Rolf Hilchner, former publisher and man of action with a strong sense of marketing, founds Ashampoo GmbH & Co. KG as a software company in Oldenburg, Germany. Beginnings are humble and the original staff fits into just two offices. Hilchner notices that many programs are difficult to use and visually unappealing. He opts for a different approach: Programs are to be self-explanatory and lead to desired results quickly. Instead of users having to adapt to software, the software will adapt to them. First success comes swiftly: Ashampoo Audio CD MP3 Studio, a program that turns audio CDs into MP3s and creates individual audio CDs, shoots to number one in the software charts at Download.com and world-wide. Motivated by this immense success, we keep enhancing the software to support more than 150 different drives and disk-at-once (DAO) recording. Ashampoo.com is now available in German and English.
Ashampoo now has five employees that share their office space with various other tenants. As a pioneer of burning and MP3 audio software, demand for new programs is steadily rising. Ashampoo releases six additional programs and expands their portfolio to cover Windows optimization and cleaning, tweaking, MP3 conversion, data encryption and software uninstallations without leftovers.
We offer 30-day trials of our software, free of charge and ads, to all users, a real innovation back then and still a valued customer-friendly Ashampoo service today.
In mid 2000, the first boxed Ashampoo programs appear in stores at Target, CompUSA, Babbages and Frys & MicroCenter. Ashampoo continues to expand their burning software portfolio and releases their first Ashampoo CD Recording Suite. Also, the first team training takes place at Norderney to knit the team closer together. We celebrate each release with a joint breakfast while the number of products is still easily manageable.
The website receives a design refresh and becomes more professional. We enter into a cooperation with MusicCity.com on their Morpheus P2P software and hopelessly max out their servers. This is caused by a banner at ashampoo.com that advertises a special free edition of AudioCD MP3 studio with overwhelming success in 2001. In the same year, Ashampoo releases new optimization and tweaking programs called Ashampoo WinOptimizer Suite and Ashampoo PowerUP Deluxe respectively. The road for future classics is paved.
Ashampoo reaches 11 million program installations with over 1.2 million registered users. We expand our multimedia software portfolio with the free Ashampoo MediaPlayer putting the existing big players to shame in many respects including look and feel and features. Additionally, Ashampoo releases their first image editor called "Ashampoo Illuminator" that also includes screenshot features. Likewise, successors to Ashampoo PowerUP XP, Ashampoo Power Encrypt Deluxe and Ashampoo UnInstaller Suite are released.
Ashampoo gains a new distributor in the UK for boxed software and introduces affiliate programs participants of which receive a commission for each advertised and sold item. The Ashampoo team has grown to 13 members with a growing need for additional office space. The free Ashampoo Mail Virus Blocker protects users against the "Fizzer" worm and blocks potentially hazardous email attachments. It's a first step towards quicker response times concerning security threats and many will follow.
Ashampoo reaches 22 million program installations with over 2.3 million registered users. The revised website now supports German, English, French, Spanish, Dutch and Hungarian. Translators turn into long-term friends and help localize Ashampoo products for many years to come. The MyAshampoo account gives customers instant access to software downloads or license keys and offers a straightforward means of contacting Ashampoo support. As of now, Ashampoo also offers OEM partnerships and introduces "Make Us An Offer" enabling customers to propose their own prices for Ashampoo software. Realistic proposals are accepted making the offer a huge success and once again confirming that Rolf Hilchner has a nose for profitable deals.
A successor to CD Recording Suite 4 comes out and is renamed to Ashampoo Burning Studio 5. It's the birth of a classic that is still relevant today. Ashampoo Burning Studio now supports burning and copying of CDs and DVDs for files, video and audio. The transition from a simple burning application to a multimedia suite is complete. In December 2002 and just in time for Christmas, Ashampoo also releases Ashampoo WinOptimizer Platinum Suite 2 and Ashampoo MP3 Check and Convert 3 to identify and recover incompatible MP3s. In addition, Ashampoo Movie Shrink & Burn sees the light of day making it possible for the first time to compress and fit videos on CD or DVD at almost no loss of quality. Also, Heinz-Wilhelm Bogena becomes CFO and co-owner of Ashampoo along with Rolf Hilchner. With proven marketing concepts and new financial expertise, Ashampoo heads into a new year.
6 years of Ashampoo! The still small team gives it their all and celebrate more releases than ever before. Ashampoo's software portfolio has grown to 28 titles with the company working hard towards taking the lead in various software categories including system, burning, multimedia and office applications. In total, Ashampoo programs have now been downloaded over 28 million times with 3 million happy customers.
