A Blast from the Past. Part I – the Pack-shot Odyssey.

Kaspersky Lab has just turned 14 years old. On June 26, 1997, after eight years of perfecting our technology with my colleagues, we decided it was ready to go to the market, and so we registered a company. The first years were really hard for all the team members. The business was developing slowly (but surely) and sometimes it was difficult to make ends meet. But we never had a single moment of hesitation to want to stop and switch to faster money – despite the numerous temptations surrounding us at the time.

I remember Alexey De Mont De Rique and me standing at a tram stop one snowy day when in a flash I was overcome by some kind of irrational confidence that we would develop the world’s best anti-virus software. Call it a revelation, if you will. And yes, it was that simple, yet bold: the best anti-virus – head and shoulders above the competition on its detection rate. We never made money our target. We just played the game we really liked.

We started with absolutely nothing in 1991 – besides ambition, knowledge and confidence. Nobody knew us. Fast forward to the 2010 world market race, and Kaspersky Lab finished fourth in the overall ratings and third in the consumer market segment. We made great strides in both the retail and SMB markets, and have already started doing the same in the corporate market. Wish us luck in getting out front!

These last 14 years have resembled a thrilling roller-coaster ride of ups and downs. And on the occasion of our anniversary I thought it might be a good idea to take a trip down memory lane and give you some insight into our history: I will publish a series blast-from-the-past blog posts, starting with a historical overview of our retail product boxes.

If my memory serves me well, we have had at least 12 series of boxes. The first two didn’t get past the prototype stage – samples designed before we established the company. From 2006 we began introducing a new box design for each new version of our products, and we still do so every year.

Okay, let’s begin.

Up until the last minute before publishing this post I thought we had lost the very first box – that it hadn’t survived the company’s numerous office moves in the early years. But in the end, thankfully, we did track it down. The box was designed by Alexey De Mont De Rique in 1994 and featured the product’s name – Antiviral Toolkit Pro back then.

The second incarnation of the box was specially designed for the release of the long-awaited AVP version for Novell NetWare – a major network operating system at the time (I wonder how many people remember it?), which quickly lost the market to Windows and Unix in the early 2000s. Up until the last minute I thought we had lost this box forever too, “like tears in rain” © Blade Runner. However, our fans on the Kaspersky Lab forum helped us out in locating one – so we could have a look once again at the nice green, orange and purple leaves covering the box. But I still have no recollection whatsoever as to why we chose this color and pattern.

In 1997 we introduced a new retail box featuring the head of Michelangelo’s David – to support the official announcement of Kaspersky Lab being established. Though viruses were still a rare occurrence in those days (as were computers compared to now!), we decided that the story of David and Goliath from the Old Testament resembled perfectly the state of affairs on the malware battleground. Or was it some kind of anticipation of the fact that ten years later we would be discovering about 30,000 new malware samples per day? I’m not sure.

The “David” box held out for almost three years. Some of our more observant comedians used to joke that the photo on the box is the only one of me without a beard.

In mid-1999 we rebranded the box’s eye-catcher – starting the three-year long “umbrella era”. The first box featured a minimalistic design with a hand holding up an umbrella, with the area underneath it left blank (as in – completely protected from the rain) to emphasize the nature and quality of protection. The box for network-based anti-virus products featured a single umbrella with three hands holding it, which we thought both more appropriate and convincing for the corporate market.

Despite the company comprising barely 40 people and earning just $1 million in revenues, our marketing guys were extremely picky even back then in delivering the right message to the right target audience. We continued with the umbrella idea but changed its particular appearance several times. The standard black umbrella picture gave way to a cyber-umbrella in which some users discovered a hidden image of a syringe. Another significant (but nevertheless hard to spot) feature of the cyber-umbrella box was the adoption of a new product name and logo. Good-old AVP became Kaspersky Anti-Virus plus a number of auxiliary products like Kaspersky Anti-Hacker (a personal firewall) and Kaspersky Anti-Spam.

In 2002 we began searching for a new brand identity and ended up replacing the umbrella with regularly updated tech-style pictures resembling the nature of the products inside. First came boxes emphasizing the brand, followed by boxes emphasizing the products’ application.

In 2006 we finally discovered a strong eye-catcher and selected a solid color scheme, which we have kept up till now. The choice of the color was rather natural as green rather neatly completed the vacant position in the anti-virus market’s traffic lights tricolor – bolstering our new motto: “Red for threats. Green for you.”

Following the tradition of introducing a new box design for each new product incarnation, the 2012 version (already launched in some regions, available soon in others) will feature a new look. After many years of using the famous “K” logo we gave it a major face lift.

Personally, I think the old appearance made more sense. The “K” consisted of a “V” (for “virus”) and a black arrow pointed downwards symbolizing the product’s capability for eradicating viruses. However, focus groups reported that this logic is not that easy to follow, and so our marketing guys developed a new concept.

Now the “K” sign covers the whole of the front and the left-hand side edge of the boxes: if you rotate the box horizontally anti-clockwise you can see the whole picture. The box looks great – both on the shelves and on the web. I especially like the nice glossy coating of selected areas, which adds extra appeal.

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

We’ve also had a number of boxes produced by our local offices and partners. You can find them on my Flickr account.

In the next post I will cover Kaspersky Anti-Virus’ prototype, which was developed in the early 90s: A nostalgic trip back to the DOS era, with interesting text graphics and old-school terminology.

