Blockbuster breakup for Symantec

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Blockbuster breakup for Symantec
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Symantec is officially splitting into separate security and storage companies and putting on hold the rollout of a major new partner program in Australia.

The new information management business would consist of Symantec's backup and recovery, archiving, eDiscovery, storage management, and information availability products.

Meanwhile, the security business consists of Symantec's endpoint security and management products, data encryption, mobile, SSL, authentication, mail Web and data security security, data loss prevention, hosted security and managed security services.

To add to the upheaval, a major new Symantec partner program schedule to launch in October has been postponed in Australia. The program was launched in the EMEA, North America and Latin America this month, but will not go ahead in October in Asia Pacific and Japan, a Symantec spokesperson told CRN.

“We’ve taken partner feedback into consideration who have indicated that they need more time to complete the new competencies and more time to understand the advantages of the new partner program,” the Symantec spokesperson stated.

“We are going to take this opportunity to refine the new partner program and will announce the new ‘go live’ date for the Asia Pacific and Japan region in the coming weeks.  Symantec is committed to the channel and to profitable relationships with our long-term and new partners.”

The security giant is the second major IT vendor to announce a split this week. Hewlett-Packard Monday unveiled plans to break into two publicly traded companies: a US$56 billion PC and printing business and a $56 billion enterprise computing business.

The managing director of Symantec’s leading service partner in Australia, Insentra’s Ronnie Altit, welcomed news of the breakup, though he had questions about what it will mean for Symantec’s product mix.

“The key thing I’m keen to understand is whether they are going to bring back that Veritas brand. People still talk about Veritas to this day,” he told CRN, referring to the data storage vendor Symantec acquired for US$10.2 billion in 2005.

Symantec struggled to integrate Veritas into the portfolio and speculation began several years later about spinning off the company's data management business. About 50 percent of the company's revenue is generated through its storage business, 25 percent through its Norton consumer endpoint security business and 25 percent through enterprise security sales.

“Even after this many years [Veritas] still carries weight in the market,” Altit said. “It was a very powerful brand when it came to data management. It presents an interesting opportunity and I wonder what they’re going to do with that.”

Having two vendors to deal with doesn’t phase Altit.

“From our perspective it’s exciting, it will be two focused businesses. I think that’s got to be a good thing for customers, it’s got to be a good thing for partners,” he said, noting that very few partners dealt with both sides of Symantec’s business.

“Their partner community is effectively split... they already had their sales split that way, it’s very logical. Very few partners had a 50-50 split across what they do. It’s not going to be too big a change for the partners I think.”

As a key Symantec partner, Altit said one of the questions he has is what Symantec will keep in each business – whether the vendor will use the breakup as an opportunity to sell off some products or make them end of life.

“I think it’s actually a very clever move. I think it’s going to provide focus. Whilst Symantec did a good job merging their story… I’m not sure they got as many of the synergies they would have liked to have got.”

In Australia, Symantec has two distributors: Ingram Micro and Dicker Data, and counts the likes of Data#3, Ethan Group, Insight Enterprises Australia, Intalock and Insentra as partners.

Symantec brought on a channel big hitter in the local region this year, hiring former HP channel boss Adrian Jones to be Asia and Japan vice president. In August it also opened a $12 million cybercrime centre in Sydney.

Next: Huge portfolio and Cisco, NetApp to come calling?

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