The new Blu-ray disc format:
As always, Ashampoo are on top of their software game when it comes to new technologies. Ashampoo Burning Studio 5.5 is one of the first burning suites to support Blu-ray. The QA is hard at work putting new hardware through its paces and amazed by the disc capacities supported by this new format. Burning Studio now supports 25 and 50 GB discs so, compared to DVDs, users can now fit five to ten times as much data on a single disc. Experts believe Blu-ray discs will soon replace DVDs - that's not really going to happen.
Marketing thoroughbred Rolf Hilchner can't and won't limit himself to the software business. The Ashampoo group now includes other companies that offer services around the sale and maintenance of planes and sports cars as well as web portals like Enimal.de, a pet agency considered best in class concerning Google Adsense, arteporte.de, an art portal and Olado, a price comparison website. Time and time again, employees line up to catch a yearning glimpse of the luxurious cars that park just outside the building.
Ashampoo celebrates 40 million program installations! Everyone briefly contemplates this huge figure and then goes back to work - there's still a lot to do. Under the slogan "Every computer ought to be safe", Ashampoo publishes "Firewall Free" and "Firewall Pro" that quickly shoot to number one in the German and international download charts. Security programs play an ever increasing role and we're quick to respond. "AntiVirus" and "AntiSpyware" are released in short order to protect users against viruses, malware and spying attempts. Over 4 million users now trust Ashampoo.
Ashampoo now offers 42 different programs. New titles include:
Ashampoo software is now Windows Vista compatible and thus works with all major Microsoft Windows versions. Vista features fresh new visuals but painfully sluggish performance - time for some Ashampoo-powered system optimization.
Every second, an Ashampoo program is installed somewhere on this planet. Ashampoo software has now been downloaded over 60 million times with over 6 million happy users. Experts believe 2008 will be the year the number of PC users hits the one billion mark.
With many years of extensive email marketing experience, Ashampoo breaks new ground. We decide to turn email marketing into a separate service and offer it to business customers under the Cleverreach brand. Years later, Cleverreach will have become the market leader in professional email marketing systems. The Ashampoo parent company will give birth to many other offshoots.
The team grows to over 30 workers and, instead of just a few offices, Ashampoo now owns the entire building. By now, Ashampoo WinOptimizer has become one of the leading Windows cleaning and tuning solutions. In December, Ashampoo WinOptimizer 6 comes out with new defrag and anti-spy functionality. Ashampoo has become a pioneer in freeware and magazine covermounts with software discs on nearly every major PC magazine all over the world. The idea to offer previous software titles to PC magazines for use on their cover discs free of charge takes hold and, once again, Ashampoo is leading the pack.
Various other software companies become aware of Ashampoo's business model and adopt it. Through a close cooperation with leading German download portal Computerbild, the covermount edition of Ashampoo WinOptimizer 6 achieves over 140,000 registrations, celebrated by both editors and the Ashampoo team. World-wide, a total of 80 million Ashampoo programs have been installed since the founding of the company. In response to the question of how the company had gotten its name, Rolf Hilchner remarked "Our software cleans your PC like a shampoo". Matter closed.
Ashampoo keeps making a name for themselves with their software being regularly featured in international comparisons and download charts. As soon as a new and promising technology shows up on our radar, we integrate it into our programs. Case in point: Lightscribe which first premiered in the free Ashampoo Burning Studio and its bigger brother Ashampoo Burning Studio 9. New products like Ashampoo Slideshow Studio HD and Ashampoo Cover Studio likewise support Lightscribe which was originally developed by HP and Lite-on. Lightscribe enables disc recorders to create laser-etched labels for CDs and DVDs. Today, this may seem unnecessary, since the technology hasn't really caught on but back then, our customers were happy - that's all that matters.
With Ashampoo HDD Control, Ashampoo publishes another system software that provides an early warning system against hard disk failure and helps avoid data loss. The program also features a benchmark and compares results against other machines online. We receive various requests from computer administrators from multiple companies. It seems professionals appreciate our software, too. At the same time, other companies start noticing our screenshot solution, Ashampoo Snap, and begin using it in government institutions, police departments, universities and schools.
Ashampoo has reached 100 million software installations and thanks their over 10 million users for their loyalty and trust. It was a long way and quite a journey from the small corner office to these huge figures and we're still going strong.
