Wibu-Systems at 30: Serendipity meets Capability


Celebrating three decades ahead of the curve

Oliver Winzenried and Marcellus Buchheit, Wibu-Systems co-founders, still leading the company together after 30 years | @Krowne Communications

Karlsruhe, Germany – 1989-2019: A new milestone on Wibu-Systems’ path towards embracing its role as the fully dedicated global leader in secure license management. The company will celebrate its 30th anniversary throughout the year with its long-standing network of channel partners, its ample and loyal customer base, and its own faithful team.

In early 1989, Intel was just gearing up to release its newest processor, the 80486DX. SVGA had finally brought 16 colors to PC displays. WordPerfect was the standard word processor, and gamers eagerly awaited the very first Prince of Persia. Ronald Reagan was still the U.S. President, and talk grew of revolution behind the Iron Curtain.

During this period, a quieter kind of revolution was under way in Karlsruhe, Germany. While software piracy was in its infancy, with cracked games sent through the mail on floppy disks, two students of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Oliver Winzenried and Marcellus Buchheit, were working on WibuBox, a novel dongle-based DRM method using tough cryptographic capabilities. The basic idea that would develop into today’s cutting-edge software, hardware, and cloud-based CodeMeter software monetization technology was born, solving a problem long before society had even taken heed of the risks ahead: How to safeguard the invaluable digital IP that is guiding and aiding more and more of our lives, from desktop applications to smart factories to critical infrastructures.

For three decades, Wibu-Systems has remained true to its mission of excellence and perfection in protection, licensing, and security technology, delivered in a way that makes the business of software publishers and intelligent device manufacturers simpler and more profitable, and in turn safeguards jobs, health, safety, our environment, and economy.

Technological milestones highlight the company’s history: The introduction of time and use-based licenses to allow far more granular controls over software in the early 1990s; a constant stream of innovative iterations of its dongle technology for every interface from the original WibuBox’s parallel port to today’s CmStick for USB Type-C; the introduction of software-only license protections that live up to the security standards expected from hardware dongles; and a never-ending succession of truly momentous and patented innovations, like SmartBind® technology, Kerckhoffs’ Principle-compliant Blurry Box® encryption method, or the increasing commitment to industrial applications since the first decade of the new millennium. With CodeMeter Certificate Vault set to overcome the perennial problems hobbling the acceptance of digital certificates, with the new CmCloud taking the leap into a full cloud experience, and with CodeMeter’s capabilities on embedded and virtual systems continuing to expand its footprint in the IIoT scene, Wibu-Systems has again created a technologically advanced, reliable, user-friendly, and beautifully designed, landscape of protection, licensing, and security hardware, software, and services for an industrial future that is only now taking its first baby steps.

After 30 years in its market niche, Wibu-Systems remains true to its principles and the unbeaten champion with its protection technology, as numerous hacking contests have proven. There is no better sign of its commitment to continued progress in its field than the new headquarters and the House of IT Security that the company is building in Karlsruhe.

For Oliver Winzenried and Marcellus Buchheit, still the captains of this pioneering venture, the turn of the company’s fourth decade marks just the next milestone in its history: “When we started the company, there was no Internet. We did not know what the future held, but we wanted the world to be secure nonetheless. Now that the Internet of Things is becoming reality, we are continuing on that same mission – brought to life by our great people and enjoyed by our users everywhere.”

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