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Retrospect backup looks ahead to new era

After going through two ownership changes since mid-2010, the Retrospect SMB backup software team re-launched this week as an independent company.

Most of the team for the newly private Retrospect, Inc., goes back to when Dantz Development Corp. owned the software before EMC acquired Dantz in 2004. EMC made Retropsect part of its Insignia SMB brand, but eventually lost interest in that market and sold Retrospect to Sonic Solutions in May of 2010. Sonic carried Retrospect software as part of its Roxio brand until digital entertainment company Rovi acquired Sonic for $720 million last December. Rovi wasn’t interested in the backup software market, so the Retrospect team spun itself off.

Retrospect made its coming-out announcement Thursday, when it also launched Retrospect 9 for the Mac with cloud support.

Eric Ullman, one of the Retrospect founders, said there less than 50 people at the new company with about two-thirds of them developers. He said the parting with Rovi was amicable because both sides realized Retrospect was not a good fit with its new parent.

“Backup software is not even close to what Rovi’s business is, and their management quickly realized that Retrospect was not going to be a long-term product at the company,” he said.
Ullman said throughout the ownership changes, Retrospect has kept most of the same channel partners and he hopes to hit the ground running as an independent company.

“We’ve maintained our channel amazingly well over the years,” said Ullman, who leads Retrospect’s product development. “The feedback we’ve received has been almost 100 percent positive from our partners.

“Our sales peaked during the first year at EMC. After EMC dropped focus, sales dropped. They have not changed significantly since we left EMC, but now that we’re focused on just one thing, we expect to grow sales back up.”

Restrospect 9 for Mac supports WebDAV (Web-based Distributed Authoring and Versioning), which makes it easy to integrate into cloud backup services. Retrospect also added a 64-bit network backup client for Intel-based Macs that uses optional AES-256 encryption and lets users initiate backups and restores from their desktops.

Although Retrospect is known largely for its Mac backup, Ullman said Retrospect for Windows accounts for most of its sales. It also has more competition for Windows SMB customers, going head-to-head with Symantec Corp. Backup Exec, CA ARCserve and Acronis software.

“We’re about 60 percent to two-third Windows now, but we expect that to change with the Mac upgrade,” Ullman said. “There’s really not a lot else in the Mac market.”

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