Anyone know the name of the prototype?

Here’s a tip: AVP is the wrong answer.

40 Responses to “A Blast from the Past. Part I – the Pack-shot Odyssey.”

  1. Congratulations, Eugene and Team Green. You have built a fine company.

  2. I like the GUI of KIS 2012, KSN was there even in 2011 but its good to have visual awareness for users, As Panda was shouting on top of the roof “Cloud Protection”

    • The most interesting thing we were among the pioneers in using cloud technologies for malware protection. KSN was introduced back in 2008 if I am not mistaken

  3. Nice Kaspersky Products Eugene Kaspersky!Keep up!Wonder what will i see the new Kaspersky 2013….

  4. Congratulations Eugene, and Green Team…you are the top AV in my view and the sexiest IT company I follow. Look forward to seeing you in the number one spot in 2014

  5. Congrats & Happy Birthday 2 Kaspersky & Thank You Sir Eugene Kaspersky & His Team 4 this Wonderful Product :):):)

    —————- () — ()– () — ()
    —————- || –1- || 4–|| — ||
    ————–{*~*~*~*~*~*~*}
    …——- @@@@@@@@@@
    ——- {~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ }
    —-@@@@@@@@@@@@@
    — {~*~*~*~*~HAPPY~*~*~*~*~ *}
    — {~*~*~*~*BIRTHDAY*~*~*~*~*}
    — {*~*~*~*~KASPERSKY*~*~*~*~*}
    @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

  6. Happy Birthday Kaspersky :) Eugene and Kaspersky Team Rocks :)

  7. congrates eugen and his great team befor 2014 your company become no 1 in world suer

  8. It was the “-V” (Mnus virus) ???

    Cheers, and good work!!!

  9. Thank you Kaspersky. I have used and recommended your software since v0.6 . Keep up the good work :)

  10. We only became partnered with Kaspersky two or three years ago. Most people we encounter recognize the less effective names, but have never heard of the top four. Once educated, and start using Kaspersky products, the all respond the same way …… AWESOME! Why haven’t I heard of this company before. Slowly you have gained momentum and are surpassing the others. Fourteen years is really just a start. But what a start. Happy birthday from Medical Visions, Inc. and Two Old Farts & A Laptop.

  11. …”In 1991, while working at the KAMI Information Technologies Centre, Eugene and his colleagues developed the AVP antivirus project, which in 1994 won a contest conducted by Hamburg University’s test lab demonstrating a higher virus detection rate than the most popular antivirus programs at the time. The AVP antivirus project was to become the prototype for Kaspersky Anti-Virus.”…

    So if the prototype wasn’t AVP, what the heck was it???

  12. Originally, -v = no virus but also -u = disassembler don’t remember TSR’s name but in old days you also have Vadim B. not just Alexey.

  13. A very warm congratulations to Eugene Kaspersky And his team for making such a powerful anti-virus. KAV is a must soft for me. I am so much satisfied with its detection rate and disinfection capability that i have told a lot of my friends to try this and they are reporting it as very good. I have used some other anti-viruses and i wander why it is not the number one. One question, why you said “Still much to do till 2014”? Best of luck.

    • Thanks for the greetings! 2014 is a great year as Russia will be hosting the summer Olympic Games and.. we have an extremely ambitious goal to be No.1 in the world ranking on the market

  14. Nice work Mr.Eugene Kaspersky! Keep it up. And I look to meet you one day! Turki Aldawesh.

  15. Stefan Zauchenberger Reply June 28, 2011 at 5:47 am

    Excellent stuff, Eugene. Thank you for the very interesting details, and congrats on 14 years of tremendous success. I can now safely say that ICE Systems began selling and supporting Kaspersky products during the middle of the 3-yr “Umbrella Era”. It gives me a sense of placement in a highly momentous time line. I actually liked that ubrella image, but now it is used by Avira aka “zee jermans!”. Didn’t they know they were stealing a discarded, outdated Kaspersky (AVP) design? Go figure … Also, I miss the pig squeal. Bring it back…? Hope to see you again soon!

  16. Very inspirational indeed. Look forward to reading the sequel.

    Mitesh Vohra.

  17. Congrat Eugene and Happy B-Day for Kaspersky Lab !!!

  18. nice product, keep it up

  19. I am very happy for you , but i buy all the verison form 2002 to 2012 and i keep the boxs in my office and look it and say “the Eugene Kaspersky he made revolution from nothing ”

    happy B-day for kaspersky lab

  20. Thanks everyone for your comments and greetings!
    Yes, the name of the very first Kaspersky Anti-Virus prototype is “-V”. See the next post for more details!

  21. Happy 14th, Eugène, to you and all the team. Nothing better for success than “irrational confidence” and playing the game you really liked

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    […] With the name AVP there’s a funny tale to tell: a typo became a brand! Antiviral Toolkit Pro should of course be ATP. But when we sent the files to the Virus Test Center of the University of Hamburg, by mistake I zipped the files with the name avp.zip (instead of atp.zip). But by the time I’d noticed, the product had already become pretty well known and been evaluated by all sorts of foreign experts, so renaming it was out of the question. We managed however to wriggle out of this somewhat embarrassing predicament by making “Antiviral” in the next version “AntiViral” (AntiViral Pro). Just as well, since the brand was used for several years. Incidentally, a history of the various product boxes down the years can be found here. […]

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