TALKING HEAD

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Delrina is best known for its WinFax software. But the Canadian software company has other products, too - and has grown by more than 100 per cent over the past four years to an annual turnover of C$102 million (£47.2m) in its latest financial year.

Co-founder and president Mark Skapinker is responsible for much of that success. He offers a wry take on the current state of the PC industry.

Q: What do you think of the current fad of commerce on the Internet?

A: It's like the new Wild West. You're best off keeping your money under your mattress. Many electronic banks are opening and many traders are open for business, but you must ask yourself how safe they are.

Q: So how safe do you think they are?

A: Internet is hacker city. It is a nerd's haven - as the Wild West was a haven for outlaws and outcasts. The bankers are trying their best to create the most secure banks, but the outlaws have the place surrounded. The hackers are challenged by the prospect of breaking in. Meanwhile, until it becomes socially unacceptable to break banks on the Net, security will not be adequately dealt with.

Q: What do you think of the current boom in home computing?

A: This is not the first time we have been through an explosion of uncontrolled home software. In the early 1980s, the prices of the so-called home computers dropped to the point that they entered the mass market. The marketers created the software guilt ads along the lines of "if you don't buy this new home computer for your children, they will not succeed in school or in life". The problem was most of the software was extremely low quality.

Q: Has the industry learned anything since?

A: Word on the street now is that about 30 per cent of CD software is returned because users cannot get it to work. I believe we are at the crossroads of the consumer market - either the software market will stabilise or we will have a implosion of the market as we did 10 years ago.

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