browser's default search engine, homepage, and new tab page to AVG Secure Search is reminiscent of a potentially unwanted program (PUP), problems uninstalling the add-on have been widely reported,[42] and the add-on could potentially make an internet browser more vulnerable to attacks.[44]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Cienski, Jan (7 September 2017). "Anti-virus makers spring from an unexpected source". Financial Times. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  2. ^ "Vznikne antivirový gigant, pražský Avast kupuje původně brněnskou AVG". iDNES.cz (in Czech). 7 July 2016. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d Rocks, David (31 August 1998). "Czech Detection: Grisoft targets the U.S. antivirus-software market, but will the two California titans even notice?". The Wall Street Journal.
  4. ^ "Avast koupí konkurenční AVG za 32 miliard". Novinky.cz (in Czech). Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  5. ^ "Grisoft Updates Security Lineup To v. 7.5". TechWeb. 3 October 2006.
  6. ^ Messmer, Ellen (7 February 2008). "Grisoft changes name to AVG Technologies". Network World. Retrieved 1 December 2018.
  7. ^ Lynn Cowan, "Eight IPOs Line Up, Including AVG And Greenway," VentureWire (27 Jan 2012).
  8. ^ Krazit, Tom (6 September 2005). "Intel invests in Czech security company". InfoWorld. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  9. ^ Gitlin, Elle Cayabyab (8 September 2005). "Intel acquires US$16 million stake in Grisoft". Ars Technica. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  10. ^ Naraine, Ryan (21 August 2007). "Grisoft AVG Anti-Spyware 7.5". PCWorld. Retrieved 31 December 2018.
  11. ^ Rossi, Sandra (20 December 2018). "Grisoft to acquire Exploit Prevention Labs for undisclosed sum". Computerworld. Retrieved 31 December 2018.
  12. ^ Rubenking, Neil (13 January 2009). "AVG Buys Sana's Behavior-Based Security Tech". PCMAG. Retrieved 31 December 2018.
  13. ^ "AVG Acquires Mobile Security Startup DroidSecurity For Up To $9.4 Million". TechCrunch. 10 November 2010. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  14. ^ "AVG Acquires 'Online Family Protection' Software Maker Bsecure". TechCrunch. 1 November 2011. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  15. ^ "AVG acquires LPI Level Platforms, providing more cloud services to SMBs". IT Business. 12 June 2013. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  16. ^ a b c Stynes, Tess (3 September 2014). "AVG Technologies to Buy Location Labs". WSJ. Retrieved 31 December 2018.
  17. ^ Ludwig, Sean (21 May 2013). "AVG buys web privacy firm PrivacyChoice & its smart Privacyfix dashboard". VentureBeat. Retrieved 4 January 2019.
  18. ^ Osborne, Charlie (18 September 2015). "AVG releases transparent privacy policy: Yes, we will sell your data". ZDNet. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  19. ^ McMillan, Robert (7 July 2016). "Avast Software to Buy AVG Technologies for $1.3 Billion". WSJ. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  20. ^ Lomas, Natasha (7 July 2016). "Avast acquires antivirus maker AVG for $1.3BN to gain scale and dive into IoT security". TechCrunch. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  21. ^ "Security CEO Says Pivoting From Antivirus Will Be 'Far Easier' After Billion-Dollar Acquisition". Fortune. 7 July 2016. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  22. ^ Sayer, Peter (7 July 2016). "Free antivirus pays off: Avast buys AVG for $1.3 billion". PCWorld. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  23. ^ "AVG stellt neueste Versionen seiner Sicherheits- und TuneUp-Suiten vor". ZDNet.de (in German). 10 January 2017. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  24. ^ a b Kuranda, Sarah (6 September 2017). "Avast Launches New Business Portfolio And Partner Program, Combining Its Channel Forces With AVG". CRN. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  25. ^ Osborne, Charlie (6 May 2015). "AVG acquires desktop, mobile VPN firm Privax". ZDNet. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  26. ^ Sawers, Paul (12 November 2015). "AVG acquires Israeli photo-management startup MyRoll, plans to integrate the technologies". VentureBeat. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  27. ^ Thubron, Rob (20 July 2017). "Avast acquires Piriform, the maker of CCleaner and Speccy". TechSpot. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  28. ^ "Compare All AVG Products - Find the Perfect Software". AVG.com. 4 January 2019. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  29. ^ a b Sawers, Paul (7 July 2016). "Avast acquires rival AVG for $1.3 billion to create a security software giant". VentureBeat. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  30. ^ a b c "AVG Maker Grisoft Launches Anti-Spyware". TechWeb. 19 June 2006.
  31. ^ a b "Grisoft Adds Partners -- The Czech vendor targets U.S. VARs with antivirus offering". VARBusiness. 21 August 2006.
  32. ^ "Antiviry: AVG 6.0". iDNES.cz (in Czech). 22 January 2002. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  33. ^ a b c Rubenking, Neil (22 October 2018). "AVG AntiVirus Free". PCMAG. Retrieved 31 December 2018.
  34. ^ "AVG Internet Security - Unlimited". PCMAG. 4 December 2018. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  35. ^ Plus, PC (12 February 2011). "AVG Internet Security 2011". TechRadar. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  36. ^ a b "'Freemium' Model Works Well For AVG Technologies". Investor's Business Daily. 5 August 2013. Retrieved 4 January 2019.
  37. ^ a b "Rickroll Meme Destroyed By Copyright Takedown". TorrentFreak. 23 May 2012. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
  38. ^ a b "Rickroll Video Removed Due to Copyright Claim from AVG". Tom's Hardware. 24 May 2012. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
  39. ^ a b "Original RickRoll Video Returns to YouTube After 24-Hour Copyright Hiatus". MaximumPC. 24 May 2012. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
  40. ^ a b "News of 'Rickroll' meme death greatly exaggerated". MSNBC. 25 May 2012. Archived from the original on 26 May 2012. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
  41. ^ "RickRoll'D - YouTube". YouTube. 15 May 2007. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
  42. ^ a b Protalinski, Emil. "AVG Security Toolbar is the worst foistware I've ever seen | ZDNet". ZDNet. Retrieved 22 September 2016.
  43. ^ "How do I make these AVG popups STOP??? | AVG". 13 August 2015. Retrieved 22 September 2016.
  44. ^ "Don't Use Your Antivirus' Browser Extensions: They Can Actually Make You Less Safe". Retrieved 22 September 2016.

External links[edit]