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PGP software finds new home with startup

Network Associates has unloaded its software portfolio based on the security technology Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) to a startup, also called PCP, which was launched on Monday by a collection of security industry veterans.

PGP the company is backed by $14m (£9.2m) in venture funding from Doll Capital Management and Venrock Associates.

The company's management includes executives worked on early efforts for PGP. Its president and chief executive officer, Phil Dunkelberger, headed one of the first companies to sell PGP encryption software.

The startup uncloaked itself Monday in conjunction with an announcement regarding new products and the upcoming release of PGP version 8.0, an update to the widely used encryption application.

PGP 8.0 will include new support for Windows XP and Mac OS X. It will also include a server-side plug-in for Lotus Notes, support for Novell's GroupWise 5.5 and 6.0 clients, as well as enhanced support for internationalisation.

PGP has acquired all of Network Associates' desktop and wireless encryption product lines. Those are PGPmail, PGPfile, PGPdisk, PGPwireless, PGPadmin and PGPkeyserver, with versions for the Windows and Macintosh operating systems; the PGPsdk encryption software development kit; and PGP Corporate Desktop for Macintosh.

Network Associates will continue using PGPsdk to develop several of its server and desktop products that employ the technology, it said in a separate statement. The value of the deal was not disclosed.

New products released by the startup, including PGP version 8.0, are expected to be available in November. Additionally, the company will take over support of existing versions of PGP products previously sold by Network Associates, and will offer support services to customers that had purchased the software from Network Associates.

Existing Network Associates customers that have purchased PGP products will have their software licence agreements transferred to the new company.

Cryptography pioneer Phil Zimmerman developed PGP and launched a company around the technology in 1996. Network Associates purchased the company from Zimmerman in 1997.

Last October, Network Associates announced that it would reorganise its business and product lines and look to sell off its PGP software line. By March, a company official confirmed that it had stopped trying to sell the technology after failing to find a buyer, and the company demoted its PGP products to "maintenance mode".

A free version of PGP, which can be downloaded from a number of Web sites, is still available. PGP the company will sell its software as well as contribute to the community that supports the free version of the software.

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