This year's team training event takes us to Iceland, the land of fairies and pixies. It soon turns into an adventure trip as the Eyjafjallajökull volcano erupts. Over night, the whole team moves to Akureyri. Across narrow roads, an old rickety bus without suspension takes us to the last freight plane at an overcrowded cargo airport. Minutes later, air traffic comes to a standstill due to a giant ash cloud. We finally reach Amsterdam airport after a stopover in Edinburgh with another tale or two to tell our grandchildren one day.
Ashampoo.com is now available in Chinese and a number of Ashampoo fans from all over the world offer to translate our software into their languages, rapidly growing the number of supported interface languages to 20. Good success needs good friends, which we always had, thankfully.
Ashampoo continues to further develop their concept of easy to use software with a focus on quickly accessible 1-click functions. These are prominently featured in Ashampoo WinOptimizer and the new Ashampoo Photo Optimizer that enhances photos at the click of a button without requiring lengthy training periods or previous knowledge. The built-in 1-click image optimization attracts a lot of attention and other software developers soon follow suit with their programs.
We keep expanding our portfolio to include CAD software. Ashampoo 3D CAD and Ashampoo HomeDesigner software allows customers to design their dream homes or renovation projects in fully furnishable 3D environments. The built-in virtual tours even amaze our always critical QA department. Unfortunately, the rapidly growing digital world also leads to an increase in cybercriminals trying to steal sensitive data from unsuspecting users. Ashampoo Anti-Malware comes to their rescue with protection against over 3.5 million Internet threats backed by a smart dual engine that eliminates viruses and malware.
World-wide demands for HD and Full HD content is on the rise which causes Ashampoo to adapt their multimedia software accordingly. Customers can enjoy razor-sharp images that also captivate the Ashampoo staff. As a result, Ashampoo Movie Menu with support for 720p and 1080p HD content is born.
Ashampoo's website receives a design overhaul with customizable start pages for each user. This includes custom logos or background images. A partnership with Google ensures perfect search results.
Ashampoo celebrate their 11-year anniversary and treats their customers to 55% discounts during the Christmas season. Also, every program is now Windows 7 compatible. Ashampoo becomes the main sponsor of the Miss Germany pageants along with their own Miss Ashampoo who automatically qualifies for Miss Germany. Some elder colleagues are still raving about their visits to this day.
For the first time, we experience the dark side of the online world as, like many security companies and government institutions, we fall victim to a hacking attack. The attack also affects the RSA, the US senate and popular companies like Lockheed Martin, German customs authorities and even the NATO. Our admins immediately pull the plug to stop the attack. The damage is then analyzed and our customers notified of possible data theft. If something goes wrong at Ashampoo, we admit to it and bear the consequences. In the aftermath, we vet all of our systems and tighten our security procedures. Still, Lady Luck smiles on us with Ashampoo Burning Studio 11 taking the pole position at PCMag.com. We continue to grow our user base with users from Brazil, Poland and Russia joining the Ashampoo train - with websites in their languages, naturally.
Success isn't always calculable. We're astonished by the degree of success and popularity our Ashampoo Internet Accelerator 3 enjoys in Brazil. Brazilians just love to optimize their internet settings at the click of a button. Reason enough to start rooting for Brazilian soccer teams.
Social media services take off: social networks are all the rage and we're a part of it with dedicated Facebook and Twitter accounts to be closer to our fans and customers. We learn a lot based on customer feedback and also publish videos on YouTube demonstrating how to save problems with our latest software and features. Social media also affects our developers with sharing features gradually being built into all of our programs for easy data sharing with others.
Awards, awards, awards - we feel honored that not only customers but also the specialized press appreciate our software. We receive multiple 5-star ratings along with "good" and "very good" grades winning tests in the burning, PC tuning and image editing categories. No time to rest on one's laurels though as new projects are on the horizon.
Our new programs include Ashampoo Core Tuner putting us on the map of gamers that want to max out their machines. Ashampoo GetBack Photo recovers precious photo memories already thought lost from different storage devices, taking the fear out of accidental deletion.
Our team now has over 50 members facing more exciting projects ahead. Our download portal goes international and we sell off Cola.de, Flugzeuge.de and our start page project.
We publish Ashampoo MouseTracer to put the fun back into PC work. MouseTracer provides extensive details on mouse usage including distance covered and maximum velocity. It's amazing how some users cover several miles of distance within just a few months. Enough to spark fierce competition among Ashampoo departments to find out who's the most diligent mouse pusher. Our designers win - it's occupational.
Two Tyrolean mountain peaks are for sale and Ashampoo joins the bidders - the idea is to rename the mountains Ashampoo 1 and Ashampoo 2 as part of a PR coup. After some media coverage, angry Austrian protesters prevent the sale. We had hoped to name them after our bosses, Rolf and Wilhelm, but it was all for nothing.
