Kara Swisher

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Former Mozilla CEO Kovacs to Head Security Software Firm AVG Technologies


Gary Kovacs, who recently stepped down as the top exec at Mozilla Corporation, has been named CEO of AVG Technologies.

Kovacs said he wanted to join the publicly held Internet and mobile security software company, which is based in both San Francisco and Amsterdam, because it was focusing on expansion in the mobile space of late.

The company currently has more than 150 million users globally, including consumers and small businesses. About 25 percent of its customers use its mobile offerings, which include the AVG AntiVirus Free for Android security application.

“AVG currently has a big footprint on desktop, but it also wants to be leading in mobile,” said Kovacs in an interview yesterday. “As more and more people access the Internet via these devices, what AVG does in this area will become ever more important.”

Kovacs came to Mozilla in late 2010 — after stints as an exec at Sybase and Adobe, as well as at Zi Corporation, a company specializing in embedded software and services for mobile and consumer devices — to lead the development and direction of its best-known product, the Firefox Web browser.

But the exec, who had a strong mobile background, was also brought in to spur the Mountain View, Calif.-based open source software nonprofit foundation (which is also a for-profit company) to move to a key arena with the development of its Firefox OS, a mobile operating system.

Kovacs will remain a board member at Mozilla.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald