Steve Chang - The anti-virus king

Steve Chang, 47, founded the company in 1988 to produce anti-virus software solutions for personal computers. Today, Trend Micro is indubitably one of the leaders in virus management.

Trend Micro and its CEO, Steve Chang, are practically household names in the anti-virus world.

Chang, 47, founded the company in 1988 to produce anti-virus software solutions for personal computers. Today, Trend Micro, with more than 750 employees and 20 million users worldwide, is indubitably one of the leaders in virus management.

In September 1999, Chang, who is also the president and chairman of Trend Micro, launched the eDoctor Global Network for managed service providers to deliver Trend Micro’s Internet content security services to their customers. This subscription service model is expected to grow at a 105% compound annual rate for the next four years, according to International Data Corp (IDC). Alliances have since been formed with many companies, including Internet Security Systems (ISS), PSINet, Equant, Telstra and Sprint.

For fiscal 2000, Trend Micro announced net income of 4.72 billion yen (US$45 million) for the year 2000, reflecting a 91% increase from 1999. Operating income and net sales rose 75 percent and 59 percent, reaching 7.44 billion yen (US$70.9 million) and 21.84 billion yen (US$208 million) respectively.

Chang attributed the strong gains to a rising demand for high-end Internet protection products such as InterScan VirusWall and ScanMail for Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Notes. InterScan VirusWall captured 54% of global anti-virus software sales for Web servers and was voted Best Virus Protection by users to capture the W2Knews Target Awards 2000. ScanMail for Exchange 2000 did just as well, winning Best Tool/Utility at the Microsoft Exchange Conference 2000.

Trend Micro also offers Linux-based Internet server appliances, software and services through its fully owned subsidiary – ipTrend Inc. Targeted at small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), ipTrend launched its first product – eStation – an Internet-ready server bundled with Linux applications in Asia late last year.

Chang predicts that net sales this year will reach 30 billion yen (US$250 million based on current rates) while ordinary income will reach 10 billion yen (US$83 million). Real profit is projected to grow 47 percent in 2001.

As Trend Micro’s enterprise client base expanded, Chang realized that anti-virus solutions are perceived more as a service than a product.

"The ILOVEYOU virus helped change the perception from product to service … Users don't expect you to detect every virus, but they want you to respond quickly. Anti-virus software must be constantly updated and maintained to protect against the latest threats, especially in this era of fast-spreading e-mail viruses," Chang told ZDNet Asia.

To meet the needs of clients, Chang built TrendLabs, a global anti-virus research and support network that employs over 250 engineers and operates round the clock to handle new virus outbreaks or urgent support problems. Its headquarters in Manila recently earned ISO 9002 certification for its quality assurance standards.

As Trend Micro’s enterprise client base expanded, Chang realized that anti-virus solutions are perceived more as a service than a product.

Chang’s strategy for 2001 is focused on growth. To this end, one of the areas Chang plans to concentrate on is broadband. Trend Micro will launch what it claims to be the world's first Internet broadband security device – GateLock – later this year. GateLock, a plug-and-play broadband device, acts like a personal firewall to keep out hackers and viruses.

With wireless threats on the rise, Chang also believes that his company should help organizations implement multi-layered virus protection for both wired and wireless networks. In February this year, Chang launched PC-cillin for Wireless, an anti-virus solution for most handheld mobile and wireless device platforms, including Palm OS, Windows CE, and Symbian EPOC.

Trend Micro was named the world leader in the Internet gateway anti-virus market by IDC last year. Under Chang’s guidance, Trend Micro may well remain the king in the field of Internet content security for years to come. – Ariel Tam, ZDNet Asia

Read Steve Chang's comments.