Changing at the helm of Ashampoo. Sebastian Schwarz and Jens Klibingat relieve senior veterans Rolf Hilchner and Heinz-Wilhelm Bogena as managing directors who join the board of directors and stay a part of the family. Ashampoo software is now available in 50 different languages and we've made our first foray into mobile app development with Ashampoo Snap for Android. Again, we've broken new ground and everyone looks at their cellphone with pride.
The reigning Miss Ashampoo, math student Isabel Gülck, wins against 22 rivals and becomes Miss Germany 2012. We're happy for her and some consider showing up for work besashed.
We make sure our programs are Windows 8 certified and fully compatible with the OS. Afterwards, our yearly team training takes us to sunny Mallorca to trade our computer screens for the sun and the ocean - not a bad deal. Thanks to our close cooperation with Microsoft, Ashampoo ImageFX becomes part of Microsoft's Windows 8 consumer preview. Our app is mentioned and recommended at this year's CEBIT computer show.
We release new versions of various programs including the free Ashampoo Burning Studio Free burning suite, its big brother Ashampoo Burning Studio 12, our Ashampoo Snap screenshot solution that now supports video capturing, our Ashampoo Photo Commander 10 image editor, Ashampoo UnInstaller 6, Ashampoo Music Studio 4, Ashampoo Photo Converter 2 and Ashampoo WinOptimizer 12.
We are becoming increasingly more international. www.ashampoo.com is now available in Swedish, Turkish and Italian. Ashampoo purchases Deutschland Digital and publishes Ashampoo MediaSync to help users sync their data between PCs and mobile devices. We also publish Ashampoo Photo Mailer to help millions of users and version 10 of Ashampoo WinOptimizer.
Ashampoo partners up with PC and notebook manufacturer Lenovo under their Medion brand. Buyers of Medion PCs and notebooks now receive free licenses for Ashampoo topsellers. This year also marks the beginning of the weekly tradition of ordering Chinese takeout.
Ashampoo makes it to TV with their first TV spot and many colleagues tune in. Our website is now available in 15 languages covering all important markets. We release new versions of Ashampoo Photo Commander, Ashampoo Music Studio, Ashampoo WinOptimizer, Ashampoo Slideshow Studio HD, Ashampoo Burning Studio, Ashampoo 3D CAD Professional and Ashampoo HDD Control.
Our new Ashampoo Burning Studio 15 now supports new formats and standards like BDXL and M-DISC. We're the first software developer to implement Millenniata's M-DISC specification for discs that hold data for up to 1,000 years without any data loss. The first images to end up on these discs are photos of our company celebrations - may later generations enjoy them as much as we did!
Ashampoo publishes DroidOptimizer - a free app to optimize and clean Android devices. We quickly realize how well the app catches on since, unlike others, we haven't rendered it completely useless through in-app ads. Chief developer Susanne Tschorn enjoys great feedback on her first major project.
Ashampoo founds Ashampoo System as a startup to turn years of experience into marketable business solutions. What we've learned over the years will now be available to make the life of other companies easier. Ashampoo publishes their new blog to supply users with news and information around the world of technology. We quickly notice how the blog facilitates communication with our customers with a 99% approval rate for user comments. Good job indeed.
HTC selects Ashampoo DroidOptimizer as "App of the week" in their blog. Computerbild considers Ashampoo UnInstaller one of the best uninstallers.
Our website is now available in Greek, Danish and Norwegian and we release new programs like Ashampoo Zip Free, Ashampoo Zip Pro, Ashampoo Privacy Protector and Ashampoo Movie Studio, our video editing solution. Download3k.com tweets: "@Ashampoo we're loving the new version of your Uninstaller! Bravo!" and we begin a cooperation with a Japanese partner to promote our software in the Japanese market.
We acquire backup software developer Ocster and develop the software into Ashampoo Backup Pro. We hit 1 million downloads with Ashampoo DroidOptimizer with about 50,000 users rating the app 4.5 out of 5 stars! Time for celebrations! In the words of Jack Wallen from Techrepublic.com: "This optimizer is one of the best in breeds! Of all the cleanup tools I've used on Android, Droid Optimizer makes the best use of function while delivering it with a form that is incredibly user friendly. Add to that the extra features, and this optimizer is one of the best in breeds.“ Lifewire.com, one of the biggest US tech sites, considers Ashampoo Backup Pro 11 one of the eight best backup solutions worldwide.
