Haszard charts smart new course involving backup for ‘personalised’ mobile devices

The original Ghost team are now busy developing mobile device backup and cloning software

The original New Zealand dotcom success story, Murray Haszard, is back in the software game, with the launch of backup and recovery software for smart phones from Sprite Software.

The Auckland-based company was founded by Haszard and Sean Connolly — the original developers of disk cloning product Ghost, which was sold to Symantec in 1998.

Connolly stayed on with Symantec for a year after the acquisition, but then decided to have a break.

“The corporate culture was not what I wanted,” he says.

In 2001, he was approached by Haszard to co-found Sprite Software. Five years on, the company has 18 employees, of which eight are developers, and is looking to expand. Some people from the old Ghost team has come back to work for Sprite Software, says Connolly.

The mobile device is becoming highly personalised, with content such as documents, pictures, music, video downloads and text messages as well as contact lists, says Connolly.

“Whether [you are using] a Nokia or a Windows mobile-based device, the content is getting richer and it has an increased value,” he says.

If lost, some of that content will be impossible to retrieve and some of it will be inconvenient, at the very least, to recover, he says.

Sprite Backup automatically backs up data to a storage card or PC. It also offers the option of restoring everything or choosing which files users want to restore. It can also be used for moving data across for device upgrades.

Mobile phones are getting cheaper and smarter, says Connolly. People are expecting that phones can be used for things like taking photos and playing music, he says.

“There is a great opportunity for [mobile phone] operators to offer data, services [such as] mobile phone back-up, and there is an opportunity for us to be one of those data services.”

The company has sold 6.5 million licences worldwide and has around 600 enterprise customers, he says. The customers are mainly in the US, Europe and Asia.

“We have gone straight to where the market is,” he says.

There are localised versions of the software for European and Asian languages.

The few local customers include a couple of government agencies, as well as a number of end-users, says Connolly.

Sprite Backup licences cost US$29.95 per user.

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