Lookout CEO Dolce on Boston Office and Why Hardware Is "Thing of the Past"

8/19/14Follow @gthuang

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which raised at least $85 million before selling to Akamai for an undisclosed price.

“Hardware is a thing of the past,” Dolce declares. “I was talking to a young, budding engineer—he was looking to go to engineering school, and wanted to do hardware. I liken that to being a captain of a steamship. Technology is all about software now. Everything works on a standard server. It’s all about software and apps.”

But what about the hype around connected devices, the Internet of things, and the rise of cheaper and faster hardware supply chains? “I’m referring to custom hardware, deployed for either enterprise or service provider technology,” Dolce clarifies. “Everything is moving towards a software-based model. Yes, we’ll still have those handheld devices, which by the way are single-chip devices.”

Dolce harkens back to Boston’s minicomputer heyday of the 1970s and ‘80s, when Data General, Prime, DEC, and other “companies whose names have faded into the past… all tried to outdo each other with hardware. That model is gone forever,” he says.

Now Lookout represents the new breed of lightweight software for the dominant computing device of our era, the smartphone. It also represents the sum of Dolce’s tech experience, in that he has evolved personally from selling networking hardware and software to purely mobile software.

Will mobile security be a winner-take-all sector? “I think a winner will take much of it,” Dolce says. “The industry is trying to get to a point where there are fewer apps that do more.” So the race is on to be the one security app that consumers and corporate workers put on their phones.

Of course, he is positioning Lookout to be the winner in this crowded market. “We intend to provide all types of security, not just anti-malware,” he says. “The guy who has the app loaded on the phone, that’s valuable real estate in a market where there’s no more land left.”

As for securing people’s mobile devices and apps versus networks and databases, take it from a networking expert when he says, “In security, the endpoint is the most important point.”

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com. Follow @gthuang

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