We order HoloLens, mixed reality 3D glasses from Microsoft, through a US store since the product is not yet available in Germany., and 55 Ashampoo employees get the chance to take it home and try it out extensively. It's a field test that could pave the way for potential virtual and mixed reality applications from Ashampoo. Some are so enthusiastic that they spend several days putting the hardware through its paces. Ashampoo also releases Ashampoo Driver Updater with over 400,000 drivers for 150,000 different hardware devices. This includes graphics cards, printers, Bluetooth appliances, motherboards and other devices thanks to an always up-to-date database. Ashampoo Burning Studio 18 takes the crown as best burning software and our CEO takes the stage at this year's Christmas party to show off his rapping skills - which he definitely has, in his opinion.
We begin construction of our new company headquarters that will unite Ashampoo, Ashampoo Systems and Cleverreach under one roof in Rastede - including a beautiful rooftop terrace with a view of a nearby pond. From there on, members of the supervisory board Rolf Hilchner and Wilhelm-Bogena can be frequently seen wearing hard hats and carrying clipboards, the project takes its toll. It's summer fun time and we release Ashampoo Surprise Me with cool sound effects to surprise and prank friends and family. US-based PCMag.com rates our Ashampoo WinOptimizer as excellent while the new Ashampoo UnInstaller 7 ensures users can rid themselves of unwanted programs, browser extensions and toolbars without leftovers. Furthermore, Techradar.com selects Ashampoo Burning Studio as the best free burning software.
After rigorous testing, one of the major antivirus software developers decides to offer Ashampoo Backup Pro 11 to their customers. We're proud we've been picked and notice increased demand for our backup software, maybe partly due to a new ransomware that prevents users from accessing their data. Timely backups can alleviate the terror of being locked out and help users restore their machines to a prior healthy state. Newly released software includes Ashampoo PDF Free and its bigger brother, Ashampoo PDF Pro featuring text recognition and everything required to create and edit PDFs. On a different note, Download3.com selects Ashampoo Photo Commander as best image viewer.
The Rottensys ransomware is wreaking havoc on millions of Android devices. We're one of the first to respond and develop Ashampoo Rottensys Checker over night. The tool helps users determine whether they are affected and can remove the malware with a single tap. News sites around the world report on the tool and propel it to the pole position in Google Play Store. Once again, the small size of our team spares us lengthy debates and helps us respond almost instantaneously to new developments - less talk, more action.
This year's team training takes us to Barcelona. Sightseeing tours, culture and cocktails help turn new colleagues into friends in no time, as it should be. The press reports about security flaws in processors from Intel, AMD and ARM that expose user passwords, photos, emails and messages. Right away, we stop everything we're doing and churn out Ashampoo Spectre Meltdown CPU Checker within a few hours to help users find out if they're affected. Again, a small Ashampoo utility makes it into the news and ends up on all relevant technology portals. "Netzsieger" ranks Ashampoo Backup Pro as the #1 backup solution and Ashampoo Driver Updater as the best software to keep hardware drivers up to date. GDPR makes a splash and forces us to meticulously review our internal processes only to find we're in the clear. In cooperation with a South German competitor, we lay the foundation for new multimedia software. There are exciting times ahead!
The first quarter of 2019 is marked by the completion of the new headquarters and following relocation. The old building has gotten too small – and the staff has to get used to a new sight: Wilhelm Bogena wearing a hard hat. Members of our supervisory board give the project their all and put in an incredible number of hours to create a new home for Ashampoo. The new building, located just one municipality away in Rastede and dubbed "//CRASH", will be home to Ashampoo and its affiliated company CleverReach. On June 27th, the team sets foot on the new hallowed grounds. The building has all the bells and whistles and plenty of expansion and optimization options. With elegant offices, cozy rest areas and an in-house restaurant (//CRASH-POINT), the final verdict is unanimous: top-notch!
For the first time, Ashampoo and CleverReach staff members meet in the new //CRASH building to celebrate the beginning of the new year. The theme of the evening is "casino". There's no real money involved at the blackjack and poker tables, unfortunately, but that doesn't affect the festive mood in the slightest. As the party fever rises, two sister companies, once separate entities, become one. The dance-infused party lasts until early morning and everyone has a good laugh–and tale or two to tell. Work hard, party hard!
Ashampoo has passed the Corona test. We have structures and technology in place to do our work from home in times of crisis. There was not a single day of slack, everything kept going like clockwork. All important systems are accessible remotely and video conferences have now become second nature. And since we're selling our products online, retail shutdowns don't affect us in the slightest.
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